Can something so delicious make you beautiful, too?
The Beauty Spy: skin treatments good enough to eat
I think a turning point was when I read about the so-called piranha pedicure for the 705th time. It was one of those moments when I wondered, am I in the wrong business? The thought of little fish eating the dead skin off my feet is just, well, disgusting. I can't imagine anything worse, except perhaps for a shark biting off my entire foot.
Fashion and beauty do have their ridiculous moments, and that is also part of why they are such fun. But that doesn't mean we have to encourage them. So when asked to think about food-related beauty, I decided I would not recommend treatments that make me wince, but ones that make me relax and think, hmmm, good idea, I might try that.
The most ancient food-related beauty treatment is Cleopatra's milk baths. I have actually tried one, so speak from experience. OK, so I didn't get a couple of pints from the fridge, heat them up and then pour them in the bath. No, I went to the Hiltonia Beach Club and had the Cleopatra Hydro Bath and Soothing Massage. The treatment starts with a milk-and-honey bath, a heavenly combination that I had hitherto only thought about drinking, and then moves on to a Swedish massage.
Another one I love is the Butter Sweet Body Polish at the Amara Spa in the Park Hyatt Dubai. This essential-oils treatment is perfect for dry and sensitive skins and leaves you feeling as moisturised as a ball of butter. For those with a hankering for chocolate (and I can't imagine anyone without one), there are plenty of sweet options. Le Méridien in Abu Dhabi offers several chocolatey treatments such as the Chocolate Bliss, a 30-minute body scrub, and the Chocolate Dip, a 50-minute body wrap.
Of course, the most important thing about food-related beauty is what you eat. "We are what we eat" is a cliché, but clichés become clichés for a reason; there is always some truth in them. A friend of mine calls things such as carrot sticks, blueberries and spinach "beauty food", which means her daughters no longer refuse to eat them. I try to eat at least one "beauty food" with every meal. So if I am tempted by baked beans on toast with an egg on top (and ketchup), then I make sure I have a carrot stick or two to go with it. The other thing is to swap a drink such as coffee, which does you absolutely no good at all, with one that makes you more beautiful, such as green tea, which is full of antioxidants.
However you use your food to beautify, enjoy it, and stay away from the piranhas.
3 of the best
Drinks to make you beautiful inside and out
SUPER ANTIOXIDANT POMEGRANATE, DH39 Heralded as a superfood by experts, pomegranates have been found to increase energy levels, boost health and slow down the ageing process. Double strength, this sweet and fruity drink can be diluted to taste.
NEURO TRIM, £2.49 (DH15) Containing extracts of caffeine and green tea, this herbal diet aid is also packed with konjac - a Japanese fibre that expands in your stomach to make you feel full. Available online.
BAI5 LOW CALORIE ANTIOXIDANT INFUSION, DH14 Made from coffee fruit (the outer berry of the coffee bean), this fruity drink gives you the healthy antioxidants from the coffee bean plus the buzz without all the ill-effects of caffeine. Choose from seven flavours.
A BUTTERY DELIGHT Finding a good hand cream is a tricky business, especially when you want a rich moisturing texture without it leaving your hands like an oil slick. Inspired by the colours and scents of Africa, L'Occitane's new limited-edition hand creams melt into the skin for ultra-soft and supple hands. We love the funky and vibrant packaging; plus, as it contains more than 20 per cent shea butter, it's almost good enough to eat.
L'Occitane Shea Butter Limited Editions, from Dh45-Dh129, available at Abu Dhabi Mall, 02 644 7179; Dubai Mall, 04 339 8148; and elsewhere