Shahnaz Husain, renowned pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care. Excerpts
Q. I really enjoy reading your column and have benefited by your remedies. My daughter’s hair is rough. What can she do to make it soft? We are vegetarians and don’t use egg.
A. Applying yogurt on the hair half an hour before shampoo helps to soften it. Your daughter should use a mild herbal shampoo and apply less shampoo. Only one application of shampoo is enough. Twice a week, heat pure coconut oil and apply on the scalp and 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. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. 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. Or, apply a “leave-on” type of conditioner or hair serum. Apply the same way, but do not rinse off.
Q. My face is very oily. I’ve got many boils on my face. Please suggest some home remedy.
A. The boils could be acne, which usually occur on oily skin. Wash your face twice a day, morning and night with a medicated soap. Then wipe with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. Mix a little rose water with sandalwood paste and apply on the entire face, washing off after 15 minutes with plain water. Mix cinnamon powder with a little lemon juice and few drops of honey into a sticky paste. Apply only on the acne (boils) daily and leave it on for at least one hour. Mix multani mitti (Fullers Earth) with rose water and lemon juice into a paste and apply on the face two or three times a week. Wash it off when it dries. You can also add sandalwood paste to this pack. Include fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts and yogurt in your daily diet. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and drink it first thing in the morning.
Q. I have dry skin and currently I do not have any pimples. Can you tell me how to prevent them? When you say ‘oatmeal’ do you mean cooked oats or uncooked oats? What can I do to make my skin glow? What difference will I see after using multani mitti?
A. Pimples usually occur on oily or combination skin. Pimples can be prevented by not using very rich creams or oil on the face. You can also wipe the face with a rose based skin tonic like Sharose after washing your face. Using scrubs and masks help to prevent blackheads. This also helps in the prevention of pimples. You should use the uncooked oats. The oatmeal mask, used twice a week, would add a glow to the skin. You can also use a scrub once or twice a week. It would also help to make your skin brighter. Do not apply the scrub on pimples, if any. The scrub will help to prevent blackheads and brighten the skin. A mask will tighten the pores and also add a glow to the skin. Multani mitti helps oily skin more. It helps to reduce oiliness and makes the skin clearer. You can mix 3 teaspoons choker with one teaspoon each honey, curd and rose water. This mask may help more. If there is dryness, you can mix honey with curd and pinch of turmeric. Apply on the face, washing it off after 15 minutes with plenty of water.
Q. For the last 5 years my hair has been thinning. I have a 2 year old child. Sometime after she was born, my hair started falling, especially from the front. I hate going out because of this. I am using dandruff shampoo and hair colour. Please suggest some solution. I am very depressed.
A. You have not mentioned if you have dandruff. Yet, you are using a dandruff shampoo. You should use a mild herbal shampoo and use less shampoo. Avoid head massage. You seem to be suffering from stress and anxiety and this can aggravate the problem. You should consult a doctor to find out if you are suffering from a condition called alopecia. If so, the doctor may suggest some medication. If there is dandruff, half an hour before shampoo, apply two tablespoons apple cider vinegar on the scalp. You can also apply herbal hair tonic daily on the scalp, using cotton wool. Have a small bowl of sprouts daily. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements. Do some deep breathing exercises daily. Sit down in front of an open window. Inhale and exhale deeply and slowly for 5 minutes and increase gradually. This helps to reduce stress.