INHERITING BROWN EYES, freckles and a penchant for designer footwear is one thing, but smothering your spots with toothpaste at your mother's insistence may not be such a good idea. Some experts say those myths and old wives' tales that have been a part of many people's daily routine could be doing more harm than good. But don't think the claims of hi-tech beauty creams and so-called clinically tested ingredients have all the answers either. So, how do we separate fact from fiction without breaking the bank or waking up with a nasty rash? Beijing-based manager of I-Spa, Siririat Fungkhajon, explodes some myths and offers some tips of her own: 1. Body soap on the face isn't a good idea. It might have been the only thing available for previous generations, but things have changed. 'Body and facial skin are different, as are the pH levels found in body soap and face soap,' she says. 'Using a body soap on oily skin can soak up excess oils, but normal and dry skin needs more moisture.' 2. Toothpaste shrinks and dries out blemishes - myth. Girls who would try just about anything to get rid of pimples probably invented this beauty titbit, but don't be tempted, warns Fungkhajon. 'Toothpaste is especially bad for sensitive skin. It's full of chemicals and the flavourings will irritate and sting. It's best to keep toothpaste for its intended use and if you must, treat blemishes with over-the-counter ointments.' For a natural alternative, Fungkhajon recommends you dab natural yoghurt on the spot to cleanse and remove bacteria. 3. Oily skin doesn't need moisturiser - myth. All skin types need a moisturiser, including oily skin. 'Those with normal or dry skin should use an oil-based moisturiser, while oily skins need a water-based moisturiser,' says Fungkhajon. She says Chinese women often ignore moisturising. 'Chinese skin tends to be drier than other Asian skins, so a moisturiser with sunscreen during the day and a rich night cream before bed will improve the look of the skin.' 4. Chocolate and fried foods cause blemishes - myth. Over-indulging and not eating enough fresh produce can give skin a flat, dull appearance, but those 'forbidden' delights are innocent when it comes to spots. According to Fungkhajon, dirty, clogged pores, and a poor skincare routine are the main culprits of spotty skin. But it's easily remedied. 'It's important to clean the skin properly every day by removing makeup before bed, and using a toner and moisturiser suited to your skin type,' she says. 5. Expensive skincare products are better than inexpensive ones - myth. 'The most important thing when buying products is to buy for your skin type,' says Fungkhajon. Most women also have long-held beliefs on the rules of beauty maintenance. Here are some of the best-known examples, many of which need correcting. 1. We should not remove hairs above the eyebrow, only below - fact. 'It's very easy to get carried away, but the correct way to pluck is one hair at a time,' says Chen Qun, a Yue-Sai cosmetics consultant in Shanghai. 'Keep below the brow and never pluck above as it changes the eyebrow's natural shape.' 2. Lemon juice will remove freckles - myth. 'Lemon juice and popular whitening products cannot change the melanin of the skin,' says Fungkhajon. 'Freckles can fade and give the appearance of 'brighter' looking skin, but they can't be permanently removed.' Getting porcelain skin is no small feat. If you can't face the thought of surgery (or your freckles), rub a cut lemon over the skin and use sun block. Minimal fading results should take four to six weeks. 3. Using cucumber slices under the eyes reduces puffiness - myth. 'Cucumber slices or gels can ease swelling, but it's only temporary and not really noticeable,' says Chen. Long-term solutions are more effective and include reducing your intake of fluid-retainers such as salt and alcohol, and sleeping on an elevated pillow at night. 4. Drinking water makes your skin look younger - myth. 'Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water a day cleans and flushes out toxins,' says Chen. 'This is good for our insides and will show on the outside, but drinking water doesn't directly affect the look of our complexion or how old we look.' 5. Dry skin means more wrinkles - myth. Lines and wrinkles are caused by too much sun exposure and facial expressions, says Chen. 'One way to combat wrinkles is to start early and use a moisturiser, use a sun block every day - even in winter - and avoid staying in the sun for long periods.' 6. Vitamin E heals scars - myth. Laura Cummins, global head of skincare for The Body Shop, says while scar and wound healing can be linked to many treatments - including vitamin E - to date, nothing is 100 per cent effective. 'A good skincare regimen will help minimise the appearance of scars and promote skin healing,' says Cummins. Vitamin E can, however, neutralise free radicals and inhibit cell damage, providing long-term protection against the environment. When it comes to hair care, it seems no one ever has the same routines or beliefs. 7. Split ends can be repaired with the right product - myth. Marketing executives would like you to think this is true, but Toni & Guy senior style director in Central, Thomas Fellows, is having none of it. 'Although products are available to help smooth the hair down to appear in better condition temporarily, once hair is broken, the only way to fix it is to cut it.' 8. Hair needn't be washed daily - fact. Fellows says hair washing depends on the individual, the hair type and their lifestyle. 'The more you wash your hair the cleaner it is,' he says. 'For some people it is necessary to wash it daily. For others, three times a week will suffice.' 9. Brushing your hair 100 times a day makes it shine - myth. It may have been Marsha's standard hair care practice on The Brady Bunch, but this beauty tip should stay firmly in the 1970s. 'Brushing the hair too often pulls and breaks it, not to mention scratches the scalp,' says Fellows. Well-maintained, healthy hair will have a natural shine. If your hair isn't in top condition, help it along with a little hair serum. But remember: less is more and may not be necessary for Asian women. 'Asian hair is more resistant to the humidity, as - because it has a straighter cuticle - it's flatter and smoother.' 10. Cutting your hair will make it grow faster/stronger - myth. 'This myth originated from men shaving and the hair seeming to grow faster,' says Fellows. Like most regimens, keeping it simple and tailoring it to your own needs seems to be the best advice to follow.