By Shahnaz Husain
The festive season is here again! Soon it will be Diwali. Start taking care of the skin and hair a few weeks before. Night-time cleansing is an absolute must, especially for city dwellers. Chemical air pollutants, dirt and grime hang in the air. They are potent skin irritants. Make-up should also be removed at night. All these can cause dryness of the skin, or disrupt the normal acid-alkaline balance of the skin, leading to rashes and other eruptive conditions, like pimples and acne.
As Diwali approaches, the weather also changes. Seasonal changes also influence the skin. The humidity becomes less and the skin loses moisture to the atmosphere. So, one needs to keep the skin moisturised and also protect it from sun-exposure.
For normal to dry skin, cleanse twice a day, with a cleansing gel containing ingredients like aloe vera. Massage the cleanser lightly into the skin and remove it with moist cotton wool. Then apply rose water or a skin tonic using cotton wool. During the day, use a sunscreen before going out in the sun. Or, use a moisturiser if you are indoors. Moisturisers are available in cream and liquid form. For dry skin, at night, after cleansing, apply a nourishing cream and massage it on the face. Wipe off with moist cotton wool. You can apply a serum afterwards.
Oily skins also need moisture. But, if you apply creams, you can get pimples. To moisturise oily skin, mix one teaspoon pure glycerin with 100 ml rose water. Keep it in an airtight jar in the fridge. Use a little of this lotion after cleansing. This moisturises the skin, without making it oily. Use a cleansing milk or face-wash to cleanse the skin.
The use of facial scrubs helps to brighten the skin and add a glow. Use a facial scrub twice a week. Mix ground almonds or rice powder with curd and a pinch of haldi. You can also add dried and powdered orange and lemon peels. Apply on the face and rub gently on the skin with small circular movements. Then wash off with water.
Apply a sunscreen before going out in the sun. So, you can look for a sunscreen lotion or cream, depending on your skin type. You should also look for day creams, nourishing or night creams and serums.
As Diwali and winter approach, try some home remedies to relieve dryness. Apply honey on the face daily for 10 minutes and wash off with water. If you have an aloe vera plant at home, the gel found in the inner portion of the leaves can be applied on the face to moisturise it.
Grate carrots and apply on the face for 15 to 20 minutes. Carrot is rich in Vitamin A and good for nourishing the skin in winter. It suits all skin types.
Mix half a teaspoon honey, one teaspoon rose water and one teaspoon dried milk powder. Mix into a paste and apply on the face. Remove after 20 minutes with water. Suits normal to dry skin. Applying mayonnaise or egg yolk on the skin also helps to relieve dryness. Suits dry skin.
Nourish the hair with oil treatments once or twice a week. Heat olive oil and apply on the scalp and hair. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for five minutes. Repeat three-four times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better.
Egg white is a wonderful natural cleanser for oily hair and its protein content helps to add body. Apply egg white on the hair about half-an-hour before your shampoo. To nourish dry hair, massage egg yolk or mayonnaise into the scalp. Leave it on for half an hour and then wash the hair. It helps to soften the hair and is very useful for hair that has suffered damage through colouring, straightening or perming.
If you have been working hard just before Diwali, a few “pick-me-up” tips will help. Give yourself a manicure and pedicure the day before. In fact, after soaking the hands and feet in warm water, massage with a rich cream, so that the skin is smooth and soft. A good pick-me-up treatment for the hands is to rub them with sugar and lemon juice. Pay attention to details like waxing and threading too, at least a day in advance.
A pick-me-up face mask can leave your skin clean and glowing. Cleanse the skin. Mix honey with egg white and apply it on the face. Wash off with water after 20 minutes. For those with very dry skin, mix half a teaspoon honey, egg yolk or pure almond oil and one teaspoon dried milk powder. Mix into a paste and apply on the face. Leave it on for half an hour and rinse off with water. After washing off the pack, give the skin a compress with cotton wool pads soaked in rose water.
For hands and nails, mix almond oil and honey in equal parts and massage into the nails and cuticles. Leave on for 15 minutes and wipe off with a moist towel. Mix together three tablespoons of rose water with one tablespoon each glycerin and lemon juice. Apply on hands and feet and leave for half an hour. Wash off with plain water.
If your hair is looking dull give it a quick conditioning treatment before your shampoo. Mix one teaspoon each of vinegar and honey with one egg. Beat them together well. Massage the mixture into the scalp. Then wrap the hair in a hot towel for 20 minutes, before washing. Your hair will have more body and look shiny and manageable.
Give your hair a tea-water and lemon rinse after shampoo, to add shine. Boil used tea leaves again in enough water. After boiling, you should have about 4 cups of tea-water. Cool and strain it. Then add the juice of a lemon and use it as a last rinse after shampoo.
(Shahnaz Husain is a noted beauty expert who promotes herbal remedies. The views expressed are personal)