So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my first episode of Channel 4's "How to Look Good Naked". For those who haven't seen it, it's a show in which our fearless host takes a British woman who hates her body for one reason or another and convinces her that her self-image is what needs work, that her body itself is beautiful and then shows her how to dress and style herself to show that body off. I know, it sounds a little bit...reality-show. Which it is. But I love it.
The first and foremost reason to love it is the host, Gok Wan. I tell you, we need more flamingly gay Asians in the public eye. We do.
The second reason is that, even though this sounds hippy dippy, he always convinces the women that they are beautiful as is. There is no suggestion of dieting or plastic surgery. Nothing of the sort. It's nice.
Third, and getting back to the science bit, is the way the show does its product reviews. They do them really well, and in a manner that is satisfying to my scientist brain.
- They have a panel of 100 women, which is a good, large enough number for the data to be believable. If there are a few outliers, it won't affect the result.
- They have the women test the products over a period of time. So they use the products as they are meant to be used, and they get to note reactions along the way. This is much better than just a first impressions kind of product trial, obviously.
- Most importantly, they decant all the products into plain, un-marked jars. So it doesn't matter how much money is spent on packaging and advertising, and the testers can't be mis-led by scientific-sounding claims from the manufacturer.
The other result that kinda makes me feel smug and "I told you so" is that, for many of the products, there's very little difference in the ratings. That is to say, the night cream serum for eyes (or whatever) that gets ranked highest had a score only several percentage points away from that which ranked lowest. There's hardly ever a product which was obviously better and preferred by a majority of the testers. Meaning, most of this shite? Yeah, it's the same. And probably doesn't really do much anyway.