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Caprice's secrets: The wet, wet, wet workout; There's nothing like an invigorating shower to start the day, but add a few extra steps to your routine and you'll not only be clean and cool, but gorgeously toned and glowing, too. All in five easy steps...

Sexy summer clothes definitely look best on smooth, silky bodies. So, before you dare to bare, set your alarm 30 minutes early each day and follow my six-step shower workout - not only will your skin look great, but you'll also be wide awake and ultra-refreshed for the day ahead.

Step one: wake-up workout

First, get the heart pumping with a bit of exercise. And I mean a bit - who wants to go for the burn when they're still yawning?

How to do it: warm up with some energetic marching on the spot - three to four minutes should be enough. Follow with five minutes' stretching - for a good calf limber-upper, balance on the edge of the bottom step, then lower your heel until you feel a stretch down the back of your leg. Hold for 30 seconds on each foot, being careful not to bounce. Then, get your heart rate up with 10 minutes' skipping, using a Lonsdale Weighted Handle Skipping Rope, pounds 18.95 (call 020-7437 1526 for stockists). Alternatively, run or power walk up and down the stairs for ten minutes. Finish with five minutes' stretching.

Step two: great brush work

To prepare your body for the pampering to come, you've got to get rid of dull old dead skin and reveal the bright new stuff underneath. The fastest way to do this is by dry brushing with a natural bristle brush, which will set you back about a fiver (Opal does sisal brushes; call 020- 8208 0708 for mail-order). Three or four minutes of brushing a day can also help prevent all sorts of skin nasties, such as broken veins, cellulite and pimples, because brushing gets your lymphatic system and blood circulation moving, flushing out the toxins that build up in your organs.

What you need: a long-handled brush, the most effective being vegetable bristle such as sisal or cocoa fibre. Your skin should be dry. Start at your feet and brush upwards, towards the heart. Make the strokes long and firm, but not hard - it shouldn't hurt! Use gentler, circular movements on sensitive areas like the stomach and a flannel on your face - it's too delicate for a brush. Your skin will feel invigorated, smooth and soft.

Step three: take the plunge

Maximise your shower experience with one of the latest beauty must-haves - sea beauty products made with marine minerals. Improved extraction methods have made these products mega-powerful. Ephemer is one of my favourites, combining luscious aromatherapy oils and my fave Dead Sea minerals.

What you need: try Ephemer Refreshing Citrus & Grapefruit Exfoliating Body Scrub, pounds 9.99. Pile on to a loofah and massage in with circular movements. For stockists, call 020-8287 8828. If your parched skin could do with a good drink, Palmolive's new Vitamins Shower Creme, pounds 2.49, delivers Vitamin E directly to the skin and promises up to 24 hours of nourishment.

Step four: freeze-frame

Before you turn off the shower, give yourself a cold rinse - it'll boost that glow factor by increasing blood flow.

How to do it: if you're a wuss like me, 30 seconds to a minute is all it takes. Start by stepping out of the warm water and turning the dial slowly to cold. Then ease your way back under - put your wrists under the water, then your arms, splashing your body until you're right under. The shock will make you tense up, so work this into your routine by clenching and relaxing your buttock muscles repeatedly, for a bottom-lifting boost. If you can bear it, a head rinse really gets your scalp tingling.

Step five: moisture burst

Once you're out of the shower, dry off vigorously with a rough towel and slather on moisturising cream.

What you need: any body lotion will soften your skin, but if you apply it when you're still damp, the moisture particles will be trapped by the cream. For extra softness, get a cream with a gentle exfoliation ingredient, such as Ralph Lauren Polo Sport Woman Body Fitness, pounds 19. For dry skin, Chinese Rose and Mother of Pearl Body Lotion, pounds 3.95, from Te Tao, is claimed to have healing and anti-ageing effects. For stockists, call 020- 8977 1020.

Find of the week

Pucker up with these cuter-than-cute Brillo de Labios lip balms. Choose from three foodie flavours - chocolate, cherry and kiwi - that smell just as good as the real thing. And, if you like keeping an eye on your complexion, as I do, the balms have little mirrors concealed in their lids. Sweet! Available by mail-order for pounds 5.50 each or pounds 15 for all three. Call 020-7792 9924.

beauty angst

How do you apply eyeliner? I never seem to get it right.

Caprice says: This takes practice, but the good results are worth it. Kohl is probably the easiest method - just make sure the pencil isn't too soft. Sharpen it to a medium point, put your mirror on to a table and bend over it. Rest your arm on the table and draw, staying as close to the lashes as possible. Really working the line into the base of the lashes will give an illusion of length.

Summer hair survival

Hot weather means lots of showers and frequent hair washing, so opt for a gentle shampoo that won't strip away the hair's natural oils. Thalgo's red-marine-algae-based Gentle Shampoo, pounds 9.95, will liven up your hair without intense cleansing. For stockists, call 020-7512 0872. Poor circulation to the scalp is at the root of many hair problems; a healthy scalp should be firm and supple and move easily when you manipulate it. If not, Bharti Vyas Beauty Wisdom Shampoo, pounds 10.50, contains turmeric to improve blood flow, evening primrose oil to soften the skin, and ylang ylang to promote hair growth. Available from House of Fraser or by mail-order on 020-7486 7910.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Nichols, As Told To Virginia
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2000
Words:977
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