Shahnaz Husain, renowned and acclaimed pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care.
Q. Kindly suggest some hair pack for dry hair and face pack for dry skin?
A. Mix well together one egg, two tablespoons castor oil, the juice of a lemon and one teaspoon pure glycerin. Massage lightly into the hair. Wear a shower cap and keep on for half an hour and then wash the hair. This suits very dry hair. Or, take one tablespoon pure almond oil, one egg yolk and two teaspoons pure glycerin. Mix together and apply. Wash hair after half an hour. If you do not wish to use egg, you can omit it. For dry skin, mix together two teaspoons choker (wheat bran) and egg yolk with one teaspoon each ground almonds, curd and honey. If you do not want to use egg, add more curd. Apply on the face once or twice a week, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash it off after 30 minutes.
Q2. I am 23 and have dark circles under my eyes. My mother has dark circles too. I heard that they can be hereditary. Is it true?
A. Along with hereditary factors, some other causes of dark under-eye circles are nutritional deficiencies, stress, inadequate sleep, sun-sensitivity, etc. As a home remedy, daily apply pure almond oil sparingly under eyes and massage it lightly on the skin, using only the ring finger, for one minute under each eye. Massage in one direction only. Leave on for 15 minutes and wipe off gently with moist cotton wool. You can also mix cucumber juice and potato juice in equal quantities. Apply under eyes daily for 20 minutes. Wash off with water. Before going out in the sun, apply a sunscreen lotion sparingly under the eyes. Add a drop of water to it before applying, to give a lighter coverage. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.
Q. I have dandruff. Does application of oil on the hair increase dandruff? How will I know whether my hair is oily or dry?
A. If the scalp is oily, the hair becomes limp soon after washing. It also needs frequent shampoo, although the ends of the hair can become dry and even acquire split ends. Sometimes, oil clogs the pores of the scalp and leads to dandruff. Apply a non-oily herbal hair tonic daily on the scalp and leave it on. Wash your hair with a mild herbal shampoo three or four times a week, using less shampoo and rinsing very well with water. Half an hour before shampoo, apply two tablespoons apple cider vinegar on the scalp, massaging it lightly into the scalp. Once a week, heat olive oil and apply on the scalp at night, using cotton wool. Rub gently to dislodge the flakes. Next morning, apply the juice of a lemon on the scalp and wash the hair after 15 minutes. 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 have it first thing in the morning.
Q. Please tell me some tips for hair growth and avoiding hair loss. I heard that applying coconut milk helps hair growth. Is it true?
A. It is said that applying coconut milk encourages hair growth. However, it is also important to establish the cause of hair loss, which can occur due to nutritional deficiencies, thyroid or hormonal imbalances, oily scalp, dandruff, stress and so on. If you wish you can apply coconut milk on the scalp, but avoid vigorous massage. Using only the finger tips, actually move the scalp in small circular movements. This helps to stimulate the hair follicles. Coconut milk would also nourish the hair. Diet is very important. Have a small bowl of sprouts daily. Include fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables, soyabean, curd, paneer in your diet. Ask your doctor if you require vitamin and mineral supplements.
Q. I have oily skin and lots of acne on my face. I have tried many things, without any use?
A. After washing the face, apply an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. Boil neem leaves over a low fire. Cool and strain. Make a paste of the leaves and apply daily on the face. Wash it off with plain water after half an hour. Mix cinnamon (dalchini) powder sandalwood paste with a little lemon juice and few drops of honey into a sticky paste. Apply only on the acne daily and leave on for at least one hour. 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. Avoid creams and moisturizers. Use only oil-free products.  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.