Shahnaz Husain, renowned and acclaimed pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care.
Q. My mother is 45 years old. She has a lot of blackheads on her face. Please suggest a remedy.  
A. Blackheads occur on oily skin or oily areas of the skin. After washing the face in the morning, she can wipe the blackhead prone areas with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. After washing in the morning, she can make a paste of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and water. Apply the paste on the areas with blackheads daily and wash it off after 5 minutes. Use a facial scrub twice a week on the blackhead prone areas. Facial scrubs are easily available. Or, she can mix oats with egg white and apply on the face twice a week. Wash it off when it is dry.
Q. My upper lip is dark. What should I do to make both lips lighter in colour?
A. After washing the face, when the lips are wet, rub upper lip gently with a soft towel. This helps to remove dead skin. Then apply cream of milk on upper lip after adding a few drops of lemon juice. Leave on for an hour. Apply pure almond oil daily on the upper lip at night and leave on overnight. You can also look for a lip balm with sunscreen and apply on upper lips. Meanwhile you can take the help of make up by applying a brown matte (non-shiny) lipstick on the lower lip. Then apply the colour of your choice on both lips, so that both lips look the same colour.
Q. What should I do to get even skin tone and reduce dark patches on my cheeks?
A. You should apply a sunscreen with high SPF before going out in the sun. Try to avoid too much sun exposure as far as possible. Mix rice powder with curd and use as a facial scrub once or twice a week. Apply only on the dark patches and rub gently on the skin with tiny circular movements. Leave on for a few minutes and then wash off with water. Mix honey and lemon juice in equal quantities and apply daily only on the dark patches. Wash off after 15 minutes with plain water. Twice a week, apply face mask. Mix 3 teaspoons oatmeal with one teaspoon each of honey, curd and lemon juice, or egg white. Apply on the entire face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash it off after half an hour.
Q. My face is quite oily and I am allergic to make-up and creams. Suggest a natural remedy.
A. After washing the face, apply astringent lotion using cotton wool, to reduce oiliness. You can mix cucumber juice with rose water and apply daily, washing off after 20 minutes. Use a facial scrub twice a week. They are easily available. Mix multani mitti with rose water and lemon juice into a paste and apply daily on the face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash it off when it dries.
Q. How to remove sun tan in arms?
A. Apply sesame seed (til) oil daily and massage it on the skin of arms. Twice a week, use a scrub. Mix rice powder with curd and pinch of turmeric (haldi). Rub gently on the skin before bath and wash off while bathing. Mix gram flour (besan), curd, lemon juice and a little turmeric (haldi) and apply the paste at least three times a week on arms. Wash it off after half an hour. Then apply til oil and massage it into the skin, as recommended.
Q. My skin is oily. What can I apply after bath to moisturise my face? Which sunscreen should I use? Can I make sunscreen at home?
A. After cleansing, apply an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. This helps to reduce oiliness. For moisturising the face without making it oily, mix half teaspoon pure glycerine with 100 ml rose water. Keep in an airtight bottle in the fridge. Apply a little of this lotion on the face to moisturise the skin, without making it oily. Apply a sunscreen gel. It is difficult to make sunscreen at home. It is better to use sunscreen made by a reputed company, with SPF written on the label.
Q. I straightened my hair recently and it’s very dry. I can’t apply egg or curd. Please tell me other options.
A. Give you hair hot oil therapy and conditioning treatments. Twice a week heat pure almond oil and apply on the hair. Then do the hot towel wrap. Use a mild herbal shampoo. Use less shampoo and rinse well with water. Regular conditioning is extremely important. Hair conditioners and hair serums help to soften the hair and improve its look and texture. After shampoo, apply a creamy conditioner, taking less quantity and massaging it lightly into the hair. Leave it on for two minutes and rinse off with plain water. Do not rinse off all the conditioner if the hair is very dry. You can also apply a “leave-on” type of conditioner or hair serum.

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.