Ask Shahnaz

Beautician Shahnaz Husain offers tips and answers queries. Send your queries to

 Suggest tips for skin care before and after swimming. Pradeep

If one swims in an open pool, sun exposure is a problem. Besides getting tanned, sunlight together with chlorine in the pool can make the skin dry. Apply a waterproof sunscreen lotion on the face and exposed areas 20 minutes before swimming. If the skin gets easily sun burnt, apply a sunscreen with a high SPF of 30 or 40. After a swim, take a shower and apply a body lotion while the skin is still damp. This helps seal in moisture. Massage the skin daily with sesame seed oil before a bath.

What should I do for a glowing complexion and how can dark circles be reduced?Lakshmi

Lightly massage the area around your eyes daily with a bit of olive oil, using only your ring finger for a minute. Massage in one direction only. Leave the oil on for 15 minutes, before wiping it off gently with moist cotton wool. Mix cucumber juice and potato juice in equal quantities. Apply this under your eyes daily for 20 minutes, before washing it off. For glowing skin, use chilled rose water as a toner daily. Dip cotton wool pads in it and wipe your face. Also pat the skin briskly. Use a facial scrub twice a week. Mix ground almonds with curd and apply it on your face, rubbing the skin gently with small circular movements. Then, wash it off.

How can I remove scars and pimple marks from face?Kizer

Mix rice powder with curd and use it as a facial scrub once or twice a week. Apply it on your face, rubbing the skin gently with tiny circular movements, especially on the dark spots. Leave it on for a few minutes, before washing it off. Mix honey and lemon juice in equal quantities and apply this mixture daily on your face. Wash 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 entire face, avoiding the lips and the area around your eyes. Wash it off after half an hour.

I want to improve my complexion. Also, how can I keep the skin free of pollution and dust?Varsha

The skin should be cleansed twice a day to remove impurities. Cleansing at night is most important. For dry skin, use a cleansing gel containing ingredients like aloe vera. For oily and problem skin, use a cleansing lotion, gel or medicated cleanser. Use a facial scrub twice a week. Mix one teaspoon each of honey and lemon juice and apply it daily on your face, at any time. Wash it off after 20 minutes. Or, take two teaspoons of curd, add a pinch of turmeric and apply it daily, the same way. Wash it off after 20 minutes with plenty of water. It helps lighten the skin colour over a period of time.

My face looks dull and oily. My hands too look dark.Nithya

After washing your face, apply an astringent lotion. Cucumber juice also has an astringent effect and reduces oiliness. Apply it daily on your face, washing it off after 15 minutes. Apply a facial scrub two or three times a week. Rub it gently on your skin, especially on the darker areas of your face. Mix multani mitti with rose water and lemon juice into a paste and apply it daily. Wash it off after it dries. For the hands, massage the skin daily with sesame seed oil. Mix Bengal gram flour with curd and a pinch of turmeric into a paste. Apply it on your hands three times a week, washing it off after half an hour.

My eyebrows have lost shape due to over-plucking. Suggest tips that will help my eyebrows grow and get back their shape?Rajitha

Castor oil is said to encourage the growth of eyebrows. Apply castor oil daily, using a cotton bud. If you pluck your eyebrows, pluck one hair at a time with a tweezer. Do not pluck above the brows and avoid plucking too much from the ends. Meanwhile, you can use an eyebrow pencil and make short feathery strokes to get a better brow shape.