Holi is one of those rare occasions when you can pour a bucket of coloured water on your grumpy neighbour and still get a jalebi in return, instead of the usual frown. After all, the festival of colours is all about unrestrained fun.
However, the frenzied splashing of harsh colours can damage your skin and hair, especially if you are not prepared to face them. “Over the years, natural colours have been replaced by synthetic colours. Most Holi colours sold in the market contain oxidised metals that are toxic, and can result in severe skin allergies, skin discolouration and dermatitis,” says Dr Navin Sharma of ayurvedic healthcare brand Cholayil.
While switching to organic colours made of herbs and flowers is a good option, you might not always have control over the ingredients of the colours that others put on you. “Instead of sulking with a damaged skin or hair, keep them well nourished before going out to play so that you have a protective shield working against all harsh chemicals,” says beauty expert Vandana Luthra. So, as you head out for a fun play today, follow these simple regimes and you’ll never have to crib.
Post holi clean-ups
Remove colours while it’s wet and never use harsh soaps to get rid of the colours, however stubborn they may seem, says cosmetologist Priyanka Tyagi. “Always use a cleansing lotion to wipe off the colours first. After this, use lukewarm water to rinse. You may also go for home remedies like a mixture of soybean flour and milk. Use lemon wedges on the areas of stubborn colouration,” says Tyagi. “Sesame seed oil can also be used to remove colours by massaging it on face and body. This not only helps to remove the colours, but gives added protection to the skin,” adds beauty expert Aakriti Kochar. Cleaning your hair the right way is also important. “Wash hair until all the colours come off. Then use a mild herbal shampoo, and follow it up by applying olive oil and honey for further nourishment and restoration of the acid-alkaline balance of the scalp,” advises hair expert Habib Ahmed.
Hair care in advance
Generously applying oil on your hair before you are doused in colours is the best way to save your hair from damage. “Massage your hair from scalp to tip with olive or castor oil. It not only shields your hair from chemicals, dust and dirt but also helps the colours come off easily later,” says beauty expert Aakriti Kochar. If you do not have olive or castor oil handy, you could even go for for a simple coconut oil. Coconut oil is very light and achieves up to 90% hair penetration right through to the cortex, thus forming a protective layer around your hair. A single shampoo will remove the colours and extra grease, unlike other oils, which may require multiple shampooing and result in dry hair,” says hair expert Dr Rashmi Shetty. “A safer trick is to tie your hair and cover it with a hair-band, scarf or shower cap that’ll save it from getting damaged. Keeping it open increases the area of exposure and allows the colours to settle down on every strand,” says hair expert Habib Ahmed.
Prepare your skin
There are a number of easy and quick home remedies that you can opt for to create an instant shield around your skin. Here’s a list of some by beauty expert Vandana Luthra:
Mix castor oil (for face, use almond oil) in rose water and apply over your whole body and scalp before you head out to play.
Mix sesame oil with glycerine, add a little hot water to it and apply it early morning to lubricate your skin. A heavy dose of your favourite body lotion is also a good alternative. Apply a sunscreen of SPF 15 and above at least 20 minutes before going out to play.
Put petroleum jelly around and under your nails as well as soles, elbows or any dry area of your body, as the colours of Holi generally leave the skin dry. Lubricating will help form a protective layer.