Come spring and it is time for one of India’s most colorful festivals, Holi. A festival celebrates the end of winter and the arrival of spring, Holi is synonymous with music, dance, good food and, of course, playing with colors.
While splashing colors and devouring gujiya and thandai with family and friends are great ways to enjoy the festival, it also exposes your skin and hair to damage from chemicals in the colors used. People often complain of frizzy hair, dull skin, acne, itching and redness after Holi. But fret not, with some simple tips you can enjoy the festival without worrying about your skin or hair.
Prep Your Skin and Hair
It is key that you hydrate and moisturize your skin and hair prior to the festival. This provides a protective layer that shields you from the harmful effects of color.
“Healthy skin is an investment and radiant, healthy skin adds the right glow to your personality,” says Gaurav Aggarwal, founder, Onelife Nutriscience Pvt Ltd. We all love Holi, but it is also a festival of artificial and synthetic colors with chemicals that damage the skin. We highly recommend keeping the skin hydrated by adding an extra layer of protection for the skin. Coconut oil is one of the best ingredients to apply on your skin prior to Holi to ensure that the color does not penetrate into the pores.”
Almond and olive oil which are rich in nutrients and vitamin E also help nourish and protect your skin.
“Vitamin C and E act as antioxidants which protect the skin from damaging molecules and additionally keeps your skin hydrated” adds Aggarwal. Also use a sunscreen with good SPF before you go out to play. Apply it generously, covering most parts of your face, including behind the ears, and on your neck. Apply nail polish on your cuticles to protect your nails, and lip balm to hydrate your lips. Petroleum jelly is also effective because it is thicker and stays for a longer period of time.
Remember not to get skin treatments like waxing, threading or facials before the festival. Another simple trick is to wear light, cotton clothes, preferably with full sleeves, to ensure maximum protection for your hands. Drink loads of water and leave those eyeglasses and lenses at home when you go out to toss color around.
Oiling your hair before the festival never goes wrong.
“It is common in most households to oil your hair before Holi,” says Shaily Kataruka, founder, CEO, The Earth Collective. “This remains the best practice even today. Oil forms a protective shield on your hair and prevents absorption of colors and chemicals by the scalp and strands. Protecting the scalp is even more important, as a healthy scalp is equal to healthy hair.”
Massage your hair well. If you have long hair, tie it up or braid it to protect it better. A leave-in conditioner or serum can prevent dryness in your hair and scalp.
“Oils enriched with herbs like bhringraj, brahmi and hibiscus is ideal as a prep for Holi,” says Kataruka. “Since it has the added benefits of Ayurvedic herbs known for protecting the hair that are rich in vitamins and amino acids, they provide the extra protection that your hair needs while exposing itself to Holi colors. Apart from coconut oil, aloe vera with its innumerable benefits would be best to use before and after playing Holi to protect and soothe the skin.”
Post Holi: Cleanse and Nourish
Cleaning the colors off your skin and hair can be quite hard. If not done properly, It can be damaging. Use a cleansing milk rather than a harsh soap to remove the color, not scrubbing at any cost. The latter can result in breakouts, especially if you have acne. Glycerin, aloe vera gel and cucumber juice, which help soothe the skin, are excellent cleansers. You can also use raw papaya paste or a paste of gram flour (besan), curd and lemon juice to rejuvenate your skin after removing the color. After your skin is thoroughly cleansed, apply a generous amount of moisturizer to keep it hydrated. You can go in for a facial a week after the festival for that radiant ‘non-Holi’ glow.
Use a mild shampoo enriched with ingredients like shea and VegeKeratin to cleanse your hair after the festival.
“A mild, non-lathering cream-based cleansing conditioner will clean your scalp and hair while maintaining its natural pH level. It will repair hair damage and restore moisture in the scalp and hair” adds Kataruka. Besides a leave-in serum, it is recommended to use a hair mask once a week for 3-4 weeks to deep condition. A few drops of rosemary or lavender essential oil with jojoba or coconut oil works wonders to prevent dryness. You can also opt for a hair spa a few days after Holi to tame frizziness.
Want to learn more about the festival of colors? Check out The Holiday of Holi: A Time to Paint Body and Soul