Deborah Ross: You could get old fretting about ageing

If you ask me...

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If you ask me, now might not be a good time, as I am howling in outrage. I rarely howl in outrage as it's a faff, and a bother, but the other night I caught the TV commercial for L'Oréal's new Revitalift Ten, which "targets the ten signs of ageing in one step" and I've been howling ever since. Ten signs of ageing? Ten? How? Since when? Hasn't it always been seven? Isn't this what Olay have been telling us for years? Buy this, buy that, and you'll "reverse the seven signs of ageing" and isn't that what we've always believed, even though we know, deep down, the jar might as well read: "Madam, the chances of you reversing the signs of ageing are up there with you ever reversing a tank up your arse, but we'll say nothing if you won't." And now L'Oréal has upped the stakes to ten?

On whose authority? That's what I'd like to know. Is there an International Signs Of Ageing Panel which meets regularly in Geneva and moots all new signs of ageing, which then have to be verified and ratified? Or can anyone have a go? And what does this mean for Olay, now they are three down on the signs of ageing front? Might they fight back with an extra five? This may even be the most serious international cosmetic incident since Estée Lauder threatened to improve on Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream by 42 minutes, which she almost certainly would have done if Helena Rubinstein hadn't held her back. ("Just let it go, Estée; move on, love.")

It's not fair; it truly isn't. As it is, I set my alarm clock 35 minutes earlier than is actually necessary in the mornings so I can fret about the seven signs of ageing, giving a good five minutes to each. On occasion, I may spend six minutes on "dullness of skin's appearance" but that's OK because I'll claw time back by knocking a minute off "blotchiness" or "larger appearance of pores" or "dry skin" or "rough skin" or "age spots" or "lines and wrinkles." But now I'll have to set it 50 minutes earlier? Great. Terrific. Thanks a bunch.

What are the extra three anyhow? I can find absolutely no information on this. I can't even find any of the information that appears to be a big deal but turns out to be housed in a false-bottomed, false-sided, false-topped jar, and actually amounts to diddly-squat. Might howling in outrage be one? Can L'Oréal target that? I'm hoping so, otherwise I just can't see how I'm ever going to stop.

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