The new black

One of the (many) advantages of having darker skin is that, when the time for throwing away tights finally comes around, I don't have to worry too much about the state of my legs (well, not as much as my white friends, anyway). As soon as the temperature drops, they lament the paleness of legs that haven't seen daylight for months. Not me. In fact, I have to confess I ditch my tights sooner than is sensible, just to show off. But before you slip on that miniskirt, it is important to realise that, no matter what colour your skin, it'll be in need of some serious attention after winter.

Even if you've been religiously using a body brush and moisturising through the winter (what do you mean, "if"?), your skin will still be more grey and ashen than it should be. If you're thinking of having a beauty treatment, now is the time to go for some form of body scrub. If your budget doesn't stretch to a trip to a spa, or the idea of paying good money for the pleasure of being rubbed raw by a stranger (hospital knickers, optional extra) doesn't appeal, there are some great home scrubs on the market.

I always find that salt rubs give the best results, though they can be overly drying; many of the others are just shower gels with added grit. Origins' Salt Rub, which contains sea salts, macadamia and almond oil, smoothes and soothes the skin at the same time. The Invigorating Salt Scrub from E'SPA (grapefruit, lavender and lime) is great for morning use, while Relaxing Salt Scrub (rosemary, clove, cinnamon and bay), also from E'SPA, is lovely, warming and ideal if you need to chill out.

If you're serious about shedding dreary winter skin, try Ephémer's Lavender And Geranium Body Mud, best described as a face pack for the body. You apply the mud all over, wrap yourself in towels (or, better still, a dressing gown that's due for a wash) and leave on for 15 minutes. It's a bit of a hassle but the result - super-smooth glowing skin - is worth it. One word of warning, though: make sure you've got the place to yourself.

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