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

Q. My teenage daughter has a terrible dandruff problem, which sticks to the scalp. Also, there is a bad odour from the hair. Anti-dandruff shampoos help for a while, but the problem comes back. Please suggest some effective treatment.
A. Your daughter should wash the hair at least three or four times a week with a mild herbal shampoo, using less shampoo and rinsing well with water. Half an hour before shampoo, apply two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, massaging it lightly into the scalp. Twice a week, heat olive oil and apply on the scalp, using cotton wool and rubbing gently to dislodge the flakes. Next morning, apply the vinegar, as advised. Wash the hair after an hour. She can also apply a non-oily herbal hair tonic. To remove bad odour, add the juice of a lemon and half a cup of rose water to a mug of water and use as a last rinse after shampoo. Eau de cologne can also be added to a mug of water and used as a last rinse to reduce oiliness and remove bad odour. If there is no time to shampoo, pour cologne on clean cloth. Wrap the cloth around a brush and brush the hair with it. This removes oiliness and dirt too, apart from adding fragrance.
Q. Even after using sunscreen, my skin gets tanned and I have a lot of itching on my face. Is it some sort of allergy? Please suggest a home remedy for this problem?
A. You could be having a sun-sensitive skin, or what is called photosensitivity. It could be actinic dermatitis, a condition of sensitivity or allergy to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, since there is itching. Use a sunscreen with high SPF of 30+. The present sunscreen may not be providing adequate protection. Moreover, if you are in the sun for more than an hour, you should apply the sunscreen again. A sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before sun-exposure, giving the skin time to absorb it. You should also consult a dermatologist, who will prescribe medication suggest the products suited to your problem. Sometimes, applying cold milk helps to soothe the skin in cases of sunburn.
Q. I want a remedy for my strong body odour. I keep using deodorants and perfumes, but it does not help. Please tell me what to do.
A. Odour develops about six hours after sweating, due to decomposition of sweat. Showering twice a day and changing the clothes twice a day is one way of dealing with the problem of odour. Scrub the body with a loofah while bathing, especially areas where odour develops. Use talcum powder too. Most deodorants are also anti-perspirants. Carry your deodorant or cologne and use it if you are out for long periods of time. You can be generous with the use of colognes, even splashing them on. Colognes constitute mainly water. They are lighter and leave a lingering fragrance. You can also add it to bath water. You can try some home remedies. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply on areas like under the arms. You can also add lemon juice to this paste. Leave on for ten minutes and wash off with water. Or, mix a little baking soda with your talcum powder and apply under the arms, or on the feet. You can also add 2 drops Tea Tree Oil to 2 tablespoons rose water. Apply this under the arms with cotton wool. Add one teaspoon alum and rose water to your bath water.
Q. I am a woman of 28 yrs, a mother of two. My problem is that at the time of my first delivery I was unaware that there are certain measures and ointments if applied religiously can really help to get rid of stretch marks. Now I am desperately looking out for some solution with which all my previous stretch marks can also get dissolved. Please help.
A. With stretch marks, prevention is certainly easier than cure. Stretch marks form due to the destruction of skin elasticity and are difficult to remove totally. However, they can be minimized with daily treatment. You can massage sesame seed (til) oily daily on the area. If they are on the abdominal region, use circular strokes. You can mix besan with curd and add a pinch of haldi. The mixture should be thick and should not drip. Wash it off when it dries. You can apply it half an hour before your bath.
Q. I actually want to colour my hair. I am fair. Kindly suggest the colour for my hair, which are dark brown. Also the care required after colouring.
A. If you must colour the hair, streak it with a dark reddish tint, which will mix with the dark brown colour and provide highlights. Streaking means you do not have to colour the entire hair and this helps to limit the damage. Hair Mascaras are available for streaking the hair. For colouring the hair, use a cream rinse and avoid dyes. Do regular hot oil therapy, applying warmed pure coconut oil on the hair and then do the hot towel wrap.