Remember to apply sunscreen while swimming, holidaying by the sea or in the hills. Reflective surfaces, like water and snow actually increase the effects of UV rays.
For rashes and eruptions, sandalwood is ideal. Sandalwood paste can easily be applied on the skin to soothe inflammatory conditions. It also helps to relieve itching. However, if there is excessive itching, it is best to consult a doctor. Another important ingredient for such eruptive conditions is Tulsi or basil. As far as the skin is concerned, it has germicidal and antiseptic properties and also helps to soothe rashy and eruptive conditions. Neem and Mint (pudina) leaves can also be used for such conditions.
In your home, right there on the kitchen shelf, or in your fridge, are wonderful ingredients for summer beauty care.
Cooling Mask: Cucumber juice (or pulp) can be mixed with two teaspoons powdered milk and one egg white. Put the ingredients in a blender, for a smooth paste. Apply on face and neck and rinse off with water after half an hour.
For Oily and problem skin: Take one tablespoon lemon juice and one tablespoon rose water. Add crushed mint leaves and let it stand for one hour. Strain the leaves and apply the liquid on the face. Wash it off after 20 minutes.
Summer Mask: To one tablespoon honey, add 15 drops of orange juice, one tablespoon oats and one tablespoon rose water. Mix together and apply on the face. Wash off after 15 minutes.
To reduce oiliness, mix one tablespoon Fuller’s Earth (multani mitti) with rose water. Apply the paste on the face and wash it off when it dries.
Applying fresh Aloe Vera gel to the burnt area soothes and heals the skin and helps it to recover faster. The nutritive mineral zinc present in this healing plant is anti-inflammatory.
Sandalwood has natural cooling properties. Its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties heal eruptions and heat rashes on the skin. Sandalwood paste can be applied on the eruptive conditions. Or, mix sandalwood with a little rose water and apply on the entire area. Rose water is a natural coolant. Wash off with plain water after 20 to 30 minutes.
Simmer a handful of neem leaves on a very low fire in 4 cups of water for one hour. Leave it overnight. Next morning, strain the water and make a paste of the leaves. Apply it on inflamed and rashy areas. The water can be used for rinsing the area. Neem contains organic sulphur compounds, with versatile healing actions that are of particular benefit to the skin
Add a little turmeric paste to milk and apply on rashy areas.
Hair rinses are ideal for summer. Boil used tea leaves again in enough water. Strain and cool the water. Add the juice of a lemon and use as a last rinse. Or, add the juice of a lemon and half a cup of rose water to a mug of water and use as a last rinse after your shampoo. Cools, reduces oiliness and adds fragrance.
For oily hair, apply egg white 20 minutes before shampoo. Cleanses, reduces oil and adds body to the hair.
Chlorine in swimming pools make the hair dry, matted and dull. Rinse the hair well before and after a swim. To add shine and softness to dry, dull hair, take a cup of honey, half-cup of olive oil or sesame seed (til) oil and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir very well and keep in an airtight glass jar. Massage a little of this mixture into the hair before your shampoo. Wash the hair after an hour.
(Shahnaz Husain is the CEO of Shahnaz Herbals Inc. A recipient of Padma Shri, she is known for her herbal cosmetics, particularly skin care products)