Shahnaz Husain, renowned and acclaimed pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care.
Q. I have a combination skin. When I use sunscreen or moisturizer, my face becomes oily and dark. Suggest a remedy.
A. Your skin may be more oily. An oily skin looks oilier and dark after the application of creams. If you use a sunscreen, there is no need to also apply a moisturizer. During the day, after cleansing and toning, apply a sunscreen gel. Wait for 10 minutes and then apply a compact powder. It would help the skin look less oily. After washing the face, wipe it with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. Use a facial scrub two or three times a week. It would help to remove tan. You can also mix multani mitti with rose water and lemon juice and apply on the face three times a week. Wash it off when it is dry. It will also help to remove tan.
Q. Please tell me how to prepare and apply henna.
A. To the henna powder add 4 teaspoons each of lemon juice and coffee, 2 raw eggs and enough curd to mix into a thick paste. It should be of toothpaste-like consistency. Divide the hair in sections and apply the henna on both sides of the section, so that it is totally covered with henna. Wrap the section around the head. Now repeat this with each section, till the hair is totally covered with the henna paste. Keep it on for at least one hour and wash off. You need not shampoo your hair. You can wash it off with plain water. You can use shampoo after a day or two, if you wish. If your hair is dry, also add 2 teaspoons hair oil to the henna paste.
Q. I have curly hair. I straightened it twice. Now I have lots of hair breakage. I use hair gel, but the hair gets very dry.
A. Hair straightening with chemical lotions and direct heat applications can make the hair dry and brittle. Rather than using hair gel, you can take two drops of olive oil or sesame seed (til) oil on your palm. Rub both palms lightly together so that the oil spreads on both palms. Then smooth the palms over the hair or massage lightly into the hair. Or use a leave-on conditioner or hair serum to add shine to the hair and make it smoother. They will not dry out the hair. Twice a week heat pure coconut oil and apply on the 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 will improve the hair’s texture.
Q. I had pimples 2 years back. There are no pimples now, but my skin has become very dry and there are lots of marks and eruptions. Can I use olive oil? What soap to use?
A. Using oil can again lead to pimples. There can be superficial dryness in pimple prone skin as many of the anti-acne products cause dryness. Mix one teaspoon pure glycerin with 100 ml rose water and keep in a bottle in the fridge. Apply a little of this lotion on the face after cleansing, or whenever the skin feels dry. It will relieve dryness. Use a mild glycerin soap to wash the face.
For the eruptions, you can mix a little rose water with sandalwood paste and apply daily. Wash it off after 15 minutes. Take 2 teaspoons curd, add a pinch of turmeric and apply daily on the entire face at any time. Wash it off with plenty of water after 15 minutes. This will also relieve dryness and help both pimples and marks. Mix multani mitti 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.
Q. My nails are break and chip easily. I want them to grow.
A. Wear rubber gloves for your washing chores. Massage cream on the hands and nails daily, especially after using detergents and soaps. Put cream on each nail and massage the nail and the skin surrounding it, using circular strokes with your thumb. Avoid using very hot water to wash the hands. If you have brittle nails, avoid frosted nail varnish. Put a cupful of warm milk in a bowl. Soak your hands in it for five minutes to strengthen nails and soften the skin. Mix almond oil and honey in equal quantities and massage it on the hands, nails and cuticles. Include skimmed milk, yogurt, cottage cheese (paneer), fish and sprouts in your diet. Follow a ten-day program of taking gelatin. Dissolve one teaspoon gelatin in a little boiling water. Cool the water and add it to fruit juice. Have this daily for ten days.