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Melanie Morris: Why I'm following Amanda and going au naturale

After eight years of constant jabs, I can honestly say that right now, it's been six months since I last had Botox and the effects have all worn off. I'm clean and serene and my facial muscles are twitching again.

I'm not alone in my renouncing of the wrinkle-freezing treatment. Apparently all the big celebs are now turning their backs on the treatment and cancelling their top-up appointments.

Supermodel Cindy Crawford was one of the first big names to confess that, while she'd had the line-zapping injections in the past, she'd given them up since.

Dannii Minogue is another convert to accepting her age. She stepped on to the X Factor set last season looking remarkably less frozen in the face than before.

And actresses including Jennifer Aniston, Amanda Holden and Terri Hatcher have all spoken out about not liking what Botox did for their faces. Others, like Nicole Kidman, may have remained noticeably quieter on the subject, but her recently more mobile forehead tells its own story.

So, why did I stop? To be honest, out of curiosity. Just as I hadn't seen the natural colour of my hair for 30 years, until I let my roots grow about thee inches last summer (thankfully and surprisingly, no grey!), I wondered what my face might look like if left to its own devices.

But there's the rub. You can't just go cold turkey. Not if you have any concern for your skin and its appearance. You actually have to spend more time, and effort, and money on your face if you want it soft, springy and supple. Or at least to keep it from frightening bosses, boyfriends and small children.

After Christmas, a facialist (and minor miracle worker) called Nuala Woulfe challenged me that she could do something similar with her hands, some saline dermabrasion spray and massage with a mild electric current.

I tried her 'beyond Botox' facial and was genuinely impressed with the results. Over a course of three treatments, she'd honed and toned my facial muscles, hoofted them back to where they belonged, evened out my skin tone and plumped out fine lines.

The end result didn't mimic Botox -- it didn't erase wrinkles, kick out my upper lip or arch my brows; but it returned some of my youthful features; higher cheekbones, a more defined jawline, and glowing, super soft skin.

Of course, I haven't abandoned my ace dermatolgist doctors, Jane and Katherine Mulrooney in Sandymount Clinic. Yikes, I couldn't. I'm still an avid devotee of IPL laser treatments to brighten my complexion, I feed my skin Vitamins A and C, and I'm booked in to try a new treatment called Pelleve, which not only simulates collagen growth, but has the handy little side effect of an instant, short-lived 'face lift'. Crikey, I sound like Frankenstein.

But I think this is what the celebrities do too -- swear blind that they've binned the Botox, but really, they're up to all sorts of other tricks.

Just as there are many ways to skin a cat, modern science means there are plenty of youth potions and beauty treatments that don't involve botchulism or a surgeon's knife.

But the free fast track to good skin is the Holy Trinity of water, sleep and heaps of facial massage.

I'm not saying I'll never go near Botox again. In fact, I say I'll be begging the Mulrooneys to 'shoot me up' the minute the novelty of a mobile face wears off. But I've made a deal, that no matter what, water, sleep and massage comes first. Oh yes, and no more make-up remover wipes. Not even at 4am after a litre of Lambrusco.

Melanie Morris is editor of IMAGE Magazine