Shahnaz Husain, renowned and acclaimed pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care.
Q. What is the remedy for stretch marks on the body? Also, I get tanned soon despite using a sunscreen lotion.
A. Stretch marks usually fade with time, but are never removed totally, because they form due to destruction of skin elasticity. Daily apply olive oil or til oil on these areas and massage it into the skin. Mix besan with curd and a little turmeric into a paste and apply on these areas three times a week. Wash it off after half and hour. You can look for an anti-tan sunscreen. Try to avoid sun-exposure as far as possible, because sun-exposure will cause tanning. Apply oil daily on arms too and massage on the skin. Mix rice powder with curd and a pinch of turmeric and apply on the arms twice a week. Rub gently on arms and wash off with water.
Q. I have a lot of grey hair. I used to apply colour, but it leads to hair loss.
A. Chemical dyes and colours can lead to hair loss. Amla is said to check greying. So, you can have the juice of one raw amla daily, after adding it to a glass of water. You can also add amla to henna powder. However, henna leaves a reddish brown colour on white hair, as you know. It will not colour dark hair. If you would like to try it, you can soak a handful of dry amla in about 2 to 3 cups water overnight. Next morning, strain the water, but do not throw the water away. Grind the amla. To the henna powder, add the ground amla, 4 teaspoons each of lemon juice and coffee, 2 raw eggs, 2 teaspoons oil and enough amla water, so that the henna mixes into a thick paste. Keep the paste for two to three hours and then apply it on the hair, so that the entire head is covered. Keep it on for at least two hours and wash off with plain water. Or, you can apply Colourveda Natural Hair Colour. It contains natural colourants like indigo, catechu (kaththa) and henna. It gives a blacking brown colour to the hair and is chemical-free.
Q. What are the uses of Aloe Vera and how can I use it on the face and hair?
A. Aloe Vera has healing and moisture retention properties. It is a powerful natural moisturizer and seals off loss of moisture. It also softens dead skin cells and helps their removal, leaving the skin smoother and brighter. It protects the skin from early ageing and soothes sun-damaged skins. It helps to soften dry hair. The aloe vera gel or juice may be applied on the face daily and then washed off with plain water after 20 minutes. It can also be added to face masks. Take one tablespoon oats or multani mitti, one teaspoon each orange peel powder and curd and one tablespoon aloe vera gel. Mix together and apply on the skin, washing it off after 30 minutes. The gel may be applied the same way on the hair and can be added to hair packs. For dry, rough and brittle hair, mix well together one egg, one tablespoons castor oil, the juice of a lemon and one tablespoon aloe vera gel or juice. Apply on the hair and wear a plastic shower cap. Wash the hair after half an hour.
Q. I have dandruff. Will henna, tea powder, curd help? I wash hair daily to remove dandruff.
A. Wash your hair with a mild herbal shampoo three or four times a week, using less shampoo and rinsing very well with water. Half an hour before shampoo, apply two tablespoons vinegar on the scalp, massaging it lightly into the scalp. Once a week, heat olive oil and apply on the scalp at night. Leave on overnight. Next morning, apply the juice of a lemon 15 minutes before shampoo. Weekly henna treatments will help. 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. Make “Tea water” by boiling used tea leaves again in enough water. Cool and strain. Apply the henna on the hair and wash off after an hour. If you do not wish to use egg, add more tea water.
Q. My nails always break and I need a remedy. While removing nail polish, the nail gets damaged.
A. Wear rubber gloves for your washing chores. Massage cream on the hands and nails daily, especially after using detergents and soaps. Put a cupful of warm milk in a bowl. Soak your hands in it for five minutes to strengthen nails. If you have brittle nails, avoid frosted nail varnish and use good quality remover. Include adequate protein and calcium in your diet. Take skimmed milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, fish and sprouts. Follow a ten-day programme of taking gelatine. Dissolve one teaspoon gelatine in a little boiling water. Cool the water and add it to fruit juice. Have this daily for ten days.

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.