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Updated: April 14, 2013 11:54 IST

Ask Shahnaz

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

I have shoulder length hair and want to grow it longer. — Arushi

The average rate of hair growth per month is half an inch. 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. Apply herbal hair tonic on the scalp daily, using cotton wool and leave on. Avoid massage. Part the hair in sections and apply on the scalp. Apply oil once a week the night before shampoo. If you like, you can apply olive oil or pure coconut oil.

My hair is curly. How can I straighten it without side effects? Karunesh

You can use a hand-held dryer at home to straighten the hair. The effect will last till the next shampoo. After washing the hair, while the hair is still damp, divide it in sections. Hold the end of a section with a comb or a brush. Holding it straight and slightly downwards, use the hand held dryer to dry the hair. Repeat this with each section. Hold the dryer at least six inches away from the hair. Please note that excessive use of the hair dryer can cause dryness of the hair.

Is dandruff a reason for hair turning grey? I have a layer of white on my scalp and ever since, my hair has been turning grey. How to avoid this? — Mona

No, dandruff is not the cause of hair greying. The white layer like thing is sticky or powdery form of dandruff. Apply non-oily herbal hair tonic on the scalp daily, using cotton wool and leave on. Avoid massage. Part the hair in sections and apply on the scalp. Wash your hair with a mild herbal shampoo four times a week, using less shampoo and rinsing very well with water. Half an hour before shampoo, apply two tablespoons vinegar on the scalp, massaging it lightly into the scalp. Once a week, heat olive oil or til oil and apply on the scalp at night, using cotton wool and rubbing gently to dislodge the dandruff. Leave on overnight. Next morning, apply the juice of a lemon on the scalp and wash 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.

Offer home solutions for dark circles under the eyes. Shashank

Some of the reasons for the formation of dark circles around the eyes are hereditary factors, nutritional deficiencies, stress, inadequate sleep and sun sensitivity. So, along with external care, you should check these aspects. As a home remedy, you can apply pure almond oil daily, sparingly (very little quantity), around the 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 the 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.

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