London - They are the bane of my life and the one thing many women would change above everything else: bingo wings. Those saggy bits of flesh that hang down like an unfortunate underarm curtain.
Mine made their first appearance when I was in my 20s and became worse as I got older. Now I’m in my mid-40s and my bingo wings are all I see when I look in the mirror.
I - and 75 percent of the female population, according to a recent survey - would do anything to lose them. I have spent hours at the gym. I do weights. I go on a rowing machine. I do tricep dips. Nothing has worked.
But then I heard about a new cream that promises to be a “no effort” route to Michelle Obama-style arms.
Taut-triceped celebrities such as Tess Daly have been won over by the claims by Nip+Fab Upper Arm Fix, and at a reasonable £12.95 (around R180) a tube, I figure it’s worth a try.
All I have to do is to rub on the lotion twice a day for six weeks (this means I will need around three tubes’ worth).
But the cream contains caffeine, which is dehydrating, so regular use can change the water content of the skin that sits over the fat.
Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of beauty magazine Allure, explains: “Caffeine is in almost every cellulite-reducing product that shows any benefit because it helps blood flow to the skin and works like a diuretic, flushing moisture out of the skin, even if only temporarily.”
And so, hey presto, saggy bits firm up. Or at least that’s the claim.
When the Upper Arm Fix first appeared in shops, it sold out almost instantly. But could a quick fix that doesn’t involve a single press-up or pull-up really give me dream arms?
The programme takes six weeks, and before I start I measure the circumference of my upper arms. They are 34cm. Will they shrink?
I’m so excited about having a lotion that will banish my bingo wings, I can barely sleep. In the morning I apply the cream as instructed. It has an odd smell - faintly alcoholic.
As the day goes by, I wonder if my arms are firming up by the hour. I imagine a life ahead of me in which I can wear strappy tops and not worry about the wobbling. I put on the gel again before I go to bed, and scrutinise my arms. No change. I feel a twinge of disappointment.
Still no noticeable difference. I am putting on the gel religiously morning and night but nothing is happening. When I measure my arms there is no change.
Nip+Fab says the sculpting gel will also “improve tone”, “promote elasticity” and “retexture and exfoliate”, so I am also monitoring these effects, too, but can see nothing, which I find quite depressing. I will have to face the fact that, bar redoubling my efforts in the gym with weights, I will have wobbly upper arms for ever.
I decide to do the “wave” test. This involves standing in front of the mirror and waving maniacally as if I’ve just seen my best friend on the other side of the road. My upper arms are still wobbling. But the texture does seem firmer.
I wear a strappy T-shirt for lunch with a friend, and keep gesticulating with my arms. Eventually I just come out with it: “Do my arms look different to you?” She stares at me and shakes her head.
My arms do seem to be getting firmer. I am absolutely convinced they are no longer as flabby and the skin is smoother and firmer.
I go downstairs in a short-sleeved top. My eldest son, who is 16, asks: “Have you been working out?”
I ask if he thinks my upper arms look more toned. He scrutinises them for a bit. “Yes,” he says.
My skin has lost its dimpled look and my arms feel firmer. I’m not sure if that’s because I rub in the gel with circular motions - surely it’s impossible that an ointment can do what hours in the gym can’t?
I go out for a coffee with my friend, and when I see her I wave at her. My arms feel almost solid. She stares at me. “Someone’s been hitting the gym!” she says.
I don’t let on about the gel. I go home and dig out my flimsy dresses - the ones with spaghetti straps that I haven’t worn in years. Soon, I think, I might be able to wear them.
While not completely banished, my bingo wings are definitely on their way out. I end my six-week experiment by measuring my arms again. I can’t believe it. They are 32cm! The skin texture has improved, too.
I stand in front of the mirror in just my underwear and flex my arms. They are definitely far less wobbly. I try a wave. Almost no movement.
I have no idea how long the firmness will last, and there is no guidance about that on tube. I suspect the instant I stop, the wobble will return.
But now I’m in possession of Michelle Obama-esque arms, I have no intention of letting them droop. All I need is for warm weather so I can dust off those strappy dresses and tops... - Daily Mail
* Go to www.nipandfab.com, which promises international sales and delivery. - IOL