Shahnaz Husain, renowned pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care. Excerpts
Q. How often should one cut the hair for hair to remain healthy and lustrous?
A. For short or layered hair, it should be cut every 6 weeks, in order to maintain the style. Hair may be trimmed before split ends form. Or, have a trim when there are split ends. The growth of hair is more apparent in short hair styles than in long hair. Long hair may be trimmed every 8 to 12 weeks, but if the hair is prone to split ends, hair must be trimmed more often.
Q. I have straight and fine hair. How can I add body to my hair?
A. There are many natural ingredients at home that add body to the hair and make it appear thicker, like yoghurt and egg. Egg nourishes dry hair, while oily hair benefits by egg white, which cleanses, reduces oiliness and adds body. Applying egg or yogurt half an hour before shampoo makes the hair look thicker. Beat an egg with a little milk to form a thick consistency and apply it on the hair. After half an hour, rinse with water. Add lemon juice and half-cup rose water to a mug of water for a last rinse, to remove odour of egg. Henna packs also help to add thickness to the hair, because henna coats the hair.
Q. What are some of the best hair oils to use to regain volume, hair growth and curb hair fall?
A. Coconut oil is probably the most popular oil for the hair in India. It is said to strengthen the hair and make it thick and shiny. The application of oil with a light massage helps to stimulate blood circulation to the follicles and promote hair growth. In cases of excessive dryness of the hair, mix one part of castor oil with two parts coconut oil. Heat and apply. Remember to apply on the ends too. Keep the oil on overnight and wash the hair the next day, using a mild herbal shampoo. Almond Oil helps hair that has suffered damage due to the use of chemical lotions. Olive oil is helpful if there is dandruff, as it helps to restore the normal acid-alkaline balance.
Q. I’m 31 years old and have hair loss. What can I do to control it?
A. Some of the reasons for hair loss are dandruff, oily scalp, stress, thyroid imbalance, illness, nutritional deficiencies, hair damage (caused by repeated dyeing, colouring, perming, straightening), etc. Hair loss after pregnancy is also common. So, you can try to identify the cause in your case. Apply herbal hair tonic on the scalp daily, using cotton wool and leave on. Avoid massage. Part the hair in sections and apply on the scalp. Apply oil once a week the night before shampoo. If you like, you can apply olive oil or pure coconut oil. Avoid head massage. If there is hair loss, the roots are already weak and massage may aggravate the problem. If the hair is oily, avoid oil applications. If the hair is dry, shampoo twice a week. For oily hair, shampoo 3 or 4 times a week. Use less shampoo. Dilute with water and then apply. Diet is very important. Have a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, salads, leafy green vegetables, soyabean, curd in your diet. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and have it first thing in the morning. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.
Q. Are hair extensions a good choice for people with hair loss?
A. There are many kinds of hair extensions. Hair extensions are helpful in cases of thinning hair and balding, as in alopecia or male pattern balding. They help to deal with the anxiety and despair associated with severe hair loss. To this extent, I would consider them useful. One can have a partial hair extension in the hair weaving method. Partial extensions are more popular, but washing the hair and keeping the scalp clean poses a problem. Fusion hair extensions are glued on to the natural hair. However, they are not always advisable, as they can cause damage to the natural hair. Such hair extensions have to be attached by a hairstylist, who is trained in the particular method. Clip on hair extensions, which are attached to short hair, to make the hair appear longer are easiest to use, but they also need to be maintained and looked after.
Q. I travel quite frequently due to my work. How can I take care of my skin, while travelling?
A. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going out in the sun. Carry your sunscreen, along with moist tissues, which are easily available. Carry a compact powder too. Wiping with the moist tissue cleanses and refreshes the skin. Apply a little sunscreen and after a few minutes, apply compact powder. Cleansing the skin at night is most important to get rid of the impurities, sweat and oil deposits that have collected on the skin during the day.