Shahnaz Husain, renowned pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care, Excerpts
Q. I have oily skin and wash my face 3or 4 times a day. I have a lot of blackheads. What should I do?
A. You should not wash the face with soap and water more than twice a day. This disrupts the normal acid-alkaline balance. However, you can rinse with plain water several times a day. Blackheads are caused by oil getting clogged in the pores. Therefore, deep pore cleansing is essential, two or three times a week. First use a medicated soap or cleanser, rinsing well with water. Then use a facial scrub. You can mix rice flour with curd and apply it on the area with blackheads. Rub gently on the skin and rinse off with water. For stubborn blackheads, you can get them removed at a beauty salon.
Q. I have dry and sensitive skin. Some areas are rough and red, with white flakes. What is the remedy?
A. You skin is dehydrated and you have a condition of dry-skin sensitivity. The rough, red and flaky areas have become totally dehydrated, due to habitual lack of moisture. Stop using soap and use a cleansing gel for dry skin, wiping the skin with moist cotton wool. At night, after cleansing, apply a nourishing cream and massage it into the skin. Remove the cream with moist cotton wool. Then apply a liquid moisturizer on the dry areas. Apply aloe vera gel on daily on the face and wash off after 15 minutes will also help. You should also use a sunscreen with a high SPF before going out in the sun.
Q. I keep reading about T-zone. What is it?
A. The T-zone refers to the forehead, nose and chin. If taken together, this forms a “T” in shape. In combination skins, the T-zone may be of one skin-type, while the rest of the face falls in another category of skin-type. Usually, the T-zone is oily and the cheeks are dry.
Q. My daughter, aged 10 years, has lice in her hair. Is there some home remedy to get rid of them?
A. The easiest way is to use the special shampoos which are available for lice infestations. You should be able to get them at a chemist’s shop. After washing the hair, use a fine toothed comb to comb the hair thoroughly. The nits (eggs) will have to be removed by hand. As a home remedy, grind fenugreek (methi) seeds and add some coconut oil to it. Apply it on the scalp and hair. Wash the hair with water after an hour.
Or, you can add half teaspoon neem oil to one table spoon coconut oil and apply on the scalp and hair. Do this twice a week.
Q. Please suggest a hair rinse, which I can make at home.
A. If your hair is dry, you can add a tablespoon of honey to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse after your shampoo. Tea rinses are also good for the hair. Take used tea leaves and boil them again in enough water. Strain and cool the liquid and use it as a rinse for any hair type. Neem leaves can be used to make protective hair rinses. Boil water and add neem leaves to it while it is still hot. Do not boil the leaves. Allow it to stand in the water overnight. Strain and use this water as a rinse. It can help to prevent rashes and itching during hot and humid weather.
Q. I keep reading about skin toning. What should I use and how should it be done?
A. Skin toning should be done after cleansing, as part of the daily routine. Toning helps to close and refine the pores. It is necessary for all skin types. Toning helps to improve blood circulation to the skin surface and adds a natural glow. Rose water is one of the best known natural skin toners. Using cotton wool pads, wipe the skin with it. Then pat the skin briskly with it. Gentle stroking movements can also be followed, starting on the cheeks, with an outward and slightly upward movement. Using both hands, work on each side simultaneously, going towards the temples. Press lightly at each temple. For the chin and on either corner of the nose, use small circular strokes. Use a circular motion and a very light touch around the eyes.
Q. I would like my skin to be fairer. Can I have it bleached or should I use a fairness cream? I have dry skin.
A. I do not advocate bleaching, because it can destroy the natural beauty of the skin. In fact, it will make the skin dry and hamper the normal moisture retention ability of the skin. You should use a sunscreen when you are out in the sun. You can mix rose water with lemon juice and apply it on the skin daily. Wash it off after 15 minutes. If you have dry skin, apply milk on the face daily. If you have oily skin, apply 2 teaspoons curd and a pinch of turmeric. These are said to lighten skin colour.