During ancient times, vegetable dyes, flowers and plant products were used to obtain colours for Holi. They were certainly safer than the chemicals that are present in the Holi colours of today.
According to a report, these colours contain dyes, chemicals, shiny particles of mica and even lead—as well as powdered glass, acids and alkalis. Apart from being a hazard to the environment, they affect the skin and hair adversely.
They irritate the skin and scalp, causing allergies and dermatitis. They can lead to allergic rashes, or pimples and acne. The skin can also suffer from dryness, flaking and rough reddish patches. These substances also collect on the scalp, causing dryness and itching. The hair texture suffers, becoming dry, rough and unmanageable.
Now that you know just why you need to avoid artificial colours, let’s figure out how you can celebrate Holi in a holistic manner:
You can use a lot of natural compounds to make your own colours. Here are a few recipes you can try:
1. On low heat, simmer tesu aka palash flowers in water. Let them soak overnight. Strain the next day, and use the now yellow water to play Holi.
2. Mix henna powder with besan or makki ka atta, to make a completely natural green colour—which is perfect to play dry Holi.
3. Turmeric or haldi can be used both as dry and wet colour. Mixed it with besan for dry colour. Or, boil it with water. Let the mixture rest overnight, and then use.
4. Boil beetroot in water. This makes a bright magenta colour. Cool and use the water. Or extract beetroot juice, add a little water and then use it.
5. Boil peels of red pomegranate in water to get a red colour.
6. Red sandalwood powder can be used both as dry and wet colour.
If you find your skin stained in myriad colours after your Holi celebrations, then follow these tips to remove all that pigment gently and naturally:
1. Sesame seed (til) oil can be used to remove colours from the body. All you need to do is massaging it into the skin. This not only helps to remove the colours, but gives added protection to the skin. While bathing, scrub the body gently with a loofah or wash cloth, and you’re done!
2. Mix together 4 parts of curd, one part honey, and a little turmeric in a bowl together. Apply it on the face, neck and arms daily for a few days after Holi. Wash off after 20 minutes. This will brighten the skin, remove any residual stains, and makes your skin soft and smooth.
3. Crush sesame seeds coarsely and soak them in water overnight. The next day, strain it and use the milky liquid to wash your face, neck and arms. This helps to soothe sunburn. Sesame seeds have sun-protective properties.
4. Marigold flowers help to soothe skin and scalp irritation, which is common after holi. Add a handful of fresh or dried marigold flowers to three cups of hot water. Allow it to stand for an hour. Strain and cool the water and use it to rinse the face and hair. Or, take a cup of marigold flowers. Crush them with fingers and add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Blend well. Add the mixture to warm bathwater.