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Hair and skin care? Do it right

Dr Parul Kolhe
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January 05, 2007

The use of hair and skin care products has gone up many times over the last few years. Ten years ago, people were content with using bathing soap and hair oil; today, most people use an average of six to eight grooming products every day.

Due to lack of knowledge, however, these products are often used indiscriminately. If you are using beauty or grooming products, you have to know how to use them correctly and how to get maximum benefit.

Here are a few 'how tos' about the most commonly used products.

Shampoo

Use about one teaspoon (5 ml) for short hair, double that quantity for shoulder length hair and triple it for tresses falling to mid-back level.

Comb your hair well before shampooing it. Wet your hair with warm water, apply shampoo with the tips of your fingers to the roots, then massage to create foam. As it lathers, it will automatically cover the hair shafts too. Rinse and repeat.

The second application is necessary for very greasy hair or if you've used a lot of gel, mousse or spray. Do not towel dry vigorously, else your hair will break.

Conditioner

You need to use the same quantity as your shampoo, but the rules of application are reversed. Apply to hair shafts, do not apply to the roots. This ensures soft strands but no limpness. Conditioning the roots results in loss of volume and flat looking hair.

Use a wide toothed comb to comb through a few times, leave for at least 10 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.

Repairing or intensive conditioners need to be left on longer under a hot towel wrapped around the head. 'Leave-in' conditioners do not need to be rinsed.

Moisturiser

Must be applied on damp skin. Wash and simply pat lightly with a towel to leave skin slightly moist. Then pat on the moisturiser lightly.

Avoid oily areas such as the 'T' or 'V' zone (nose + forehead and cheeks + chin respectively) if you have such a problem. In dry weather, reapply every 3-4 hours.

Always apply moisturiser along the direction of hair growth on your skin and don't rub excessively -- it gets absorbed on its own.

Sunscreen

Apply at least 30 minutes before sun exposure.

Use liberally on all exposed body parts -- about a one-rupee-coin-sized dollop for an area the size of your face. Allow to dry for 15 minutes before applying make up.

If you're outdoors, reapply every two hours. If you're swimming, reapply every 80 minutes, or each time you towel yourself dry.

Face packs

If using perishable natural ingredients, mix your packs just before applying.

Use a face pack brush and apply with firm, upward strokes, ie from the chin towards the temples, from the upper lip towards the temples, from the centre of the forehead towards the temples, lastly covering the nose. Leave out the undereye area.

Leave the pack on for at least 10-15 minutes or till it is dry, whichever is earlier. Do not artificially dry your pack under a fan, as the active ingredients need moisture to penetrate your skin; they also need a minimum contact period with the face.

Do not leave a dried pack on your face for too long as it could rub your skin raw when you remove it. Remove your pack with a wet sponge or flannel washcloth.

Perfume/ deodorant

Always perform a test patch with a new fragrance by applying a little on your inner arm; watch for any skin allergy for 24 hours. If there's no reaction, you can use it -- spray from a distance of about six inches onto your skin at pulse points (inside of the wrists, behind ears and at the nape of the neck)

Deodorants can be used on underarms and body folds too. If you develop severe itching or sore skin but still don't want to give up that wonderful fragrance, then spray it on your clothes 5-10 minutes before your wear them. If itching persists, or the skin reaction is severe, with redness, bumps and boils, see a dermatologist.



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