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

Suggest a remedy for blackheads.Renu

Blackheads occur on oily skin or oily areas of the skin. After washing your face in the morning, wipe the blackhead-prone areas with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. In the morning, after washing your face, make a paste of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and water. Apply the paste on the areas with blackheads daily and wash it off after 5 minutes. Use a facial scrub three times a week on the blackhead-prone areas. Buy a scrub, or mix rice powder with rose water or cold milk, and use it as a scrub. Apply it on the areas with blackheads, rubbing the skin gently, using small circular movements. Leave it on for five minutes and then wash it off. Or, mix oats with egg white and apply it on the affected areas twice a week. Wash it off after it dries.

My mother does not allow me to use shampoo or conditioner. I wash my hair with shikakai. What should I do to make my hair manageable, soft and silky?Laxmi

Conditioners make the hair soft and smooth. You can apply curd on your hair half-an-hour before washing it. This helps soften it. After washing your hair with shikakai, rinse it well. To add shine, give your hair a tea water-and-lemon rinse after a shampoo wash. Boil used tea leaves again in enough water. After boiling, you should have about 4 cups of tea water. Cool and strain the liquid. Then add the juice of a lemon and use it as a last rinse after a shampoo wash.

I am suffering from pigmentation for the past one-and-a-half years. What should I do to get rid of the problem?Sailaja

Apply a sunscreen with a high SPF before going out in the sun. Apply it 20 minutes before sun exposure. If you remain in the sun for long, re-apply the sunscreen. Mix rice powder with curd and use it as a facial scrub once or twice a week. Apply it only on the dark patches, rubbing the skin gently with tiny circular movements. Leave it on for a few minutes and then wash it off. Mix honey and lemon juice in equal quantities and apply it daily only on the dark patches. Wash it off after 15 minutes. Twice a week, apply a face mask. Mix 3 teaspoons of oatmeal with one teaspoon each of honey, curd and lemon juice, or egg white. Apply it on the entire face, avoiding the lips and the area around the eyes. Wash it off after half an hour.

During winter, I get dandruff and a rash on my forehead. Suggest a solution.Priya

Wash your hair with a mild herbal shampoo three times a week, using very little shampoo and rinsing it off well. Half-an-hour before a shampoo wash, massage your scalp lightly with two tablespoons of vinegar. Once a week, heat olive oil and apply it on the scalp at night. Leave it on overnight. The following morning, apply the vinegar as advised half-an-hour before a shampoo wash. Include fresh fruits, salads, sprouts and yoghurt 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. After washing your face, apply an astringent lotion using cotton wool on your forehead. Apply sandalwood paste daily on the rash.

My face gets very dry and rough in winter.Stuti

In winter, the skin loses moisture and it has to be replenished. Avoid soap; use a cleansing cream or gel instead. Apply a sunscreen before going out in the sun. Keep your face moisturised. At night, after cleansing your face, massage it for a few minutes with a nourishing cream or pure almond oil. Wipe off the excess cream/oil with moist cotton wool, before going to bed. If the skin still feels dry, apply a moisturising lotion. Apply a mixture of milk or egg yolk and honey once daily, at any time. Wash it off after 15 minutes. Massage your body before a bath with sesame seed oil or pure almond oil. Immediately after a bath, apply body lotion while the skin is still damp. This helps seal in the moisture.