Shahnaz Husain, renowned pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care. Excerpts
Q. My hands are rough and dry. How can I make them smooth and soft?
A. For household washing chores, wear rubber gloves. Detergents can make the hands dry and rough. After using soap and detergents, apply cream and massage it into the skin. Take two tablespoons sunflower oil and three tablespoon coarse sugar. Mix together till it becomes a paste. Apply daily on the hands and massage it into the skin. Rinse off after 15 minutes. Three times a week, add pure almond oil to warm water and soak the hands in it for 20 minutes. Then, wash with plain water and apply cream.
Q. Please suggest a hairstyle for my shoulder length hair. My hair is rough with split ends.
A. You will have to cut off the split ends. Avoid tying the hair tightly with rubber bands. Avoid using hair dryers and brushes. Use a wide-toothed comb. Twice a week heat pure coconut oil and apply on the scalp and hair. Apply on ends too. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for 5 minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3 or 4 times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Use a mild herbal shampoo. Use less shampoo and rinse well with water. After shampoo, apply a creamy conditioner, taking less quantity and massaging it lightly into the hair. Leave on for 2 minutes and rinse off with plain water. You can have a layered hairstyle, keeping to the shoulder length. The layers should be in the lower half of the hair and can have curls and waves at the ends.
Q. I have dark circles under my eyes. Please suggest some home remedies?
A. The skin around the eyes is thin and delicate. Along with external care, you should have a nutritious diet and adequate sleep. As a home remedy, daily apply pure almond oil sparingly under the 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 eyes daily for 20 minutes. Wash it off with water.
Q. I have to attend a wedding next week. I have oily skin. Please give me some make-up tips?
A. After cleansing the face, wipe with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. Wait for a few minutes and then apply water-based foundation. Apply on the face and spread it evenly, using a moist sponge, going outwards. Then apply powder to set the foundation, or compact powder, which should match the colour of the foundation. Next, apply powder blusher on the cheekbones, going slightly upwards and outwards. Apply brown eye shadow on eyelids and darker brown on the crease of the lids, to add depth. Highlight under the brows with light coloured eye shadow. Apply eyeliner and then smudge it slightly with a cotton bud or applicator, to achieve a smoky look. Apply mascara in two or three coats, but remember to brush the lashes after each coat dries. A glossy look on the lips is very much in. For night make up, a brighter colour should be used. Shades of red, like cherry, rose, wine, or a dark pink may be used. For the lips, first outline the lips with lip pencil and fill in with lipstick. The colour of the lip pencil and lipstick should be the same. Match the colour of the lipstick with your attire. Avoid very dark colours like dark maroon or dark brown. If you use a matte lipstick, add a touch of lip gloss on the centre of the lips.
Q. My lips are dark and dry. Please tell me how to lighten the colour and also how to remove stretch-marks?
A. The skin of the lips is very thin and delicate. However, after washing the face, when the lips are wet, rub them gently with a soft towel. This helps to remove dead skin. Add a few drops of lemon juice to cream of milk (malai) and apply on the lips. Leave on for an hour. Apply pure almond oil daily on the lips at night and leave on overnight. Look for a lip balm with sunscreen. For stretch marks, apply olive oil daily on the area and massage it on the skin. Mix gram flour (besan) with curd and a little turmeric into a paste and apply on the area three times a week. Wash it off after half an hour. Body packs are also available.