Shahnaz Husain, renowned and acclaimed pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care.
Q. My daughter has lice in her hair. Please suggest remedies.
A. Apply vinegar on the hair and scalp. After an hour, comb with a fine lice comb and get the nits (eggs) taken out by hand. If the eggs are not taken our, the lice will not go. Vinegar loosens the lice and nits and they are easier to remove. Then wash the hair with a mild herbal shampoo. After shampoo, add two tablespoons vinegar to a mug of water and use as a last rinse. Then comb again with the lice comb. Do this daily for one week.
Q. Please tell me the different ways to improve my hair. I stay in a hostel and the water is not good.
A. Apply olive oil once or twice a week, the night before shampoo. If the hair is rough, apply a leave-on conditioner after shampoo. Take very little and massage lightly into the hair. Then comb hair as usual. Wash the hair three times a week, using less shampoo and rinse well with water. Add two tablespoons vinegar to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse. This helps to restore the normal acid-alkaline balance and protect the hair if the water is hard.
Q. Please provide some home remedies to make my skin glow.
A. Tone the skin daily with rose water, after cleansing. Keep rose water in a bowl in the fridge and soak cotton wool pads in it. Use them to wipe the skin. Then, pat the skin briskly with the rosewater-soaked cotton wool pads. Use a facial scrub once or twice a week. It helps to remove dead skin cells and brightens the skin. It also improves skin texture and produces an even colour tone. Scrubs are easily available nowadays. Or, you can mix ground almonds and curd. Add a pinch of turmeric. Apply it on the face and leave on for a few minutes. Then, rub gently, with small circular movements, washing off with water. A facial scrub can also be made with walnut powder. Add honey and lemon juice to it. Dried and powdered curry leaves can also be added to face packs, as it is said to add a glow to the skin. Mix it with Fullers Earth (multani mitti) and rose water into a paste. Apply on the face and wash it off when it is dry.
Q. My hair is oily and thin. How to add body to the hair and how often should I oil my hair? Can I wash hair every alternate day?
A. If the hair is oily, you can wash the hair often, even daily, but use less shampoo and rinse well with water. Only one application of shampoo is enough. After shampoo, add the juice of a lemon to half a mug of water and use it as a last rinse. Avoid oil applications if your hair is oily and limp. You can also apply egg white on the hair, 20 minutes before shampoo. It reduces oiliness and also adds body. Weekly henna treatments will also help to add body to the hair. Add 4 teaspoons each of lemon juice and coffee, 2 raw eggs and enough “tea water” to the henna powder, mixing it into a thick paste. Apply the henna on the hair and wash off after an hour. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and have it first thing in the morning.
Q. Can you suggest a home remedy for dark underarms?
A. Avoid shaving or hair removing creams, which cause darkening of the skin under the arms. Waxing is the best option. The lemon and sugar mixture used for waxing by beauty parlours would itself lighten skin colour over a period of time. Mix besan, curd, lemon juice and a little haldi (turmeric) and apply at least three times a week. Wash it off after half an hour. Cucumber juice can also be applied daily.
Q. I have combination skin. What kind of cleanser and care are suitable? How to remove unwanted hair? I want natural remedies.
A. You can use a cleansing milk, face wash or mild soap for cleansing the face. Then apply rose water, using cotton wool. You can also add a little milk to honey and apply on the face daily to soften the skin. Or, apply curd and wash it off after 15 minutes with plenty of water. For hair removal from the body, waxing is the best option. For the face, threading or waxing may be done at a beauty salon for hair removal. Home remedies do not remove facial hair, but may help in lessening the growth. Make a thick paste of sugar, lemon juice and water and apply it in the direction of hair growth. Wash off when it dries. Apply it once or twice a week. Or, apply a paste of turmeric powder and milk and rub this on the skin with a circular motion. It is said to discourage facial hair, but it may leave a slight yellowish colour on the skin.

Shahnaz Husain, internationally acclaimed for Ayurvedic beauty care and ac 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.