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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

Beauty means different things to different people. For an artist, beauty may take the form of the various hues and tints on a painted canvas. A naturalist finds beauty in the flitting of butterflies, or the songs and plumage of birds. For a lover, the object of love makes the whole world vibrate with beauty; for the poet, it’s the inner projection of the sensitive self. There are many ways to understand beauty, but I feel the substance of beauty is described best in an ordinary dictionary: “A pleasing combination of qualities in a person or object; a particular grace or excellence.”

One of the most beautiful aspects of an individual’s appearance can be his or her hair. Here are tried and tested aids for a beautiful, glossy, healthy mane that will turn heads.

Treatment for Dandruff

Do you have chronic dandruff? Chances are, you are suffering from an acute shortage of Vitamin A in your system. Dandruff is a kind of “scaliness” of the scalp that is induced by general skin dryness due to nutritional deficiency. Change in water used (from soft to hard, for example) can also cause dandruff.

Here is a sure-fire dandruff treatment. Mix half a cup of white vinegar with half a cup of water. Shake the mixture and save it in a bottle. Using cotton balls, dab the solution directly onto your scalp. Apply two or three times a week, and leave on for approximately 20 minutes before shampooing your hair.

Preventing Hair from Falling or Thinning

Like the rest of our skin, there are different types of scalps: oily, normal, and dry. The condition of the scalp may change according to the weather or an individual’s general health; in very cold weather, for example, the scalp may become dry and patchy. Normally, healthy hair will only fall out due to a viral infection of after a protracted illness like typhoid or jaundice.

A well-balanced diet and vitamin supplements will strengthen hair. Regular treatment with warm olive oil, massaged well into the scalp and left on overnight, will restore the hair’s luster.

Almond oil also nourishes the hair, makes it soft, and prevents hair from falling out or thinning. Rub almond oil onto your hair and scalp before going to bed and wash it off the next morning with a good shampoo. If you use the oil regularly for a month, you will have no problems with thinning or falling hair.

Strained tea (not chai, make sure not to add milk and sugar!) is very effective in preventing hair from falling out, and it also makes the hair glossy. Take about six cups of strained tea and wash your hair with that instead of shampoo. Rinse with plenty of water.

Alternatives and Additions to Shampoo

Do you have excessively dry hair? Here is a special vitamin tonic. Boil two cups of water, then add two tablespoons of refined linseed oil to the water and stir continuously. Puncture a capsule of Vitamin A and one of Vitamin E and squeeze the contents into the oil and water. Stir until the ingredients are well dissolved. Cool the mixture until it is warm but can be touched with the fingers, then massage well into the hair and scalp. Leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing well with shampoo.

Another remedy for dry hair is to beat the yolk of an egg until it is frothy, then add one teaspoon of baby oil. Beat well, then stir in one cup of cold water. Massage well onto your hair and scalp, then rinse off with tap water.

Corn flour, which is often used as a cleansing agent, may also be used as a shampoo. Part your hair and sprinkle corn flour onto your scalp and hair. Brush it well. The floor will have a dry shampooing effect and is very good for your hair and scalp when repeated once weekly.

To add body to hair, take one cup of beer and let it stand for an hour. Beat an egg white until it foams and then add it to the beer. This mixture can be applied to hair before it is set in rollers for lovely, firm curls.

Hair Removal: To remove hair from the upper lip, take a teaspoon of ordinary kitchen salt and rub it onto the hair. Repeat for two or three days, and all the hair should fall off. Another method is to mix an aspirin with a little Epsom salt, a combination which will yield the same results.

Lily Tharoor is a homemaker and mother of three grown children. Having lived in London, Bombay, Calcutta, and New Delhi, Lily now makes her home in Coimbatore, India.