Beautician Shahnaz Hussain offers tips and answers queries.

Give me information about sprouts. — Arun

Sprouts are germinated grains, beans, lentils and seeds. They are the richest source of naturally occurring vitamins and contain amino acids, minerals and enzymes. Including sprouts in the daily diet can help improve the health of your hair. You may get sprouted lentils (dals) and peas from health food or grocer’s shops. You can also grow them at home. Wheat, kala chana, kabuli chana, dals (like green mung), soya beans, rajma, etc. can be germinated. Take a handful each of kala chana and green mung. Wash them well. Keep them separate because their germination time is different. Soak them overnight in water. The next day, wash them again and tie each lot in a clean wet cloth. Whenever the cloth dries, wet it with a little water. The next day, follow the same procedure. Do this daily. In three days, you will see tiny shoots. Repeat the procedure till the shoots are about half an inch long. The sprouted grains can be eaten. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to make them tasty. Or add them to salads.

What should I do to have smooth and silky hair? — Abhi

If your hair is dry, use a creamy conditioner after shampooing your hair. Apply very little shampoo and massage it lightly into your 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 it a tea-water-and-lemon rinse after a shampoo wash. Boil used tea leaves again in enough water. After boiling, you should have about four cups of the liquid. Cool and strain it. Then add the juice of a lemon and use it as a last rinse after a shampoo wash.

The skin below my lips on both sides of my face is red. Is there a way to make frizzy hair smooth, especially after a shampoo wash? — Madhu

The redness may be an allergic or other dermatological condition, needing medical attention. For frizzy hair, use a mild shampoo. Use very little shampoo and rinse it off well. Then, lightly massage a creamy conditioner into your hair. Leave it on for two minutes, before rinsing it off. Do not rinse off all the conditioner. Leaving a little on keeps the hair soft and improves its appearance. Or, mix some water with hair conditioner and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on your hair and then comb it, so that it spreads through the hair. Avoid hot water. After a shampoo wash, avoid rubbing your hair. Just wrap a towel around your head and let it absorb the water.

I want to remove body hair. Is waxing advisable or is there an alternative? — Prema

Waxing is the best option. Both hot and cold wax are available, but beauty parlours commonly use a mixture of hot sugar and lemon. While waxing can be done at home, it is better to have it done at a parlour, by a trained person. Waxing is said to gradually lessen hair growth. If you wish, try an epilator for the arms and legs. It can be done at home, but should not be used for facial hair.

After removing nail polish, my nails appear yellow. Is there any way of getting rid of this discoloration? — Jyoti

Some colours react on sun exposure and leave a yellowish tinge on the nails. To get rid of it, scrape the surface of the nail with the fine-grained side of an emery board. To avoid yellowing of nails, use a clear, transparent nail polish as a top coat after applying nail polish. Make a solution of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and water. Soak your nails in this daily for five minutes. You can apply sunscreen on your nails too, just like you apply it on your hands and arms for protection from UV rays.

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