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

My hair is very dry. I am also losing hair. — Sara

Twice a week, heat pure coconut oil and apply it on your scalp and hair. Avoid massaging your scalp, if there is hair loss. Dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the towel around your head like a turban. Keep it on for five minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3 or 4 times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Use a mild herbal shampoo. Use less shampoo and rinse it off well with water. Apply very little leave-in conditioner or hair serum after shampooing your hair. Once a week, give your hair deep conditioning treatment. Mix together one egg, one tablespoon of pure almond oil, the juice of a lemon and one teaspoon of pure glycerine. Apply this on your hair. Wear a plastic shower cap and keep it on for an hour, before washing it. Diet is important for healthy hair. Eat a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, salads, leafy green vegetables, soy bean and curd in your diet. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.

How can I get rid of acne? — Thavaneswary

Wash your face twice a day, morning and night with a medicated soap. Then wipe it with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. Boil neem leaves in water over a low fire. Cool and strain the liquid. Make a paste of the neem leaves and apply it daily on your face. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes, before rinsing it off. Apply sandalwood paste daily on the acne and leave it on. Once daily, at any time, take two teaspoons of curd, add a pinch of turmeric and apply it on your entire face. Wash it off after 15 minutes.

Mix multani mitti with rose water, sandalwood paste and lemon juice into a paste and apply it on your face two or three times a week. Wash it off after it dries. Use only oil-free products. Include fresh fruits, 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. 

I have got dark patches on both my cheeks. I used a cream but it has helped to fully cure the condition. — Viji

Apply a sunscreen with a 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 the skin gently with tiny, circular movements. Leave it on for a few minutes and then wash 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 3 teaspoons of oatmeal with one teaspoon each of honey, curd and lemon juice, or egg white. Apply this on your face, avoiding the lips and area around the eyes. Wash it off after half an hour.

My hair is thin. What should I do to make it grow faster and thicker? — Lakshmi

The average rate of hair growth is half an inch per month. This may be influenced by hereditary factors. To improve volume, apply curd or egg half an hour before a shampoo wash. It helps add body to the hair. Henna treatments also have this result. Add 4 teaspoons each of lemon juice and coffee, 2 raw eggs and enough curd to henna powder and mix it into a thick paste. Apply this on your hair and wash it off after an hour. If you do not wish to use egg, add more curd.

Apply a herbal hair tonic daily on the scalp and leave it on. Apply pure coconut oil once a week, the night before you shampoo your hair. Eat a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, salads, leafy green vegetables and the required protein in your diet.

The area around my eyes is puffy. — Arelica

If the problem is chronic, consult a doctor first to ensure your kidneys and sinuses are functioning well. Seek dietary advice too. Do not leave make-up or cream on around your eyes at night. It can cause puffiness. Try these simple home remedies. Apply a compress of iced water or cold milk directly on your closed lids, leaving 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 and rest while you do this. Grated potatoes or potato juice, applied around your eyes will also help reduce puffiness. So do tea bags. Steep them in hot water, allow them to cool and use them as eye pads.

I have normal skin.  But it turns pink when exposed to the sun. I was told that using moisturiser when going out in the sun turns the skin pink. What should I use? — Hema

Your skin may be sensitive to the sun’s UV rays; that’s why it is turning pink.

Apply a sunscreen with SPF 15 or 20, 20 minutes before going out in the sun. Carry your sunscreen with you. If you stay out in the sun for long hours, then re-apply the sunscreen. Most sunscreen lotions have built-in moisturiser. So, applying a sunscreen helps moisturise it too.

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