Shahnaz Husain, renowned and acclaimed pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care.
Q. My hair strands are very fragile and dry. Suggest some home remedy to make my hair strong and silky.
A. The diet is very important for strengthening the hair. Have a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables, curd, soyabean in your diet. Twice a week, heat pure coconut oil and apply on the hair. Then do the hot towel wrap. Hair conditioners and hair serums help to soften the hair and improve its look and texture. After shampoo, apply a creamy conditioner. Leave on for 2 minutes and rinse off with plain water. You can also apply a leave-on conditioner. Give yourself a deep conditioning treatment at home. Take two teaspoons pure glycerin, one tablespoon sesame seed (til) oil and one egg yolk. Mix together and apply on the scalp and hair. Apply on the ends too. If you do not wish to use egg, you may omit it. Wear a plastic shower cap and leave on for an hour before washing the hair.
Q. I have dark circles and wrinkles around my eyes. Please suggest tips to get rid of them.
As a home remedy, daily apply pure almond oil sparingly around eyes and massage it lightly on the skin, using only the ring finger, for one minute under each eye. Massage in one direction only. Leave on for 15 minutes and wipe off gently with moist cotton wool. You can also mix cucumber juice and potato juice in equal quantities. Apply under eyes daily for 20 minutes. Wash off with water. Before going out in the sun, apply a sunscreen lotion sparingly under the eyes. Add a drop of water to it before applying, to give a lighter coverage.
Q. I have combination skin. There are pimples on my upper back and shoulder. Please advise me.
A. Check if you have dandruff which leads to pimples on back and shoulder. After bathing, wipe the pimple prone areas with an astringent lotion. Apply sandalwood paste on the pimples. Wash your hair at least three times a week. After shampoo, add the juice of a lemon to half a mug of water and use it as a last rinse. Wash your pillow covers daily in warm soapy water, after adding one teaspoon antiseptic solution. Drink plenty of water. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of warm water and have it first thing in the morning.
Q. I have a prolonged dandruff problem. It gets worse in winter. Please suggest remedies.
A. Wash your hair with a mild herbal shampoo three times a week, using less shampoo and rinsing very well with water. Half an hour before shampoo, apply two tablespoons apple cider vinegar on the scalp, massaging it lightly into the scalp. Twice a week, heat olive oil and apply on the scalp at night. Leave on overnight. Next morning, apply the juice of a lemon on the scalp 15 minutes, before shampoo. Or, you can also apply curd 15 minutes before shampoo. But rinse well with water. It may help winter dandruff.
Q. How can I remove black dots from my nose?
A. These may be blackheads, which are usually slightly raised and when pressed a whitish substance comes out with a black tip. Blackheads occur on oily skin or oily areas of the skin.
In the morning after washing the face, make a paste of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and water. Apply the paste on the areas with blackheads daily and wash it off after 5 minutes.
Use a facial scrub three times a week on the blackhead prone areas. Either buy a facial scrub or you can mix rice powder with rose water and use as a facial scrub. Apply on the areas with blackheads and rub gently on the skin using small circular movements. Leave on for 5 minutes and then wash off with water.
Q. How can I find out my skin type? Also, how can I make my feet fairer?
A. An oily skin has open pores and is prone to blackheads, pimples, or acne. A dry skin is fine textured and has a taut feeling after washing. When you wake up in the morning, wipe your face with a tissue, before washing or cleansing it. If the tissue is clean, you have a normal to dry skin. If the tissue becomes stained or soiled with grease, you have a normal to oily skin. Use different tissues for different areas, wiping the forehead, nose and chin with one tissue and using another one to wipe the cheeks. This will help to know if you have a combination skin. For the feet, take lemon halves and rub them daily on the feet. Wash it off and then apply sesame seed (til) oil and massage it into the skin. Make a paste of gram flour (besan), curd, lemon juice and a little turmeric (haldi). Apply the paste on these areas at least three times a week.

Shahnaz Husain, internationally acclaimed for Ayurvedic beauty care and a Harvard Subject on “Emerging Markets,” received the Padma Shri Award and is the first woman in 104 years to receive the World’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur Success Award.