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Colour Me Healthy

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

You may not have any reservations during your celebrations, but it’s no secret that Holi isn’t the safest festival. The Mumbai Mix Team tells you how to have a happy Holi this year

Holi is one of most celebrated festivals in the country. And, the best part about it is that nobody cares whether you belong to the religious group that traditionally celebrates it, and everyone is in high spirits! With all the festivities, we think that it’s one of the most joyous festivals of the year, right up there with Christmas and Diwali, of course. There is colour everywhere and on everything, and we love the cheer surrounding it. However, we’re not too fond of the synthetic colour and dangerous contents of some water balloons! Safeguard yourself this Holi by following our handy guide — before, during and after your celebrations.

If you didn’t do anything to protect your skin before you went out to celebrate, use these tips. Powder colour that’s thrown at you, oil-based colour that is applied to your face and arms, and water-based colour poured over your head or shot at you from a pitchkari sounds like all fun and games, but when the celebrations come to a close, your skin should not be left damaged. Here, we tell you how to give your skin the attention that it needs after the celebrations have ended.

Temperature matters
When you’re washing off the Holi colours, the temperature of the water plays a significant role. Water-based colour comes off better with cold water, whereas warm (or hot) water works best for oil-based colour.

Coconut oil to the rescue
Apply a little coconut oil to your skin before your post-Holi bath. When you’re showering, gently scrub the colour off your skin. The coconut oil will make it easier for you to get the colour out.

Don’t forget to moisturise immediately after you have a bath. This will help soften the colour stain and keep your skin healthy and nourished. Manisha Chopra, co-founder of SeaSoul Cosmeceuticals, tells us, “It’s a great idea to end your shower using baby oil or a cream-based moisturiser.”

Face time
For the sensitive skin on your face, make a scrub from gram flour (besan). Mix some powdered besan with milk and scrub this using a circular motion. Don’t overdo this however, because it could irritate your skin.

Arrest further damage
Never scrub your skin vigorously or with abrasive substances in a desperate bid to get the colour off. This will only cause unwanted damage. Manisha explains, “Rubbing or scrubbing the area too much can make the situation worse by causing irritation, itchiness, breakouts and allergic reactions. It pays to treat your skin mildly and with care instead.”

Itchy & scratchy
If your skin gets itchy — which is something that can occur because of all the harsh chemicals in the colour — wash it with cold water, towel-dry it and then apply a soothing skin lotion such as lacto calamine on it. This will help the irritation subside. However, if the itching still persists, don’t delay a visit to the doctor.

Lemon wedges
Attack stubborn stains with lemon. All you have to do is rub a lemon wedge on to any stained area of your skin. The astringent properties of lemon will weaken the hold that the colour has on your skin and lighten the stain.

Lip service
Make a paste from malai and honey and apply it to your lips. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before washing it off. This will help remove the Holi colour from your lips and give them a fuller appearance.

Rum things up
Add a little rum to sugar, nutmeg powder and milk and make a thick mixture. Apply this on the parts of your skin that have been affected by harsh colour, rinse them with warm water and towel-dry. This acts as a homemade moisturiser.

Don’t take frequent baths
This won’t help you to get the stains out any quicker; all it will do is dry your skin out. At some point, you will have to accept that you can do no more to get rid of the stains.

Because Holi colours contain hazardous chemicals, it’s important to protect your hair from damage. Here are a few tips to remember during your celebrations.

  • The hot-towel treatment A day before the celebration, soak a towel in hot water and wrap it around your head. Leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour and the steam will open up your pores, allowing the colours to come off easily the next day.
  • All tied up Tying your hair up can protect it from colour damage. If you want to rock a festive, stylish look, tie your hair with a bandana or in a French braid. This way, you can play with colours and look good at the same time!
  • The champi This is the oldest and most effective quick-fix. The oil helps you remove the colour after the celebrations. For best results, use two coats of rosemary or coconut oil.
  • Post celebration Don’t wash your hair too much; it can lead to breakage. Rinse it with water and use a mild shampoo. Apply lemon juice to your hair if you experience any itching or prolonged dryness.
  • Deep condition Do this after you’ve washed your hair in order to restore the nourishment that it needs.

Since there’s colour flying all over the place, let’s take a look at what you can soak up from it, using a technique called colour therapy. Most synthetic colours are bad, but just looking at colour (of course, using eco-friendly, organic colour is your best bet) can benefit you. So, when you’re decorating for the festivities this year, add in some pink for love, a dash of green and yellow if your finances need a little boost, and gold if your memory is beginning to fail you. If the thandai is not good enough for your health problems, you can add a little blue in here too!

Of course, if you use natural colours, then there are additional benefits in store. The rose, sandalwood, turmeric and other herbs and flowers used in the making of these colours contain several beneficial properties such as antiseptics and antioxidants. They can also keep your body temperature constant and help with skin issues!

So, there may be several things that you need to be extra careful of during Holi, but there are some things that are good for you too — and no, we’re not just talking about a sense of community or the fun celebrations! It’s the thandai! Of course, if it’s laced with harmful substances this point is moot; but when you have it completely virgin, it’s very good for your health.

Since it contains a mixture of pista, rose petals, saffron, milk, sugar and fennel, it helps to boost your immunity, can aid digestion and even detoxify your system (because of the rose). It also includes vitamins and minerals, and the calcium (which you get from the milk of course) can help with bone density issues. If you suffer from headaches or have poor vision, a go-to remedy is saffron, which is sometimes added to the mixture. And, did we mention it can also help prevent arthritis? The fact that it helps you cool down in the sweltering March heat doesn’t hurt either!

Safety Tips For A Happy Holi
Every year, there are numerous Holi tips flying around, so we’re sure you already know what to do. But, just in case you’ve missed out, here’s what you need to know.

  • Oil up Apply oil so that the colour doesn’t stick to your skin. The aim is to enjoy the colour for just one day. Dr. K. E. Mukadam, dermatologist and laser surgeon at Lasercure, tells us, “Oil will act as a barrier between your skin and harmful chemicals that are present in the colours. Applying sunscreen will also help.”
  • Going swimming? Wear your swimming costume under your dress. “This will prevent the colours from latching on to your skin,” says Dr. Mukadam.
  • Mask it After playing holi, applying hair masks on your now dry and damaged hair could prove beneficial. Dr. Mukadam explains, “Hair masks containing avocado, henna, lemon and honey can treat your dry hair and help it retain its natural moisture.”
  • Remove colour When you’re removing your colour from your skin, apply mustard oil and leave it on for an hour. This will ease the process of the removal and you won’t have to rub your skin too hard.
  • Exfoliate Use an exfoliator and gently scrub off the residue and dirt. “You can even go in for a spa treatment or facial afterwards,” says Dr. Mukadam.
  • Be smart Don’t drink anything a stranger offers you! Often in the spirit of the festivities, we tend to ignore this. We aren’t saying every person out there is trying to get to you, but you should use good judgment.

Top 5 eco-friendly colour brands you should buy
This year, forgo the synthetic colours that contain with harmful chemicals and try these natural brands instead.

Omved herbal holi colours
Omved’s products are made using ancient formulas and are 100% natural. The ingredients include flowers, fruits, medicinal herbs and seeds. Rich in therapeutic properties and naturally fragrant, the packs are priced at Rs 130.

Organic India
At Rs 50 per pack, these colours are budget-friendly options, and since they are made from haldi and beetroot, they have a natural fragrance.

The Bombay Store’s Rang De Collection
The Bombay Store may specialise in furniture, but their Rang De range boasts of vibrant, organic colours. The base in their sunshine yellow, summer orange, lush green and purple breeze colours is pure turmeric, so using these colours (starting at Rs 20) is actually good for your skin.
Where The Bombay Store outlets across the city

Mumbai Goes Green
The range from Mumbai Goes Green is not only pocket-friendly (starting at Rs 50), it’s also 100% organic and natural. The colours are made of haldi, kumkum, indigo, rice and arrowroot.

Eco-colour by Mocha Treehuggers
The Mocha Treehuggers skin-friendly gulaal comes in a pack of five and the colours are a blend of orange, lemongrass and oil. They have a hypnotising fragrance and are priced at Rs 500.
Where Mocha outlets across the city

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