This summer, try these effective remedies for your skin and hair:
Curry leaves: A regular intake of curry leaves and application of their paste is believed to do wonders for falling hair. Also helps to make your hair appear thicker.
Henna: It cools the head and conditions the hair too. Henna is our answer to modern day hair colour – even though the only shade you will get after its application is a muddy orange. But it nourishes the hair and roots.
Gram flour: In its coarsely crushed form you can use it as an exfoliant to remove dead skin while in its finely powdered form (paste) it can be used as a deep cleansing and skin brightening face masque.
Multani Mitti: Better known in the beauty business as fuller’s earth, you should use this once a week to cleanse and tighten the skin. Regular use leaves skin looking fresh, clean and youthful.
Mustard & Coconut Oil: Use once weekly to nourish, cool and condition the hair and scalp. Can also be used as a massage oil for your fortnightly body massage.
Neem: In its powder form, neem works as an effective antiseptic and can kill skin infections and remove surface impurities. As oil (or face serum), it can be used to treat dull and unpolished skin.
Sandalwood: Cools the skin and is also believed to have curative properties. Use either as a powder or paste directly on the skin. Can help in cases of extreme sunburn.
Turmeric: This is used widely in the formulation of sunscreens and when applied as a paste, gives a glow to skin. Oral application of turmeric also keeps harmful bacteria away from the skin.
Start at the top: Hair
Cut & Colour: Opt for a short hairstyle – it’s a lot easier to maintain than longer hair. Short hair (that does not fall over the neck or ears) will keep you feeling cooler and lighter as well. Refrain from colouring your hair – not just because lighter colours don’t work on (most) Indian men but also since your hair is likely to retain its natural moisture if you don’t colour it.
* If you are opting for colour, just stick to browns and black to conceal grey.
Condition: Use oil, a hair conditioning cream or a vitamin enriched hair treatment no more than once a week. Ditto for medicated and anti-dandruff shampoos. To boost the quality of your hair, increase your iron, zinc and vitamin intake. It’s advisable to shampoo your hair every day – ideally at night to wash away the hidden oil and dirt and to allow the pores in your scalp to breathe. Always use a mild shampoo that has been formulated for daily use.
* Use a conditioner (after you shampoo) at least thrice a week to soften, nourish and hydrate the hair.
Non-stick products: Use styling products that are non–sticky or do not leave behind a residue when they dry.
Refrain from using oil-based products that might result in clogged pores on both your scalp and forehead. When using hair products (for cleaning, conditioning or styling) less is
always more – dousing extra product does not help at all, as your pores will absorb only what they can hold.
Work your skin
A close shave: Never shave until your growth is long enough to easily grip onto the blade. Change your blade on a regular basis and always keep it dry, sanitised and clean. Apply a moisturiser an hour before you shave to ensure the blade glides on your skin and does not pull when you do. Always shave after your shower as water makes your skin and hair growth smoother and softer.
* Use water-based moisture lotion (for dry skin) or a splash on (for oily skin) after you shave.
Sun Burnt: Apply a strong and effective sunscreen lotion before you go out in the day and avoid over-exposure to the sun. Never use oil based products in the day, as they tend to attract both dust and grime. As we see no reason for you to want to change your skin colour, fairness creams that double as sunscreens and promise skin lightening are best avoided.
* Use Aloe Vera gel to soothe and treat sunburn and lighten an unwanted tan.
Excess Baggage: If you have dark circles and bags under your eyes, eight hours of sound sleep helps but is not always the only solution. You should also consider increasing your intake of water as well as foods rich in Vitamin B12 and Iron. Under-eye repair and lightening products don’t always work and should only be used under clinical supervision and if you are over 35.
To lighten your under eyes naturally, place freshly grated raw potatoes around the eye for ten minutes about once a week.
Your daily routine:
* Drink a glass of warm water with half a teaspoon of honey and lemon juice on an empty stomach – this will flush out the toxins in your body, including leftover alcohol from the night before, and leave your skin looking fresher and younger.
* If you have had a late night or lack of sleep, splash some cold water on the face and more specifically around the eyes when you wake up – this drastically reduces puffiness. Alternatively, place wet and cold cotton swabs on the eye for about five minutes.
* As a general rule, brush your teeth before you eat and make sure to gargle with a mouthwash thereafter. The mouthwash will keep your breath fresh for longer.
* Drink a minimum of four litres of water – this will keep you hydrated and energised.
* To stay alert and feeling fresh, splash some water on your face each time you visit the men’s room.
* Use a mouthwash after lunch and ensure you refresh your deodorant and / or fragrance as well.
* Jump into a shower as soon as you are back home. Use a mild or natural face wash to clean the day’s leftover oil, pollution and grime from the face and neck.
* Moisturise both your face and body with a water-based moisturiser before you sleep. This will restore the moisture balance in your skin and leave it feeling smoother by the morning.
* Apply under eye or anti-ageing creams. Opt for water-based and oil-free formulations.
Tone your body:
High & dry: Keep the water level in your body high and drink plenty of fluids – more specifically mineral water and fresh juices. To avoid unwanted body odour and a stale after smell, have a minimum of two showers a day but ensure you dry yourself well each time – especially between the toes, underarms and lower back. Without smelling too strong, use an effective deodorant stick for your underarms, deo spray on your body and a fresh fragrance thereafter.
* To prevent skin breakouts and oily skin, eat less chilli and oil rich foods, but ensure an adequate (but monitored) intake of both salt and sugar.
ENT: Regularly pluck and trim the unwanted hair on your nose and ears. Remove blackheads using a blackhead
remover, facial steam or hot wax (best done at a salon you trust). Sit for aromatherapy sessions to stimulate the body and mind.
* To prevent excessive sweating, trim or remove the hair on your body using either a trimmer or a tried and tested hair removing cream.
Hands & feet: Dust your feet with talcum powder before you put your shoes on and use hand and foot creams to keep them soft and supple. Manicures and pedicures should be done at least once a month.