Ask Shahnaz

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Beautician Shahnaz Hussain offers tips and answers queries. You can send your queries to

Can papaya be used as a face pack to lighten complexion? — Preethi

Ripe papaya pulp can be applied on the face. It is said to lighten skin colour and have a cleansing effect. You can also mix together cucumber and papaya pulp. Add a little lemon juice to the mixture. Apply it like a face pack three or four times a week. Wash it off after 20 minutes.

I have dandruff and lice due to which I am losing a lot of hair. — Gayu

Apply vinegar on the hair and the scalp. After half an hour, comb your hair with a fine lice comb and take out the nits (eggs) by hand. Vinegar loosens the nits, making them easier to remove. Wash your hair, using less shampoo and rinsing it well with water. Add two tbsp of vinegar, using it as a last rinse. Then run the lice comb through your hair. Do this daily for a week. It will relieve both problems. Weekly henna treatments will also help. Add 4 tsp each of lemon juice and coffee, 2 raw eggs, one tsp of methi seed powder, 2 tsp of oil and enough “tea water” to the henna powder, mixing it into a thick paste. Tea water can be made by boiling used tea leaves again in enough water, and then cooling and straining the liquid. Apply the henna on your hair and wash it off after an hour.

I have oily skin and pimples. Suggest a remedy. — Divya

Wash your face only twice a day with a medicated soap. After washing, wipe your skin with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. In the morning, after washing, mix a little rose water with sandalwood paste and apply it on your face. Wash it off after 15 minutes with plain water. Once daily, at any time, mix one tsp each of honey and lemon juice and apply the mixture on your face. Wash it off after20 minutes with plenty of water. Mix cinnamon powder with a little lemon juice and a few drops of honey into a paste. Apply it only on the pimples and leave it on for a few hours. Include fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts and yoghurt in your daily diet. 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.

My hair is curly and the shape of a cut is not retained. — Siva

Home remedies will not straighten your hair. However, you can use a leave-on conditioner. Apply very little of it, lightly massaging it into your hair. Then comb your hair into the desired style. Or, use a hand-held dryer to straighten your hair. The effect will last till the next shampoo. After washing your hair, while it is still damp, divide it into sections. Hold the end of a section with a comb or brush. Holding it straight and slightly downwards, use a hand held dryer to dry the hair. Repeat this with each section. Hold the dryer at least 6 inches away from your hair. Note that excessive use of a hair dryer can make your hair dry.

Suggest a home-made pack that will make my face glow, but without making it oily. — Swagatika

Twice a week, mix together one tsp of curd, one tsp of honey, and 4 tsp of oatmeal and egg white. Apply this on your face, avoiding the lips and the area around eyes. Wash it off after 20 to 30 minutes. Oatmeal will be available in grocery stores. It is used for making porridge. Mix the liquid ingredients gradually to get the right consistency. It should be a thick paste, which does not drip.

How do I find out my skin type? — Nikita

When you wake up in the morning, wipe your face with a tissue, before washing or cleansing it. If the tissue is clean, you have normal to dry skin. If the tissue becomes greasy, you have normal to oily skin. Use different tissues for different areas, wiping the forehead, nose and chin with one tissue and using another to wipe the cheeks. This will help determine whether you have combination skin.




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