The annual festival of colours, Holi, is less than a week away and you can look forward to a fun-filled day of frolic marked by a splashing of coloured powder, water and balloons, and a chanting of “Holi Hai”. Traditionally, spring flowers ,berries, spices and plants were used for making coloured Gulal.
There is no doubt that Holi is one of the popular festivals, but there are dangers associated with the event such as the blatant use of artificial colours made with chemical solvents, and toxic agents like lead oxide,mercury sulphite and copper sulphate. These can damage your eyes, skin and lungs. The colours also contain shiny particles of mica and lead, which can irritate the skin and collect on the scalp.
But if you love the carnival of colours, enjoy the festival and use organic and home-made colours. These are available in markets, but cost more.
Beauty expert Shahnaz Husain suggests some tips:
* Since Holi is played outdoors, exposure to the sun can have a detrimental effect on the skin. Use a sunscreen of SPF 20 and above. If your skin is prone to pigmented patches, select a higher SPF. Most sunscreens have built-in moisturisers. If your skin is very dry, first apply the sunscreen, wait for a few minutes and then apply a moisturiser. Apply moisturising lotion or cream on the arms and exposed areas.
* For the hair, apply leave-on conditioner or hair serum. This protects the hair from the effects of sun exposure and dryness caused by colours. Hair cream containing sunscreen is also available. Take a little cream, spread on both palms and massage lightly into the hair, or smooth palms over the hair. You can also apply pure coconut oil and massage it lightly into the hair. This will provide protection against colours.
* Apply transparent varnish on the nails. This helps to protect nails from absorbing Holi colours. When it comes to the removal of colours, rinse your face with plenty of plain water and use a cleansing cream or lotion. Wipe it off with moist cotton wool. Remember to cleanse the area around the eyes using a light touch. A cleansing gel helps to dissolve the colours and facilitates their removal.
* While bathing, scrub the body gently with a loofah or a wash cloth. Immediately after your bath, apply a moisturiser on the face and body, while the skin is still damp. This helps to seal in moisture. If there is itching, add two tablespoons of vinegar to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse. This helps to reduce itching. However, if the itching continues, and there is a rash and redness, there may be an allergic reaction. Consult a doctor as soon as possible.
* The day after Holi, mix two tablespoons of honey with half-a-cup of curd. Add a pinch of turmeric. Apply this on the face, neck and arms. Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash off with water. This helps to remove the tan and soften the skin. Over the next few days, give your hair nourishment by mixing one tablespoon of pure coconut oil with one teaspoon of castor oil. Heat and apply on the hair. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for five minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap three to four times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Wash your hair after an hour.