Pop a make-up miracle in your purse

DID you know that ketchup can help correct green tinges in blonde hair, that sun damage makes pores wider, or that using a cool and bright lipstick colour makes your teeth look whiter? STEVEN RUSSELL flicks through a book that promises to have us looking good WE don't need to go under the knife for a surgical overhaul to cut years off the way we look, argues Esme Floyd.

DID you know that ketchup can help correct green tinges in blonde hair, that sun damage makes pores wider, or that using a cool and bright lipstick colour makes your teeth look whiter? STEVEN RUSSELL flicks through a book that promises to have us looking good

WE don't need to go under the knife for a surgical overhaul to cut years off the way we look, argues Esme Floyd. Small changes - short and simple steps that improve our natural beauty - can have us looking and feeling better about ourselves, she reckons.

More than 1,000 nuggets of advice, some based on the trade secrets of top make-up artists and therapists, are packaged together in her new book. Her tips cover virtually every beauty topic under the sun: from anti-ageing measures to creams and serums, skin problems to eye care, lips to healthy hair, fragrance to nails, getting a smooth and firm body, dealing with the sun and caring for your body while travelling, to name but a few.

There are helpful hints for such potential minefields as dealing with facial hair, tweezing beautifully-arched brows, disguising ugly bruises or blemishes, and making thin hair look luxuriously thick.

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There's also a section on beauty emergencies - from combating red eyes or bags under the eyes to coping with a hangover or stopping cold sores doing their worst.

All in all, the top-to-toe tips are designed to help us make small changes to our regime that will reap big benefits in terms of how we look and feel. You could read it from cover to cover, but Esme suggests dipping into the book whenever we have a beauty worry - from rescuing a bad hair-colour job to rejuvenating lacklustre skin.

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The freelance writer specialises in beauty, health and lifestyle matters, and has acted as a consultant on TV documentaries for Channel 4, Discovery and the BBC.

1001 Little Beauty Miracles: Secrets and Solutions from Head to Toe follows the format of an earlier book - 1001 Little Health Miracles. This featured all sorts of advice to tackle problems such as insomnia, jetlag, workout injuries and fatigue, as well as useful tricks on losing weight and increasing our fitness level.

There were some surprising snippets, too. Apparently the scent of liquorice increases sexual stimulation in women? And tight bra straps can put pressure on the cervical nerve, causing frequent headaches. You have been warned (on both counts!)

Anyway, here's the low-down on ways to look great.

(1001 Little Beauty Miracles is published by Carlton Books, price £7.99. ISBN 1-84442-533-9)

Esme's top 10 tips

Wear it naked: Don't simply add perfume on your way out the door - it needs the warmth of your skin to interact with the oils. Scent should be worn directly on your skin, under your clothes, for lasting effect. Put it on pulse points low on the body as it will rise with your body heat. Be like Marilyn Monroe and only wear Chanel No. 5 to bed!

Breathe yourself beautiful: Breathing properly is a key to beautiful skin, hair and nails because it encourages higher levels of oxygen into your system. To ensure you're breathing deeply, place your hands on your belly and feel it expand as you take a breath, and deflate as your breathe out naturally. To start each day relaxed and calm, take a few minutes each morning to close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.

Know your nasties: If you're worried about chemicals and toxins in products, the main ones to steer clear of are propylene glycol (used in antifreeze), isopropyl alcohol, methylisothiazolinone, sodium lauryl sulphate (used in engine degreaser), formaldehyde, stearalkonium chloride, DEA (diethanolanine) and TEA (triethanolinine).

Choose a versatile product: Wet-dry foundations are adaptable for all skin types, especially oily and combination skins. They can be used in several ways - sponged on dry for a natural look, sponged on damp for coverage and for building up areas in thin layers, or used dry as a powder throughout the day.

Divide by four (brows): For the best shape, think geometrically, as if the brow is divided into four sections along the length of the eye. The first three should head upward and the outer quarter should slant down.

Don't go too light: The most common mistake women make when applying concealer is choosing a colour that is too light. This merely achieves the opposite effect by highlighting the problem, especially if you're using it to cover under-eye circles.

Be all white: White liner can be a real beauty secret for widening eyes and looking younger. Etch it along the inner rim to brighten eyes and reduce redness. Choose a white that's flecked with gold or rose tones.

Do 3D lips: Use your light-brown eye pencil to line lips. Apply a bit more on the inside corners of the lip and on both top and bottom to create depth on the outside of the lips and a 3D-effect lip.

Kinks and curls: Nothing opens up eyes more than curling the eyelashes. Curl at the base first, then at the halfway point to finish. Hold for about ten seconds, and always curl on clean lashes. Heat a metal curler under a hot hairdryer for a few seconds first to replicate the effects of a heated eyelash curler.

File first: For at-home manicures, file first before you remove old nail varnish. The polish keeps the nail protected and, if you use a remover first, the nail will be weakened and softer.

WE also asked around locally for some top beauty tips, and the good folk at Essential Therapy Skin Care Centre in Bury St Edmunds were kind enough to get their heads together:

Always take off make-up and old nail polish before you go for a beauty treatment. The therapist will have a set amount of time for each treatment and you don't want her to waste valuable massage time struggling with layers of make-up and mascara!

To prolong the life of your pedicure polish, always take flip-flops to wear for at least two hours after the treatment, even in winter!

Remember to book your hair appointment after a facial treatment so that your fab new haircut isn't messed up with oils.

The best anti-aging product you can invest in as a sunblock specifically for the face. You don't want your face to look like an old leather handbag in your 40s!

Most people don't exfoliate enough. Treat your face and body twice a week and follow with a nourishing treatment masque to give your skin a professional finish.

When you come to the end of a product, always cut open the packaging. There's probably another week's supply at the bottom of the tube.

For a self-tan at home, always thoroughly exfoliate the entire body and wear loose clothing after tan application to prevent the product moving and becoming streaky.

And one for the boys...... Mix a blob of face scrub with your face wash and use in the shower daily before shaving. This will help prevent ingrown hairs, give you a closer shave and is a great wake-up scrub!

The above tips supplied by Mel Sunshine (owner), Lenka Lelakova and Suzanne Johnson (therapists), of Essential Therapy Skin Care Centre, 84 Hollow Road, Bury St Edmunds. 01284 765775, email mel@essential-therapy.com

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