B eautician Shahnaz Husain offers suggestions and answers queries. Send your queries to askshahnaz@gmail.com

I never leave my hair open, because it is dry and difficult to manage. Also it doesn’t grow very long. Suggest some remedies. — Anjali

The average rate of hair growth, lengthwise, is half an inch per month. If the hair is curly or frizzy, the growth may not show that much. Apply a leave-in conditioner or hair serum to make it manageable. Or, mix some water with a creamy hair conditioner and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the hair. Then comb your hair, so that it spreads throughout. Twice a week, heat coconut oil and apply it. Then immerse a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water, and tie the hot towel around your head, like a turban. Keep it on for five minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap three or four times. Use a mild herbal shampoo. Use very little shampoo and ensure your rinse it off well. After a shampoo wash, apply a creamy conditioner, taking very little of it and massaging it lightly into the hair. Leave it on for two minutes before rinsing it off.

My brother is 26, with a dark complexion and oily skin. What can he do to lighten the colour of his skin?

— Roopam

After cleansing the skin, he should apply an astringent lotion. Or he could mix cucumber juice and lemon juice in equal quantities and apply it daily on the face. It should be washed off after 15 minutes. This will help to lighten the skin colour too. A facial scrub should be used twice a week. It should be applied on the face and gently rubbed on the skin with small circular movements, and then washed off. A paste comprising multani mitti, rose water and lemon juice could be applied on the face three times a week. Wash it off after it dries. It reduces oiliness and also lightens the skin colour.

Suggest a suitable skincare routine? — Pratesha

You should look after the skin according to the skin type and individual problems. Buy products for cleansing, toning, moisturising accordingly. If the skin is dry, apply a nourishing cream daily at night, massaging it on the face with slightly upward and outward movements. Wipe it off with moist cotton wool. Include fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts and yogurt in your diet. Drink plenty of water, have adequate sleep, and exercise regularly after consulting your doctor.

Suggest a remedy for painful heels. — Archana

Apply almond oil daily before a bath. Immediately afterwards, massage your skin while it is still damp with cream. Apart from daily care, try this intensive treatment for a week. At night, before bedtime, soak your feet in warm water for 15 minutes, after adding some salt. Then scrub your heels with a pumice stone or heel scrubber. Avoid metal scrubbers. Then massage your feet with cream. Apply it generously on the heels and bandage them with a clean cloth. Wear cotton socks before going to sleep. This helps soften the skin. Do this every night for one week and see the difference.

My scalp is quite oily and I am losing a lot of hair. Recommend a suitable shampoo and oil. — Rashmi

Having oily hair and an oily scalp can lead to hair loss. Apply a non-oily herbal hair tonic on the scalp daily, using cotton wool, and leave it on. Avoid having a massage. Part the hair into sections and apply it on the scalp. Avoid oil application. Wash your hair three or four times a week, with a herbal shampoo, using very little shampoo. Rinse it off well. Only one application of shampoo is enough. After a shampoo wash, add the juice of a lemon to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse. Apply egg white on the hair 15 minutes before a shampoo wash. It helps reduce oiliness. Diet is very important. Have a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, salads, green leafy vegetables, soyabean and curd in your diet. Drink six to eight glasses of water daily.