Shahnaz Husain

The run up to Diwali is just a week away and our preparations in terms of gifts, diyas and sweets are already rolling. The days running up to Diwali are more hectic than wedding season in terms of cleaning, shopping, house decoration etc.  which generally dampens your mood leaving looking exhausted, tired and dull at the end of the day.

Diwali involves joy, celebrations, family dinner and a whole lot of great excitement. As we immerse ourselves in the festivities, women and men set to   sparkle brighter than the fireworks and shine more than the diyas to look perfect this Diwali.

Most of us seek quick solutions to fix our beauty woes and tend to laden up the skin with numerous varieties of chemical laden costly cosmetics to look natural, youthful and evergreen. As you indulge in family gatherings and step out to celebrate, it’s time to get radiant glow with organic homemade ingredients for Diwali which is an absolute favourite with most Indians.

Here are a few simple tips to shine brighter than the festive lights from the comfort of your home:

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, you need to keep your 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 skin tonic, using cotton wool. During the day, use a sunscreen, before going out in the sun. Or, use moisturizer, 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. Yet, if you apply any cream to the skin, it can get pimples. To moisturise oily skin, mix one teaspoon pure glycerine with 100 ml of rose water. Keep it in an airtight jar in the fridge. Use a little of this lotion after cleansing. This moisturizes the skin, without making it oily. Use cleansing milk or face wash to cleanse the skin.

The use of facial scrubs helps to brighten the skin and add a glow. Use facial scrub twice a week. Mix ground almonds (badaam) 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. Choose a sunscreen lotion or cream, depending on your skin type. You should also look for day creams or night creams and serums.

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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, get the gel, found in the inner portion of the leaves, and apply on the face to moisturize 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. It suits normal to dry skin. Applying mayonnaise or egg yolk on the skin also helps to relieve dryness. And it even 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 hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for 5 minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap three to four times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better.

Egg white is a wonderful natural cleanser for oily hair. Apply egg white on the hair about half-an-hour before washing your hair with 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 becomes 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 3 tablespoons of rose water with one tablespoon each glycerine 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 twenty minutes, before washing the hair. It will provide your hair a shiny look.

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.

Padma Shri Ms Shahnaz Husain is an internationally acclaimed beauty expert and is popular as the herbal queen of India.

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