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Go natural this Holi with these safe shades

This Holi, don’t risk the chemicals in gulaal; go au natural with these homemade colours

india Updated: Mar 25, 2013 16:14 IST
Sumedha Deo Sumedha Deo
Sumedha Deo Sumedha Deo
Hindustan Times

Holi in Mumbai can tend to get rough. After the festival, newspapers are filled with scary stories of people getting affected by the toxins in gulaal and other colours. Bid goodbye to skin infections, rashes and other such inflictions by making your own batch of colours this Holi. Here’s how:


Mix henna powder in water to get a pale shade of green. The colour goes from green to a richer brown if you mix more mehendi. To get an even darker shade, mix the powder in strained water in which tea leaves or coffee has been boiled.


There are many ways to make shades of red at home. Grate beetroot and dry it in the sun. With the blazing, dry days that Mumbai has been experiencing, they should take about three days to dry completely. Mix this powder in water or use as is instead of gulaal. Another way to get a rich shade of red is to use red sandalwood (raktachandan) powder. Dried hibiscus petals also make for a great gulaal substitute. Boiling onion or pomegranate peels in water will give you a pale shade of pink.


This is probably the easiest colour to make but the hardest to get off. Turmeric is a natural alternate to yellow colour, but be sure that you mix it in plenty of water so that the colour comes off easily. Saffron, when soaked in water, gives it a yellow-orange colour, but it’s an expensive alternative. Marigold petals, when soaked overnight in water, will also turn it a pale yellow.


Mix a tablespoon of indigo (neel) in a bucket of water and you’ll have a nice blue colour to play Holi with. This shade is also easy to tone up or down, by adding more indigo or water to the mix. A purple-blue shade can be made by soaking jamuns overnight in water and straining it the next morning.

Food colouring diluted in water is another safe alternative to nasty chemical colours. With the number of shades available, you can mix and match to get the one you want.

Skin-friendly buys

Too lazy to make colours? Buy organic ones from

HyperCity outlets

Omved organic colours,available at leading department and retail stores

Ecocolor, at all Mocha outlets

Pidilite Rangeela Holi Ke Rang available at leading department and retail stores

First Published: Mar 25, 2013 13:09 IST