Shahnaz Husain, renowned and acclaimed pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care.

Q. Can I apply olive oil on the face for dry skin? Are there any side effects?
A. If the skin is dry, olive oil may be used on the face and body. There will not be side-effects on dry skin. You can add half teaspoon honey to one teaspoon olive oil and apply daily on the face. Wash off after 20 minutes or wipe off with moist cotton wool. For dry skin, moisturisers should also be applied. Honey is a natural moisturiser. Aloe vera can also be applied on the face and then washed off with plain water after 20 minutes.
Q. I have dark under-eye circles. What are the reasons? Does orange peel help?
A. Some of the reasons for the formation of dark circles around eyes are hereditary factors, nutritional deficiencies, stress, inadequate sleep, sun-sensitivity, etc. So, along with external care, you should check these aspects. As a home remedy, daily apply pure almond oil sparingly (very little quantity) 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.
Fresh orange peels can be rubbed on the nails to brighten them. Dried and powdered orange peels can be added to face packs and scrubs.
Q. Please tell me the correct method of oiling the hair. Is it necessary to apply oily on the scalp? Does excess oil lead to hair loss? How long should oil be kept before washing the hair?
A. If the scalp is not oily, you may apply oil on the scalp and hair. If there is dandruff, apply oil on scalp with cotton wool and rub gently to dislodge the flakes. Oil may be applied on the hair and the tips (ends). Avoid rubbing. Gently massage the scalp, using only finger tips, and actually move the scalp in small circular movements. This helps to stimulate blood circulation to the follicles. Oil may be applied at night and left on overnight. Or, apply during the day and leave on for an hour before washing the hair. If the hair is oily, avoid oil applications, as excess oiliness can lead to hair loss.
Q. I delivered my baby 2 months back, through C section. What can I do to reduce my tummy and get back into shape?
A. You should first consult your doctor and check whether you can start exercising. You can try the following exercises – first, lie on the floor on your back, with feet together and arms at the sides. Lift the legs about six inches above the ground and hold the position for a count of ten. Then lower the legs to the floor.
Repeat this 3 to 4 times and increase gradually. For the second exercise, keep lying on the floor, the same way. Bend the knees and keep feet flat on the floor. Raise the body to a half-sitting position, holding the arms stretched out before you. Lower body to the floor and repeat 3 or 4 times. Also ask your doctor for dietary advice.
Q. Please suggest natural hair conditioners for frizzy hair to make it silky, shiny and smooth.
A. Twice a week heat pure coconut oil and apply on the hair. 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. After shampoo, apply creamy conditioner, leave on for 2 minutes and rinse with plain water.
When the hair is dry, take 2 drops of a light vegetable oil, like sunflower oil. Put it on your palms and rub the palms lightly together, so that the oil spreads over both palms. Smooth the palms over the hair. Or, take the ends of the hair in your palms and scrunch them. Leave the oil on. Or, mix some water with creamy hair conditioner and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the hair. Then comb the hair, so that it spreads through the hair.
Q. I have mixed skin on my face. Winter causes more dryness in cheeks, while other parts of the face look oily. What face wash or moisturizer should I use?
A. In winter, you can use mild glycerine soap, or a cleansing milk. Apply cleansing milk on face and wipe off with moist cotton wool. Mix one teaspoon pure glycerine with 100 ml rose water. Keep it in an airtight bottle. Apply a little of this lotion to relieve dryness. Aloe vera gel may also be applied on the face. Wash off with plain water after 15 to 20 minutes. Use a face wash containing ingredients like tulsi and neem.