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Updated: February 27, 2011 19:15 IST

Ask Shahnaz

Shahnaz Husain
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Beautician Shahnaz Husain offers tips and answers queries. Send your queries to askshahnaz@gmail.com

I apply hair dye, and have developed dark patches on my face. Please suggest some home remedies. — Mallika 

You should apply a sunscreen with high SPF before going out in the sun. Mix rice powder with curd and use as a facial scrub once or twice a week. Apply only on the dark patches and rub gently using tiny circular movements. Leave on for a few minutes and wash off with water. Mix honey and lemon juice in equal quantities and apply on the dark patches every day. Wash off after 15 minutes with plain water. Twice a week, apply a face mask, made using three teaspoons of oatmeal and one teaspoon each of honey, curd and lemon juice, or egg white. Apply on the entire face, avoiding the lips and the area around the eyes. Wash off after half an hour.

I have whiteheads. Please suggest a home remedy. — Rakesh

A proper cleansing routine, according to the skin type, is important to tackle whiteheads. Facial scrubs help discourage white heads. If the skin is very dry, use the scrub only once a week and only only on the areas with whiteheads. For oily skin, scrubs can be used more often. But, scrubs should not be applied on pimples, acne or rash. As for home remedies, make a paste of fenugreek (methi) leaves and apply on the face every day, washing off after an hour. Grated potato or potato juice can also be applied. Drink six to eight glasses of water every day. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and drink it first thing in the morning. Drinking barley water is also said to help control whiteheads.

I have warts on my face. How can I remove them? — Rafi

Some warts are caused by a virus, and spread easily. Avoid picking warts with your nails. It may be better to consult a dermatologist, or go in for homeopathic treatment. As far as home remedies are concerned, you can try applying vinegar on the warts, every day. It is said that this causes them to fall out. Apply it only on the wart, using cotton wool. It is also said that onions help. Soak cut onions in water, overnight. The next morning, apply the water on the face.

Please suggest some home remedies for silky hair. — Ayshu

You can rinse your hair with tea-water and lemon after shampooing. Re-boil used tea leaves in enough water so that you get about four cups of water. Cool and strain, and add the juice of a lemon to it. Use this as the last rinse after shampooing. This helps add shine. A hair pack made from ground dal (lentils) is said to cleanse the hair and make it silky. Soak a cup of lentils in water, overnight. The next day, grind it into a paste and apply on the hair, washing off an hour. This also adds body. Egg white applied on the hair half-an-hour before shampooing helps make oily hair silky and shiny.

How can I prepare hibiscus oil at home? — Arun

Hibiscus essential oil is obtained by a process of distillation, for which you need knowledge and equipment. To prepare hibiscus hair oil, add dried and powdered hibiscus flower to pure coconut oil or olive oil. Sun it for about 15 days and then use. Or, you can prepare hot or cold infusions from hibiscus flowers and leaves. For hot infusions, add the flowers and leaves to boiling water and let them stand for 10 hours. Strain, cool and apply the liquid on the scalp, or use as a last rinse after shampooing. For cold infusions, let the flowers and leaves stand overnight in cold water, in a ratio of one to six. Squeeze the flowers and strain before use. Use it to wash the hair and scalp, or apply on the scalp. Infusions, or the juice of hibiscus flowers, can be added to henna and applied on the hair as a hair pack.

What is the right time to exercise? Is there anything we need to take note of and follow pre and post exercise? — Abinaya

Early morning, after a good night's sleep, would be a good time to exercise. You can also exercise in the evening, or any other time of day, but only if you are not tired. One should not exercise immediately after a meal and just before bedtime. You should wear clothes that you are comfortable in, such as leotards, track suits, loose t-shirt and tights. Cotton clothes are better, because they allow perspiration to evaporate. Consult a doctor before starting any exercise programme. Stop exercising if you experience any pain, shortness of breath, or any other discomfort. Warming up and cooling down are essential before and after exercising. Stretching exercises can be done for warming up, while a walk may be useful for cooling down.  

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