Shahnaz Husain, renowned pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care. Excerpts
Q. Is there any way of removing underarm hair permanently? Is it safe to follow that method?
A. Waxing is the best option for removal of hair under the arms. Although it is not a permanent method, it is said to gradually lessen hair growth. Laser therapy is said to be a permanent method of hair removal. It is very important to find a good laser clinic, in order to avoid side effects. There may be some redness after laser therapy and one has to take care while the skin heals. It may also take several sessions, as small areas are done at a time. One should find out the number of sessions that will be needed, the costs involved, the chances of re-growth, as well as side effects. Re-growth has been known to occur for some time, after hair removal by laser.
Q. I have heard sugar is good for scrubbing. How will I use it?
A. Sugar is useful for the hands and feet. Large grains of sugar (coarse sugar) can be used for scrubbing. Lemon juice should be added to the sugar just before application. The mixture can be rubbed on the hands or feet and then washed off. Sugar may also be used by taking 2 tablespoons sunflower oil and 3 tablespoon coarse sugar. Mix together till it becomes a paste. Apply and rub into skin of hands or feet. Rinse off after 15 minutes.
Q. I have a wide jaw line. Please give me some tips for make-up and hairstyle?
A. For a wide jaw line, you will need two shades of foundation. One should be as close to your skin colour as possible, so that it is used for the rest of the face. The other should be one or two shades darker. Use the dark foundation at the jaw line, in a diagonal line, from the ears to the tip of the chin, on both sides. To make the face appear rounder, apply blusher (rouge) high on the cheekbones, blending it smoothly and softly downwards. A wide jaw line or a square face needs to be softened with a style that falls around the face in soft curves and curls. Never pull the hair back or up, as this would emphasize the jaw line. A side parting, a fall of hair at the temples, with the rest coming down and curling forward at the jawline has a softening effect.
Q. After colouring and straightening of my hair, I am really losing my hair. It has also become rough and dry. Please help.
A. Colouring and straightening should never be done together. There should be an interval of at least six weeks between the two procedures. Both the procedures damage the hair because they strip off the protective layer of the hair. They also weaken the hair. You can give your hair hot oil treatments. Twice a week, heat pure coconut oil and apply on the hair. Avoid vigorous massage. Using only the finger tips, actually move the scalp in small circular movements. 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. Apply herbal hair tonic daily. Diet is very important. Have a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, salads, leafy green vegetables, soyabean, curd in your diet. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.
Q. I am thin and short. What kind of clothes should I wear?
A. If you are thin, wear light colours. Simplicity should guide your choice of clothes and designs. Too much detail will over-emphasize shortness. Avoid clothes that are heavy or bulky, or bold, with big prints. Avoid contrasts that are horizontal, like a top and skirt in contrasting colours. This will have a horizontal line of demarcation between the two colours and will make you look shorter. One-colour outfits, or small prints, will be more flattering. Wear smooth and light fabrics that fall well. You can also wear kurtas or skirts that are a little longer. Avoid gathers and frills. Wear light shoes with medium heels and small neat accessories.
Q. My feet are dark. Tell me some home remedies to improve the colour. Also, how can I avoid in-growing toe nails?
A. Take pieces of lemon and rub them on the feet daily. Wash off and then apply sesame seed (til) oil and massage it on the feet. Mix gram flour (besan) with yogurt, lemon juice and a little turmeric (haldi) and apply on the feet thrice a week. Wash it off after half an hour. Then apply sesame seed oil, as recommended. In-growing nails can be avoiding by cutting the toe nails straight across. Avoid filing them into an oval shape.