The glamour industry is bursting with unique skin and hair breakthroughs and new colours of the season that can easily sweep you off your feet. But I believe that each one of us needs to step back in time in order to move ahead. The purity and goodness of natural ingredients can never lose their allure and they are beckoning you like never before and offering a completely natural makeover this year. To help you along, I have some handy tips for you to refer to as the seasons go...
Nows the time for those with dry skin to bring on the almond, apricot and sandalwood oils. These provide vitamin E in natural form to nourish the skin. Mix them in equal quantities and massage small amounts on your skin. Wipe off after an hour. Do this daily.
For patchy and lacklustre skin theres nothing better than a smooth paste made with 2 tsp powdered almonds, 1 tsp fresh cream and 4-5 mashed figs. Massage this on the skin gently in rotating movements for about 10 minutes. Wash off with tepid water. Do this on alternate days for exfoliated, glowing skin.
For oily skin, make a paste with 2 tsp orange peel powder, 1 tsp almond powder, 1 tsp oatmeal, 1 tsp honey and a little rose water. Scrub gently for about 10 minutes and washoff with cold water. This will leave the skin exfoliated. Do it on alternate days.
Treat combination skin like two individual skin types. Apply a little almond oil to the areas under eyes, cheeks and neck. Clean the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) with rose water. Mix the following for a face mask — 3 mashed figs, 1 tsp whole wheat flour, juice of half a lemon, 1 tsp honey and 1 egg. Scrub gently onto the face and neck. Wash after 10 minutes. Do this on alternate days for effective exfoliation.
To clear dandruff, oil your hair with pure coconut oil and apply the juice of one lemon twice a week. Follow up with turban therapy, by wringing out a towel in hot water and wrapping it around your head to steam it. Wash off with a mild shampoo after two hours. Make a softening hair conditioning pack with
2 tsp each of amla powder, shikakai powder, fenugreek powder, liquorice powder and 2 eggs. Apply this from the root to the ends. Leave on for at least an hour before shampooing.
In winter, the knees, buttocks, thighs and elbows start showing signs of neglect and dryness. An instant cure will come courtesy this portion: mix 4 tbs of sea salt with 5 tbs olive oil and 5 drops of sandalwood oil or lemon essential oil and scrub these areas to uncover soft skin instantly.
If you think that your skin doesnt need moisturising in spring and summer, think again. The strong sun tends to make the skin dry and dull. And a mix of sandalwood oil and almond oil never fails to moisturise gently.
If you have sunburn or a bad tan, leave 2 watermelon slices in the freezer for 20 minutes. Dip this in 4 tsp of honey and massage all over the face and neck, leave on for five minutes and wash off with cold water.
For soft, supple hands, apply the following hand pack — 2 tsp oatmeal, 1 tsp sandalwood powder, 1 egg, 1 tsp honey, 1tsp lemon powder. Mix all the ingredients to form a thick paste and apply on the hands with special attention to the knuckles. Leave on for 15 minutes and dab with full cream milk and scrub off in a rotating motion. Wash with cold water.
The neck and back also require special attention. Use a natural loofah while bathing as this helps slough off dead skin and always use a body lotion. Go completely natural and use a mix of light hibiscus, lavender and apricot oils. Not only will this keep your skin soft but also protect it from the strong rays of the sun.
All these treatments can be done daily or even on alternate days. The best way to decide is to let your skin tell you.
Use plenty of cool rose water, cucumber water and mint tonics when the rains come down.
Use masks made of spring-summer fresh fruits like plums, peaches and watermelons. One such mask can be made with five de-seeded and mashed plums, 2 tsp whole-wheat flour and 1 egg. Mix and apply all over face and neck leaving on for 10 minutes. Wash off with rose water.
Hair needs special attention in the monsoon and I would suggest that you use an after-shampoo conditioning rinse. For limp, oily hair, take half a glass of strained tea water, half a glass of beer, the juice of half a lemon and the juice of half an orange. After a shampoo, pour this all over the hair and on the scalp. Let your hair dry naturally, and see how your hair shines. These are leave-in conditioners and because they are diluted with water, they do not require washing off.
If you have dry hair, take half a glass of strained tea water, 1 tsp honey and half a cup of strained fresh carrot juice. After shampooing, just rinse your hair with this (no washing required) and feel the difference.