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Updated: July 21, 2013 13:23 IST

Ask Shahnaz

Shahnaz Husain
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Pooja Chopra. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal
The Hindu
Pooja Chopra. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal

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

I have whiteheads all over my face. Suggest home remedies.Srilatha

Since the pores are not open, whiteheads are difficult to remove. Whiteheads should not be pinched with the nails to remove them. A proper cleansing routine is important, according to the skin type. The use of facial scrubs helps discourage whiteheads. Some home remedies may help. Make a paste of fenugreek (methi) leaves and apply it on the face daily, washing it off after an hour. Grated potato or potato juice may also be applied. 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. Drinking barley water is also believed to discourage whiteheads.

There is a one-inch dark area around my eyes and lips. What should I do to get rid of it?Sabina

Dark circles can be due to sun-sensitivity, nutritional deficiency, inadequate sleep or stress. Lightly massage the skin around your eyes with pure almond oil, using only the ring finger, for one minute under each eye. Massage in one direction only. Leave the oil on for 15 minutes and then wipe it off gently with moist cotton wool. You can also mix cucumber juice and potato juice in equal quantities and apply it under your eyes daily. Leave it on for 20 minutes, before washing it off. Apply sunscreen on your face before going out in the sun. For the area around the mouth, add a pinch of turmeric to curd and apply it daily only around your lips. Wash it off after 20 minutes.

I have curly, bushy hair. Is there a way to make it manageable and soft?Ruchira

Twice a week heat pure coconut oil and apply it on your hair. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around your head like a turban. Keep it on for five minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap three or four times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Use a mild herbal shampoo. Use just a little of it, taking care to rinse it off well. After a shampoo wash, lightly massage your hair with a small quantity of creamy hair conditioner. Leave it on for two minutes before rinsing it off. You can also apply a leave-in type of conditioner or hair serum. Apply it in the same way, but do not rinse it off. Or, mix some water with a creamy hair conditioner and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on your hair. Then comb your hair, so that it spreads through the hair.

I have had blackheads for more than 10 years. Is there a way to get rid of them?Pranita

You can go for clean-up to a beauty salon, where the blackheads will be extracted. 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 five minutes. Use a facial scrub three times a week on the blackhead-prone areas. Apply it on the areas with blackheads, rubbing the skin gently, using small circular movements. Leave it on for five minutes before washing it off.

I have dark patches on my face, especially below my cheeks. What should I do to have even skin tone?Gayathri

Apply a sunscreen with high SPF before going out in the sun. 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 it gently on the skin with tiny circular movements. Leave it on for a few minutes before washing 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 three 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.

What is the benefit of applying rose water on the face? Will it darken the skin?Priya

Rose water is believed to cool and tone the skin. It also improves blood circulation on the skin’s surface. It suits all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin. Due to its cooling effect, it is ideal for hot Indian summers and works as a skin freshener. Rose water can also be added to face packs and scrubs. It does not make the skin darker.

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