By Tracey Strange

Beauty isn't always pretty. Some problems - such as bacne, bad breath and body odour - are pretty ugly. Somewhere in your beauty cabinet (no doubt buried beneath the dried-out mascara and out-of-date nail enamel) is a cache of unsexy products dedicated to scaly feet, dandruff and ingrown hairs. Time to ditch them in favour of new solutions for beauty's embarrassing little problems.

Nail fungus, for instance. Massage in Spirularin's NS Nail Serum ($45) twice daily to accelerate cell renewal and keep nails germ-free until they have fully regrown. In the meantime, camouflage any tattiness with Skinicer Oxyperm ($39), a range of "breathable" nail polishes made with vegan silk, synthetic silk biopolymers that allow oxygen to permeate the enamel, making nails far less likely to yellow. Skinicer and Spirularin are available in New Zealand at aesthetikonzept.com.

A minute or two to spare? Treat oversized pores with Biore's Charcoal
Self-Heating One-Minute Mask
($10 for four at The Warehouse). Natural charcoal is a proven pore cleanser, binding to the oil/grime combo that makes over-large pores more visible.

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Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are still the gold standard when it comes to treating bacne (or buttne for that matter). Anti-bacterial cleansers like Natio's affordable Acne Clear Daily Purifying Body Cleanser ($13.50) are great at de-clogging blocked follicles. I don't think you can do better than Dermalogica's MediBac Clearing Skin Wash ($65), a non-irritating foaming cleanser that mixes salicylic acid with other anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients like tea tree, chamomile and liquorice. But if your beauty budget knows no limits, try Prologic Skincare's Anti-Acne Spray ($130), a highly active cosmeceutical spritzer developed by award-winning beauty therapist Rachel Robertson, that mixes panthenol (or pro-vitamin B5), among other ingredients, with tea tree.

If ingrowns are your bete noire, consider Malin + Goetz Ingrown Hair Cream, ($54 from meccacosmetica.co.nz). A topical exfoliant, it combines salicylic and glycolic acids with allantoin and chamomile to promote skin turnover, while also calming irritation. Staying with the fuzz-free theme, also check out Remington's range of hair-removal options, including Smooth&Silky ($100), a cordless wet/dry epilator that will have you beach-ready well before the temperatures warm up.

Those wanting a natural deodorant to keep them sweet-smelling should turn to Weleda and Dr. Hauschka, companies that share the same behemoth homeopathic parent, Wala. Weleda's Citrus 24-Hour Roll-On Deodorant ($15.90) is a fresh, all-natural protector that can be used directly after hair removal (something deodorants containing aluminium salts aren't recommended for). Dr. Hauschka's lovely Rose Deodorant ($35) will have you soon smelling, literally, of roses.

Finally, comes the bomb of an eco-friendly product. Lush Mouthwash Tabs ($12.90) are tiny tablets that fizz up when exposed to water (like a bath bomb for your mouth) distributing tangy-tasting liquid that freshens the breath. Magic.