IT IS the secret which many women would love to know – and one that millions spend hours upon hours worrying about how to attain.
But thankfully it seems a tipple at the weekend, a happy relationship and surrounding yourself with younger people may be part of the answer.
New research has revealed the extent to which women across Britain are trying to retain their youthful looks, as well as how many believe they look far younger than their actual age.
The survey of 2,000 women aged between 30 and 60 showed that British women believe they look five years younger than their actual age – although the advent of their 46th birthday is when they feel they begin to look old.
And Edwina Hatfield will be faced with that prospect when she turns 46 next month. The mother-of-two, who lives in Ilkley with her husband, Andrew, and their twin eight-year-old daughters, Erin and Freya, returned to modelling six months ago and is now on the books of the Leeds-based agency, Face Model and Casting Management.
Mrs Hatfield, who came to the UK from her native South Africa in 1997, had pursued a modelling career in her 20s, before becoming a production manager on television documentaries.
She said: “I did not worry about my age and how I looked until a few years ago, but I have noticed I do have to exercise more and watch what I eat. I have been very lucky as I have a high metabolism and I am slim, but it is very easy now to put a few pounds on.
“Everyone knows that you need to eat properly and exercise regularly, but in truth, my tip for looking young is to stay out of the sun. So many people like the idea of being a beach babe, but the sun can really age you.”
The poll which has been carried out for the skincare brand, Lancome Advanced Genefique, revealed that less than one per cent of women said their face matched their real age. Half of those questioned admitted they worried about how old they looked, and 37 per cent revealed concerns began while in their 30s. One in 10 claimed they were already worried about looking old when they were in their 20s.
Among the “secrets of eternal youth” were a happy marriage, avoiding getting sunburnt, using a quality moisturiser, good genes and eating five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day. Also listed was a glass of wine at the weekend, surrounding yourself with young people and well-behaved children.
Eight out of 10 women claimed good genes were crucial to staying young-looking, while 90 per cent believed a woman’s lifestyle affected how quickly she aged. Just under a third would “happily embrace” growing old, but 60 per cent admitted it “did not hurt” to try to slow the ageing process.