Ask Shahnaz

Beautician Shahnaz Hussain offers tips and answers queries. Send your queries to >

I’ve heard that a mixture of kaththa powder and henna if applied on the hair gives it a rich colour. Can I use it? I am 20. Can I start using a night cream? — Dhivya

“Kaththa” is catechu, which is generally applied on “paan.” If it is genuine “kaththa” powder, you can mix it with henna. Add 4 tsp of lemon juice, 2 eggs, 2 tsp of oil and tea water. Tea water can be made by boiling used tea leaves again in enough water and then straining and cooling the liquid. You have not mentioned your skin type. Night creams should be used by people with dry skin. If you have oily or combination skin, it can lead to clogged pores and pimples.

When I apply conditioner I lose a lot of hair. If I apply oil, it gets too sticky. I have very thin hair. Suggest a simple conditioner that will not change the colour of my hair. — Kajal

Your hair may be oily. If so, avoid using a conditioner. Use a hair rinse instead. Wash your hair three times a week, using less shampoo and rinsing it well with water. After shampooing your hair add the juice of a lemon to half a mug of water and use it as a last rinse. Heat olive oil and apply it once a week at night, leaving it on overnight. Wash your hair the next morning. Apply the juice of a lemon on your scalp, washing your hair after half an hour. Weekly henna treatments will help. Have a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, salads, leafy green vegetables and yoghurt in your daily diet.

I have a round face. Will a bob cut suit me? — Sumati

A round face requires a style that will make it look longer. A straight hairstyle, with a centre parting would help. Avoid styles that add width at the ear level. Keep the forehead free of fringes and curls. Hair falling straight to shoulder level would be good. A bob may make your face look rounder. You can grow it slightly longer and let it fall to your shoulders in layers. The layers should begin below chin level.

I am losing hair because I have dandruff. — Bharath

Wash your hair with a mild herbal shampoo three or four times a week, using less shampoo and rinsing it off well with water. Half an hour before shampooing your hair, lightly massage two tbsp of vinegar on your scalp. Take only half a tsp of shampoo; dilute it with a little water and then apply it. Only one application is enough. Once a week, heat olive or til oil, and apply it on your scalp at night. Leave it on overnight. Next morning, apply the vinegar (as advised) half an hour before shampooing your hair. 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 have it first thing in the morning. Ask your doctor to prescribe Vitamin C and B-Complex.

My hair becomes oily just a day after I wash it. So I do not apply any oil. My hair is also turning brown. — Ramya

Apply only a little shampoo when you wash your hair. Once a week, mix one tsp each of castor oil and coconut oil and apply it at night on your hair. Leave it on overnight. The next morning, apply the juice of a lemon on your scalp, and wash your hair after half an hour. After shampooing it, add the juice of a lemon to half a mug of water and use it as a last rinse. It will reduce oiliness. Protect your hair from the sun with a scarf or dupatta. Have a small bowl of sprouts daily.

My mother suffers from puffiness around her eyes. What should she do to get rid of it? — Aarti

If the problem is chronic, your mother should consult a doctor to ensure that her kidneys and sinuses are functioning well. She should seek dietary advice too. Cream should not be left on around the eyes at night when she sleeps. She can try these simple home remedies. Apply a compress of iced water or cold milk directly on her closed lids and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Or soak cotton wool pads in chilled rose water and let them rest beneath the eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. Grated potatoes or potato juice, applied around the eyes also helps reduce puffiness. So do tea bags. Steep them in hot water, allow them to cool and use them as eye pads.

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