Before you turn to branded beauty kits and sundry suntan lotions to keep looking good in summer, try heading for the kitchen. Rose water, lemon juice, cucumber and yoghurt are among the many magic potions tucked away in your own home.
"For a natural sunscreen, one can sprinkle cooled water - in which tea leaves have been boiled - on the face," aromatherapist and well-known beautician Blossom Kochhar told IANS. <b1>
Kochhar, who says the sunscreen is an absolute must before stepping out, lays down a simple rule - it should be worn above moisturiser and below makeup.
"Regardless of your skin type, sunscreens should be worn only after moisturising and below make-up."
For those who plan to take a dip in the swimming pool, Kochhar recommends rubbing a layer of Vaseline in which a few drops of essential oil of lavender have been added to protect the skin from chlorine.
While people usually ensure protection of the skin, they often ignore the hair and lips.
"Ignoring the hair and lips results in the hair becoming brittle and lustreless and the lips turning dry and chapped. It's a good idea to apply a sunscreen sparingly, probably mixed with water, over the lips before stepping out into the sun," beauty expert Shahnaz Husain told IANS.
"At the end of the day, after washing one's face, one should rub the lips with a soft towel so as to remove the dead cells. Applying a few drops of pure almond oil over them and leaving it overnight will make them soft and even lighten dark lips over a period of time," she added.
While cleansing becomes doubly important in summer, both Kochhar and Husain say that overdoing it can actually harm the skin. And after cleansing, using a natural skin toner like rose water can do wonders for one's skin.
To protect the hair, says Husain, one should cover the head while stepping out and wash it often to avoid dust and grime accumulation.
"One can also remove a tan using a whole lot of homemade remedies. For the face, one can mix equal quantities of lemon juice and cucumber juice, apply it on the face and leave it for 20 minutes before washing it off with cold water.
"Alternatively, one can mix a pinch of turmeric to yoghurt and apply it on their face, neck and arms regularly for 30 minutes or put cucumber pulp with yoghurt and then wash it off to remove a tan," Husain says.
To remove a tan from the hands she suggests applying a paste of sunflower oil, lemon juice and sugar, while soaking one's feet in water containing lemon juice cleans, de-tans and perks up the feet.
Besides externally taking care of one's skin and hair, experts also stress that one should be careful about the diet during the sultry months.
Dietician Ruchika Verma says that it's best to avoid hot, spicy and salty food in summer.
"Besides hot, spicy and salty food, one should also go easy on the tea and coffee intake, even alcohol. Gorge instead on fresh fruits, vegetables, salads and yoghurt," Verma says.
Husain adds: "For an extra cooling effect, one can add mint to the lemonade. It's very refreshing." Of course, it goes without saying that summer is the time to have loads of water to stay cool and keep glowing!