Shahnaz Husain, renowned pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care. Excerpts:
Q. What should you do to keep your skin healthy and radiant throughout the year?
A. Good health and beauty are two sides of the same coin. For a flawless skin, good health must be on top of the list. A nutritious diet, daily exercise, adequate sleep, relaxation, freedom from stress, as well as skin care according to individual needs, are all necessary for radiant skin. Adjust your routine according to the seasons. In winter, for instance, the skin needs moisturisers. However, the moisturiser should be selected according to skin type. Daily cleansing, toning and protection are most important. Exercise, together with a balanced diet, can work wonders. Adequate sleep helps to restore energy. It is a beauty treatment in itself.
Q. I’ve never used sunscreen on my skin. Will this affect my skin?
A. The sun is responsible for most of the changes in the skin, which we identify as signs of aging. The sun’s ultra violet radiation not only affects the outer layer of the skin, but also penetrates the inner layers. The skin becomes vulnerable to lines, wrinkles, skin-sensitivity and dehydration. Moisture depletion is an immediate effect of sun-exposure. This also hastens premature ageing and can cause skin-sensitivity. Physical protection from the sun’s rays is the only answer. This can be done by applying a sunscreen, 20 minutes before going out in the sun.
Q. What are some of the best ways to lighten the skin under your arms?
A. Waxing is the best hair removal option, as shaving and the use of hair removal creams are known to cause darkening of the skin. The lemon and sugar mixture used by most beauty parlours helps to lighten skin colour. For dark skin under the arms, mix gram flour (besan) with yogurt and a pinch of turmeric into a paste. Apply three times a week on the area and wash it off after half an hour. Potato juice may be applied under the arms daily to make the skin colour lighter. Wash off with water after 20 minutes. Or, mix baking soda with water into a paste and apply under the arms daily. Leave on for 5 minutes and wash off with water.
Q. I have naturally straight hair. How can I make my hair wavy without using any chemicals or heat styling products?
A. If you want curls or waves, you can blow dry the hair, curling sections around a brush, or use rollers to make wavy hair or large curls. However, hold the dryer at least six inches away from the hair. Rollers can help to make the hair wavy or curly. For larger curls or waves, use large rollers. Avoid wire rollers, as they can damage the hair. If you want to curl your hair, use the rollers on damp hair. Leave them on for a few hours and then blow dry them for a minute or two before opening the rollers. If you want the hair wavy, avoid leaving the rollers on for too long, so that you can get gentle waves. You can also scrunch the hair to make waves or curls, i.e. hold sections of the hair in your hand and clench fists. Then spread fingers apart and do it again. Towel dry your hair and comb it out using a large-toothed comb. Allow it to air dry for five minutes. Use a styling gel and then blow dry and scrunch the hair.
Q. My hair has always been rough since I was young. Please suggest the best methods for smoothening my hair?
A. Hair smoothening therapy makes use of keratin, smoothing out curls, waves or frizz. The smoothening product is an intensive conditioner. Other smoothing products can also be applied to make the hair softer and smoother. Leave-on conditioner, hair serums, hair butter are some of the products that help to soften the hair and make it look smoother when it is styled. At salons smoothing creams and masks are used to make the hair smooth and more manageable. They also help to moisturize the hair and add shine, making it look thicker and straighter.