Daily Life


Ageing measurably overnight

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There are some years you age more rapidly than others. You can skate along for ages and then you have a big year and suddenly you can see the passage of time staring back at you in the mirror. That's the theory of a friend who's just turned 41. ''I was going along quite well there then wham, suddenly I can really see the crow's feet. They don't go away when I stop smiling,'' she says. ''It's happened. I've got lines.'' She can put that belief to the test with the new Wrinkle Ruler, touted as ''the first skincare evaluation tool''. It's available - free - with a jar of face cream (or even more free as a download).

For cutting-edge innovation, it's simple enough. It's a cardboard bookmark illustrated, in colour, with grades of crow's feet - from 1 (barely discernible) to 10 (deeply grooved). The idea is that you put the ruler under your crow's feet, match to the closest image, use Garnier Ultralift for 28 days and compare results. Garnier claims you will lose a grade in that time (''average result observed on 208 women''). Says its media release: ''After 15 years of dedicated research Roland Bazin, worldwide scientific director for evaluation in applied research and development at the Garnier Laboratories, created Garnier's Wrinkle Ruler by analysing 3500 images of more than 500 people aged 18-75.''

Fifteen years seems a long time to conceive a piece of stationery that could either a) hit you over the head like a blunt instrument, as in ''OMG!'' or b) act as a measure of success, as in ''Crow's feet? Not me!'' Try it yourself at www.garnier.com.au without needing to buy the anti-wrinkle cream which, by the way is lovely and light and affordable and formulated for women over 35. Presumably that age when crow's feet start being an issue. So ''Karen'' is doing OK at 41.

Whatever the grade her crow's feet prove to be (I'd say a 3, off hand) and regardless of whether she chooses to use the ruler (a concept and a practice so amusing it's likely to encourage the feared crow's feet) I think she has a point when she says ageing can appear to occur quite suddenly. You think you're looking pretty good for your age - that is, not your age, and then suddenly you look your age, whatever that is. Dr Chris Moss, a Melbourne plastic surgeon, likens it to a lift holding on by a thread of its cable - it holds on, and holds on, then a stress breaks the thread and down it comes.

Has this happened to you? Did you wake up one day to the realisation you were looking old(er)? Had something happened in your life to precipitate this? Do you even hold with this theory? And, do you need a Wrinkle Ruler to tell you you're ageing?!