Body Shop founder Anita Roddick says most beauty products which claim to slow the ageing process do not work.

She says she has also met women who kept their skin young-looking by using lard.

Ms Roddick said moisturisers were the only cosmetic to keep skin youthful and described all other beauty products which claim to stave off wrinkles as "pap".

Ms Roddick - who made her fortune through the Littlehampton-based Body Shop empire - was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival to launch her book Business as Unusual.

She described women on her travels around the world who maintained perfect complexions by rubbing lard, cocoa butter and pineapple into their skins.

Anti-ageing and cellulite-busting products touted by the billion-pound cosmetics industry had been invented by men to keep women in their place, she said.

Ms Roddick said: "They say three things - slim, shut up and diet. Moisturisers work but the rest is complete pap.

"Moisturisers are like swimming pools with lids on. I have been using them from a young age."

The beauty guru advised women wanting to maintain youthful complexions to stay out of the sun and avoid high heels.

She said nothing else would stop the advance of wrinkles.

Ms Roddick's comments did not go down well with cosmetics firms, however.

Lucy Baker of Revlon said: "Women are not complete idiots. A great number of women buy anti-aging products because they work. They look to us and other products because it is easy to see a difference."