Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 6, Issue 25, Tuesday, June 21, 2011




Magical masks

SADIA MOYEEN Beautician, La Belle
13/A /2 Kemal Ataturk Avenue ,
( 3rd/ 4th fl ) Gulshan -2

If there is one skin care product that can work immediate miracles, it's the face mask! But reaching out for any one that takes your fancy is a folly. Choose one that is for your skin type. There are a range of wonderful products to make your selection from in the market.

Moisturising masks
These are ideal for dry skin and will boost the moisture levels of your skin as well as banish dry patches, flakiness, and fine lines from your face. Leaving them on for 10-15 minutes will suffice. Wipe off with a soft damp towel, do not wash off. The film of residue left on the skin will be nourishing until you cleanse next. They take away the feeling of tightness that dry skin has a tendency to feel.

Clay and mud masks
These are great for oily skin as they absorb excess grease and impurities from the skin, leaving it clean and fresh. They are ideal for shrinking pores, blotting shininess and clearing away blemishes. They should be applied on the skin until dry and then wet again and massaged off, finally washed with water. This final massage will remove dead skin cells, dirt and grime perfectly.

Exfoliating masks
Masks that carry an exfoliating agent will keep your skin in tip top condition. People with dry and sensitive skin should avoid these as they may cause redness and itching. Even normal skin sometimes suffers from the build up of dead skin cells, leaving a dull look and leading to problems like blackheads. Masks that cleanse and exfoliate are the perfect solution. They smooth on like a clay mask and are left to dry. When you rinse them away, their tiny abrasive particles slough off the skin's surface debris.

Peel off masks
These are great for all skin types and fun to use. You smooth on the gel, leave it to dry, then peel them away. The light formulation will help refresh oily areas by clearing clogged pores as well as lightly nourishing drier skin.

Gel masks
These are suitable for sensitive skin as well as oily complexions as they have a wonderfully cooling and soothing effect. Apply for 10 minutes and wipe off. They are wonderful after too much sun or when the skin feels irritated.

Points to remember before using your masks --
1. Cleanse face before mask application.
2. Don't leave any mask on for more than 10-15 minutes.
3. Be aware of your skin type, and the weather.

If you have combination skin type, use two masks -- one suitable for oily skin and one for dry skin. Just apply each one to the relevant area that needs it.


Homemade masks

The natural products around your household, which you can throw together to make your own beauty product are the following: honey (locks moisture inside skin), egg yolk (rich in vitamin A, D and E and amino acid), lemon juice, yoghurt, olive oil, oatmeal - this is the most useful base for any homemade mask because it buffs off dead skin cells (the Quaker brand is quite widely available). Banana- this is another common base to use because it refreshes the skin and is effective against sunburns.

Combining these ingredients in varying proportions and combinations will give you face masks for different types of skins.

Hydrating masks (for dry skin)
Recipe 1
1 tbsp of raw oatmeal
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp of honey
Apply to face and neck and lie down for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
Recipe 2
½ cup oatmeal
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
Make into a thick paste and apply to dry areas. Leave on for 15-20 minutes.

Yoghurt and lemon masks (for oily skin)
1½ tsp honey
½ tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 egg white
Apply to face and neck and lie down for 15 minutes. Rinse off.

Beauty masks (with whitening properties)
A pinch of turmeric
1g flour
Few drops of lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp yoghurt
Apply on face for 20 minutes. Wash your face with warm water.

Herbal steammasks (pore cleansing)
Fill bowl with boiling water.
1 tsp grated citrus peel (orange or lemon peel)
1 tbsp tulsi, powdered
1 tbsp lemon balm
1 tbsp peppermint
Inavailability of any one or two does not make much difference.
Tent your head with a towel and lean over the aromatic steam, inhaling deeply. Stay for 10 minutes, then rinse face with cool water.

Exfoliating masks
Recipe 1:
3 tbsp olive oil (or any good oil)
1 tbsp salt
Gently rub into dry skin avoiding around eye area. This works great on elbows and feet, but it can also be used on cheeks and forehead.

Recipe 2:
¼ browning ripe banana
1 tsp salt
Apply mixture to a clean face using small circular motions for 5 minutes. Concentrate on your problem areas where you experience a lot of acne, blackheads etc. Leave mixture on for an additional 5 minutes for oily skin.

Peel off masks
1 tbsp of boiling water
1 papaya
1 packet of plain gelatine (Foster Clark brand is widely available)
Once the mixture has become fully incorporated, allow it to cool to room temperature. Allow it to set for about 30 minutes then spread the mask over the face in a consistent layer. Keep on for 20-30 minutes to dry completely. Peel off the mask gently then rinse the face off with warm water.

Gel masks
These are soothing in nature and the most widely available and best gel soothing agent is Aloe Vera. Here are some ways to mix and stir the perfect Aloe Vera based gel masks from your kitchen.
Recipe 1:
30 ml Aloe Vera gel (obtained by carefully splitting Aloe Vera leaves)
50 ml olive oil
30 ml rose water
4 drops olive oil
1-2 tbsp oatmeal
Put on face and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with cold water.
Recipe 2:
2 tbsp Aloe Vera gel
½ cucumber

Blend the ingredients until it is a nice smooth paste. Spread the paste equally with your fingertips on your clean face and neck keeping off the eye area. Leave on for 30 minutes and wash off with cold water.

If you are not a stickler for natural products and believe in commercial honesty of the mask sellers out there, there are plenty of masks available in and around the city.

Almas, Priyo, Nandan, Agora are some of the few names you can include in your shopping list for face masks and be ensured that they will provide you with a range of face masks with prices starting from tk. 100 per pack to tk. 1500 per pack.

The lower end of the price ladder consists mainly of the traditional Chandan, Uptan and such concoctions while on the higher end of the ladder, the market will entice you with exquisite names like “pearl mask”, “whitening mask”, “gold maks”, “herbal and fruit mask” etc.

So after a tough week out in the polluted Dhaka streets, treat yourself to skin cleansing spa treatments during the weekends.

By Raisaa Tashnova


Chronicles of Sam Q

By Sam Q

Dearest Diary,
I always knew that I enjoyed my own company very much, but then again there is always a thing called 'too much of a good thing' which spoils up the whole 'good effect'. In short, I'm exhausted. Here I am, seven seas and thirteen rivers away from home, six weeks into my self-inflicted exile (two more weeks to go), watching every episode of 'Criminal Minds' till I turn into a paranoid victim myself, cooking the same ol' tomato chicken for sonny boy and getting so very attached to a place called the 'sink'.

I have heard of this phrase called 'a chick magnet', and this sink of mine is surely attracting the biggest chick of all. Me.

It is actually not that bad Diary. You know me Diary, a bit of drama always livens up my horizon, and my being genetically geared that way does not help either.

Anyway, getting back to my original thoughts...as to everything we experience, there are two sides to it -- the good and the bad. Let us leave out the ugly this time. So as much as I am enjoying all this time to reflect, think, analyse, forgive and grow, on the other hand I am missing my very few select and loved ones, my pillows, my chemically ridden toxic vegetables, my sweet water fish embalmed in formalin and my commode shower.

But as I always say and fervently believe, everything happens for a reason. Maybe this unexpected turn of events happened so that I could catch up with all the cuddles and hugs which I missed in the last five years.

Maybe it has happened because now I can compare my adult, responsible son to the nineteen-year-old who had fled the nest; and is now a man, who I am in awe of. Maybe this has happened to make me more tolerant to the people who make me climb the walls when I am around them, or maybe, just maybe it has happened to nudge a few stubborn pounds loose to make me happy. And lastly, maybe fate has given me another opening to make new friends and re-discover old friends.

You know me Diary, my penchant for interesting and vibrant personalities. I really have to say that in this long hiatus I have once again discovered amazing people, who have once again re-affirmed my belief that in this world there is more good than bad.

Hey! I feel the fog of despondency lifting from my shoulders. Talking to you always helps Diary. I should write to you often.

Anyway, I have to stop now and get back to the grind stone, because I just asked my son to plug in the vacuum cleaner, to which he retorted, “You're not trying to trick me into vacuuming are you?” A salute to my ever so “helpful” son.

So see you in Dhaka soon. And before I pen off, a few recipes I have tried here in my baker's heaven.

Have a great day the Sam Q way!

Cheesecake finale
For the base:
250g (9oz) digestive biscuits
100g (4oz) butter, melted
For the filling:
900g Philadelphia cheese
300g (10 oz) sugar
3 tsp vanilla essence
75ml (3 fl oz) maple syrup
50g (2 oz) walnuts (lightly toasted, chopped)
4 large eggs
For the topping:
400 ml (14 fl oz) sour cream
50g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
35g walnuts, chopped

Make the base by crushing the biscuits to fine crumbs -- the best way is to put them in a plastic bag and roll a rolling-pin over it. Put crumbs in a bowl, add the butter and mix well.
Press into the base of the tin. Place in the fridge while you make the filling.
Heat oven to 180º C/350º F/gas 4. Whisk the cheese with an electric whisk, until fluffy.
Now add the sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and walnuts. Whisk well. Very slowly add eggs, one at a time, without over beating. Pour into the tin and bake in the centre of oven for 50 minutes.
Mix together the ingredients for the topping and pour over the top of the cake.
Let it chill for around 2 hours or preferably overnight. Gently ease out of the tin -- run a knife carefully around the edge -- and put on a serving plate.

Hummingbird cake
480g (1 lb) plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
375g (13 oz) caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs beaten
200 ml sunflower or corn oil
2 tsp vanilla essence
100g (4 oz) chopped almond nuts
225g (8 oz) pineapple pieces in juice
Juice reserved:
300g (10 oz) ripe bananas, peeled
For the cream cheese frosting:
425g (15 oz) Philadelphia cream cheese
75g (30g) very soft butter
500g (1lb 2 oz) icing sugar, sifted
50 g (2 oz) chopped almonds

Heat oven to 180º C, 160 c fan, 350º F, gas 4. Sift the flour, soda, sugar, cinnamon and one teaspoon salt to a large bowl. Stir in eggs, mix well. Add oil, vanilla and almonds. Puree the fruit, stir in.

Spoon into the cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes, turn down the oven to 170º C, 150c fan, 325º F, gas 3. Cook for a further 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool in tin then slice horizontally into 3.

Beat the cream cheese until light, whisk in the butter then gradually add the icing sugar. Sandwich the cakes together and spread the remaining frosting on top.

Scatter over the almonds and serve.

Mini brownie cupcakes with ganache topping
For the brownie:
125g (4¼ oz) chocolate
100g (4 oz) butter
175g (6 oz) brown sugar
2 large eggs
75g (3 oz) plain flour sifted
¼ tsp salt
For the ganache topping:
200 ml (7 fl oz) cream
50g (2 oz) icing sugar
200g (7 oz) chocolate, finely chopped
Some decorative sprinkler or smarties

Heat oven to 180? C, 160 c fan, 350? F, gas 4. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a large saucepan over a low heat. When completely melted, stir in the sugar, then the eggs one by one. Fold in the flour and salt, then spoon into the cupcake cases so they are nearly full, and bake in the centre oven for 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and leave to cool. While they are cooling, heat the cream and icing sugar together until steaming; allow the heat to sit off for a minute then tip in the chocolate. Leave without stirring for 2 minutes then stir to combine into a thick ganache.

Transfer to a piping bag and pipe swirls on to the brownies at once before it sets. Decorate with sprinklers or chocolate smarties.


The heart of darkness

It is difficult to write about the atrocity meted out to Dhaka University teacher Rumana Manjur by a man who, as tradition would suggest, is meant to protect her and be her unstinting companion. Most of us have seen the video of Rumana, lying in her hospital bed with eyes seemingly welded shut, and voice quivering as she recounted for our benefit the gruesome details of the worst day of her life. Her father, Manjur Hossain, stood beside his daughter's hospital bed fighting back tears.

It is difficult to know exactly how to react to such an event. Her husband, unemployed Syed Hasan Sumon, was apparently jealous of his wife's success. She had the temerity to go abroad to study for her Masters degree, on a Fulbright Scholarship no less, and then had the astonishing gall to actually want to go back and complete it.

Syed, who was living in his father-in-law's house, could not take any more of his wife fighting a solo battle to secure her family's future. So he gouged her eyes out, and gnawed on her nose, and had every intention of killing Rumana with their six-year-old daughter as witness had he not run out of time alone with his family.

How to react? A common reaction would be rage. We could rage against the husband, but what will that do? As far as violent crimes against women go, he is just another drop in the ocean. We should all pray that he is punished to the fullest extent of the law because that will give the family some sort of solace. But then what? If you care enough to feel the rage, who do you direct it at?

Maybe we should take a cue from the father's sunken demeanour -- a picture of helpless agony. If you read the newspaper, you will know that Rumana had been suffering abuse throughout her decade-long marriage, but she kept quiet about it because she did not want to destroy her daughter's future. Before you roll your eyes and say “If she only broke it off earlier, none of this would have happened”, try and realise that it is just that reaction that may be at the heart of the issue -- an all too ready tendency to blame 'her'.

Rumana's case just brings into sharper focus a malaise that has existed in us for a long time. Right at this moment, as you read this, a girl may be getting raped because she spurned her boyfriend's advances. She will not report it for fear of being ostracised, on the one hand for having a boyfriend, on the other for being 'physically damaged'. This is an all too real and regular scenario.

Rumana brings it into sharper focus because her ordeal reveals that this disease is prevalent in all walks of society, even among the educated elite. She could not break ties with the monster because she felt the stigma of being a divorcee would harm her, and consequently her daughter, more than life with an abusive husband. Is it too difficult to imagine that thousands of women are making the same decision? How many, like Rumana, have been wrong in their estimation of their husbands' brutality? Answer blowing in the wind? More like blood streaming down the drain.

A paragraph singing the praises of social change would be a good way to end. But that, we all know, is not the way to react.

By Tahsin


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