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Updated: March 9, 2012 11:16 IST

Ask Shahnaz

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Diana Hayden Photo: PTI
Diana Hayden Photo: PTI

Beautician Shahnaz Husain offers tips and answers queries. Send your queries to

Suggest remedies for a fair and radiant complexion.Roopam

Use a facial scrub twice a week. Either buy a scrub or mix rice powder with curd and use it. Apply it on the face, rubbing the skin gently with small circular movements. Leave it on for five minutes, before washing it off. Do not apply the scrub on pimples, acne or rash. Mix one teaspoon each of honey and lemon juice and apply it daily on your face, at any time. Wash it off after 20 minutes. Twice a week, apply a face mask. Mix three teaspoons of oats 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.

Over the last four months, I have developed warts on my face and near my neck. What should I do to get rid of them?Salma

Some warts are caused by a virus and spread easily. A wart should never be picked with the nails. It is best to refer it to a dermatologist, or try homeopathic treatment. As far as home remedies are concerned, it is believed that applying vinegar on the warts daily causes them to eventually fall out. Apply it only on the warts, using cotton wool. Onions are also said to help. Soak cut onions in water overnight. The following morning apply the water on the areas with warts.

After washing the hair with hard water it becomes rough and difficult to comb. Suggest remedies to soften it as well as to reduce hair loss.Smitha

Use very little shampoo when you wash your hair. Take one teaspoon of shampoo for long hair and half-a-teaspoon for short hair. Dilute the shampoo with a little water before applying it. One application of shampoo is enough. For hard water, you can add a little alum to a bucket of water. Also, after a shampoo wash, add two tablespoons of vinegar to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse. It will restore the normal acid-alkaline balance. You can also use very little leave-in conditioner or hair serum on the hair to soften it. Apply it on the hair and not on the scalp. Diet is very important. Have a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, salads, leafy green vegetables, soya bean and curd in your diet. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.

My skin is becoming very dry. I have changed my soap. Could that be the reason?Lavanya

Massage your skin with olive oil or mustard oil before a bath. You can use a soap-free body shampoo or shower gel for bathing. Or, try using a glycerine soap that’s mild. Avoid very hot water. Immediately after a bath, apply body lotion while the skin is still damp. This helps seal in the moisture.

What should I do to have soft and silky hair? Rumana

If your hair is dry, then heat pure coconut oil and apply it twice a week. Dip a towel in hot water and do the hot towel wrap (mentioned in previous columns). Use a mild herbal shampoo. After a shampoo wash, apply a creamy conditioner. Take very little of it and massage it lightly into the hair. Leave it on for two minutes before rinsing it off. Or, apply a leave-in type of conditioner or hair serum. Apply it the same way, but do not rinse it off. If the hair is oily, give the hair a tea-water-cum-lemon rinse after a shampoo wash. Boil used tea leaves again in enough water. After boiling, you should have about 5 cups of tea water. Cool and strain the liquid. Then add the juice of a lemon and use it as the last rinse after a shampoo wash.

My hair has turned grey prematurely. Is there any way to conceal the grey strands without using dye?Fathima

The exact causes of premature greying are not known. Hair that has already turned grey will not become dark, except by colouring/dyeing. Amla is said to check greying. Try drinking the juice of one raw amla daily, after adding it to a glass of water. You can also add amla to henna powder. However, henna turns white hair reddish brown. Soak a handful of dry amla in about 2 to 3 cups of water overnight. The following morning, strain the water, but do not throw the water away. Grind the amla. To the henna powder, add the ground amla, 4 teaspoons each of lemon juice and coffee, 2 raw eggs, 2 teaspoons of oil and enough amla water, so that the henna mixes into a thick paste. Allow the paste to stand for two to three hours and then apply it on the hair, ensuring that the entire head is covered. Keep it on for at least two hours before washing it off. Ask your doctor to prescribe Vitamins B-Complex and C.

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