During ancient times, when chemicals were unknown, vegetable dyes and natural ingredients were used to prepare colours for Holi. Indeed, they were not only safer, but preparing the colours was an integral part of the celebrations. Today, the wet colours and dry colour, or Gulal, contain chemical ingredients and particles of mica and even lead. These disrupt the normal acid-alkaline balance of the skin and scalp, which can leave them predisposed to allergies, rashes, sensitivity and eruptions. The skin can also suffer from dryness, flaking and rough reddish patches. Since Holi is played out of doors, sun-exposure can affect the skin, with sun tan, sunburn and dryness. The dry colours and chemicals can affect the hair too. They collect on the scalp causing dryness and itching. The hair texture also suffers, becoming dry, rough and unmanageable.
Protection of the skin and hair helps to minimize the damage. This includes the application of sunscreen about 20 minutes before going out in the sun. You can also mix a moisturizer with your sunscreen, to give added protection. It will form a protective film on the face. The hair can also be protected with a serum, or a hair cream containing sunscreen.
Many natural ingredients help in caring for the skin and hair after playing Holi. They help to restore the normal balances and also correct imbalances and heal the skin and scalp. For instance, Neem is one of the most versatile ingredients for both skin and hair care and easily available. Use Neem leaf infusions to wash the skin and hair to heal rashes and eruptions. First boil water and add the neem leaves to it. Do not boil the leaves, but cover it and let it stand in the water overnight. Next day, strain the water and use it to wash the skin and hair. Neem can also be used with oil for head massage. This can be prepared in advance. Heat 250 ml pure coconut, or sesame seed oil, then take a handful of neem leaves and add it to the oil. Keep in the sun during the day for a few days. Strain the leaves and keep the oil for use. This relieves itching and restores the health of the hair.
Turmeric is another such ingredient. It is so easily available in every home. Turmeric has many healing properties. It is a natural antiseptic and has an anti-inflammatory action. It helps to soften the skin and remove tan. Mix together 4 parts of curd, add one part honey and very little turmeric. Apply on the face, neck and arms daily, for a few days after Holi. Wash off after 20 minutes. It makes the skin soft, smooth and bright.
Crush sesame seeds (til) coarsely and soak in water overnight. The next day, strain it and use the milky liquid to wash the face, neck and arms. This helps to soothe sunburn. Sesame seeds have SPF 6 and also soothe and protect the skin.
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The gel or juice of an aloe vera plant can be easily applied. The gel is the leaf pulp found in the inner portion of the leaves. The aloe juice is found just beneath the outer skin of the leaves. Aloe vera moisturizes the skin, relieving dryness. Applying fresh Aloe Vera gel to the burnt area soothes and heals the skin and helps it to recover faster. It contains zinc, which soothes inflammation and eruptions. Aloe vera gel can be applied by itself on the face and arms and washed off after 20 minutes.
Holi is a time when there are plenty of Marigold (gainda) flowers. In Ayurveda, marigold is used for its antiseptic and soothing action. It helps 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 your fingers and add 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Blend well. Add the mixture to warm bath water.
Shahnaz Husain is a renowned beauty and wellness expert. She is the Founder, Chairperson, and Managing Director of The Shahnaz Husain Group.
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