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

How can I prepare shampoo and conditioner for a normal to dry scalp at home?Dhivya

Take one handful each of dry reetha, shikakai and amla. Add them to one litre of water and allow them to soak overnight. The next day, simmer the herbs on a low fire, till the water reduces to half. Cool the mixture and strain it through a clean cloth. Use the liquid to wash your hair. This quantity is enough for four washes. Keep your homemade hair cleanser in the refrigerator. Make small quantities at a time. Large quantities should not be kept over a long period of time. For conditioning, aloe vera gel may be applied on the hair and washed off with water after 20 minutes. Beer also conditions the hair. Add the juice of a lemon and pour over the hair after a shampoo wash. Rinse it off after 2 minutes.

I am beginning to develop bags under my eyes.Nalini

First, consult a doctor to ensure that your kidneys and sinuses are functioning well. Seek dietary advice too. Do not leave make-up or cream on around your eyes at night when you sleep. It can lead to puffiness around the eyes. Try some simple home remedies. Apply an iced water or a cold milk compress directly over your closed lids and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Or soak cotton wool pads in chilled rose water and let them rest beneath your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. Lie down while you do this. Apply potato juice around your eyes, Or steep tea bags in hot water, allow them to cool and use them as eye pads.

I wash my face often, apply a fairness cream and compact powder. But after some time, my face looks dark and oily. Rashmi

After cleansing your face, apply an astringent lotion with cotton wool. Use a facial scrub twice a week. Mix multani mitti with rose water into a paste and apply it daily on your face. Wash it off after it dries. It will help reduce oiliness. Carry wet tissues and compact powder to refresh the skin during the day.

Suggest suitable tummy reduction exercises?Sathya

After consulting your doctor, do the following exercises daily for the abdomen (tummy). Lie on the floor on your back, with your feet together and arms at the sides. Lift your legs about six inches above the ground and hold this position for a count of ten. Then lower your legs to the floor. Repeat this exercise 3 or 4 times, gradually increasing the number of repetitions.

For the second exercise, keep lying on the floor, the same way. Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Raise your body to a half-sitting position, stretch your arms out in front of you. Lower your body to the floor and repeat this exercise 3 or 4 times.

My upper lip is darker than my lower lip.Archana

Add a few drops of lemon juice to cream of milk and apply it daily on your upper lip. Leave it on for an hour. Apply pure almond oil daily on your upper lip at night and leave it on overnight. You can also look for a lip balm with sunscreen. First apply brown lipstick on your lower lip and then apply the colour of your choice on both lips.

I have very dry skin. I use a branded moisturiser on my face. My also have pimples which leave marks on my cheeks.Priya

Pimples usually occur on oily skin. So, you may be having normal to oily skin or combination skin. Avoid applying a moisturiser on pimple-prone areas. Wash your face twice a day, in the morning and night with a medicated soap. Then wipe it with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. Mix cinnamon powder with a little lemon juice and a few drops of honey into a sticky paste. Apply the paste only on the pimples daily and leave it on for one or two hours. For dryness, mix one teaspoon each of honey and lemon juice and apply it on your face. Wash it off after 15 minutes. Mix multani mitti with rose water and lemon juice into a paste and apply it on your face two or three times a week. Wash it off after it dries.