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Playing Safe With Colours!

By Sanhati Banerjee

Holi is round the corner and you don’t want to play the spoilsport stat-at-home kind, who wants to save her skin or hair from the oh-so-harmful chemicals in colours. Here’s how by taking some precautions and following some rules you can save the onslaught on your body and yet have all the fun.


Holi is symbolic of spring – of bloom and gaiety in nature. It brushes off the seasonal decay of winter and ushers in a rejuvenation spreading hope and joy in the air. The brightness of the sun seems cheerful. Flowers are in full bloom and fields are verdant with the promise of a great harvest. It is a festival of colours – red, blue, green, yellow, orange etc.
However, as much as this day calls for celebrations, you need to be careful about not causing damage to your skin and hair. Skin irritation, allergic reactions, drying of scalp, damages caused due to over-scrubbing are some of the common problems faced on this day. Here’s what experts have to say about Holi-safe ways.
Skin Smart
The first and foremost rule is obviously to ditch the harmful chemical sprays and colours and endorse only organic colours that are water-soluble. Say ‘no’ to metallic and glitters. You can also make your own herbal colours at home using herbs, flowers and other kitchen essentials. Playing with gulaal is another nice option.
Makeup artist Aashmeen Munjaal cautions “Don’t forget to dab some oil on your ear lobes as well, at the back of your ears and on your nails as colours really tend to settle on these areas. You can further protect your nails by covering them with nail polish. Similarly, put lip balm or lipstick on your lips to protect those as well.”
Using a Vitamin E hydrating toner to close the pores on your face before putting moisturizer will reduce the chances of colour going in too deep, says Sanchita Das, national training manager at The Body Shop. She also recommends the use of a body butter or oil generously all over the body and allow it to be absorbed by the body for at least 15 minutes. This will form a thick layer on your skin and prevent the colours from reaching the deeper layers. It will also help in easily washing off of the colours afterwards. Alternatively, you can also use almond, tea tree or olive oil for the same. Sanchita Das further says “Use a good petroleum jelly for your nails. This prevents staining of your nails and adjacent area.”
Experts say it is important to protect yourself from sunlight as some chemicals found in synthetic colours together with the ultraviolet rays can cause a “photo-toxic” reaction on your skin. Therefore, apply a good coat of waterproof sunscreen with at good SPF before stepping out to play in the sun.
After playing with the colours, remember not to use harsh soaps to get rid of colours from your skin. Aakriti Kochar, beauty and makeup expert, Oriflame India says “Do not wash your face with soap immediately, because soap is alkaline and causes further dryness. Instead, use a cleansing cream or lotion which soothes the skin while cleansing. Massage on the skin and then wipe off with moist cotton wool. Sesame seed (til) 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.”
Happy Hair
Do you remember granny’s old tricks? How she would oil your hair when you were children before you stepped out to play? Well, that works. A good coconut or olive oil champi will make your hair colours-ready to start with.
Habib Ahmed, renowned hair stylist says “A head massage with warm castor, a mixture of jojoba and rosemary oil or coconut oil a night before Holi is typically recommended. The oil provides hair with nutrition which is required when hair gets dry because of the colour. For sensitive scalp skin, a few drops of lemon juice should be added to the mixture to avoid any hair infection because of the chemicals in the colour.” As an after-care he suggests that after the festival, for every day for a week or two it is vital to keep applying hair oil so that the hair is provided nourishment continuously.
After playing Holi, first wash your hair with plain water until the all the colour on the hair comes off. Then the colour needs to be rinsed from the hair with a mild herbal shampoo and conditioner to ensure any trace of colour in the scalp is also washed off. Habib Ahmed says “After this step, for further nourishment olive oil and honey need to be applied. Do not wash your hair twice on the same day. Remember, keeping the hair open increases the area of exposure and allows the colours to settle down on every strand. So tie up your hair and worry less!”
As a general rule, wear ready-to-dry, light clothes and avoid heavy clothing like denims. Remember it may take a few days to get rid of whole colour, don’t try to remove the colour from whole body at one go. That can have a detrimental effect as excessive scrubbing or rubbing may damage your skin and can cause irritation. Don’t wear lenses when you go out to play as a thumb rule! While holi colours by themselves cause irritability, lenses have a tendency to absorb the colour, thereby making things worse. Wear glasses and keep wiping them clean from time to time.
Aashmeen Munjaal signs off by saying “Holi can be exhausting! But remember to clean up before you take a nap or start relaxing. The longer you let the colour stay, the harder it’ll be to remove. Remember to dust off the dry colour before you hit the shower.” 

Picture Courtesy: Tatha Holi Bucket

  • The Body Shop Vitamin-C-Daily-Moisturiser
  • Oriflame Happy Skin Body Lotion

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