Yes, it's that time of the year again! A time when the streets are awash with a riot of colors and when kids and adults alike take to the streets with equal enthusiasm to either throw brightly colored gulal or douse each other with sprinklers. Yes, the Festival of Colors, Holi is upon us yet again and we couldn't be more excited!
Did you know that traditionally, Holi used to be played with colors made out of natural ingredients such as turmeric, flower extracts, and even sandalwood paste? However, these days, the synthetic powders we use are unfortunately packed with toxic compounds that can cause serious damage to our skin including irritation, itching, rashes, discoloration, abrasion, dermatitis, eczema, and dryness. It can even lead to eye disorders such as temporary loss of vision and even blindness in some extreme cases. Most importantly, these chemically-treated colors leave a detrimental impact on our ecosystem by not only entering our water sources but also causing damage to the eyes and skin of animals as they don't have any form of protection.
Why not celebrate this Holi a little different than how we used to. How’s that you ask? By making use of natural homemade Holi Colors of course! We all are well aware of the nasty after-effects of artificial, chemically-laden readymade colors. So why not make this Holi more enjoyable and less stressful for yourself and others by making your own organic colors right at home. Moreover, it’s easy to make and the benefits easily compensate for the time invested.
For Sizzling Reds
Red Sandalwood powder not only exudes a stunning red-shade but is also known to be very good for your skin. You can easily substitute this powder for red gulal. Other alternatives include dry red hibiscus flowers which can be ground into a powdered form. You can even soak these flowers overnight for an even more deeper and intense shade of red.
For Dazzling Blues
Similar to the red hibiscus flower, you can either grind blue hibiscus into a finely powdered form and mix with flour to add bulk. The flowers of the Jacaranda tree or Neeli Gulmohur as it's known colloquially can be dried or crushed for a deep shade of blue. Alternatively, you can even use blueberries and crush them to get the blue you're after!
For Bright Yellows
Mix turmeric powder or Haldi with twice as much as of besan or gram flour. Turmeric not only is great for your skin but can also yield the intense yellow shade you’re after. You can even grind marigold petals and yellow chrysanthemums petals to get a natural yellow color.
For Tropical Greens
Use Mehendi or henna powder and blend it with an equal quantity of flour to get a beautiful shade of green. This concoction is great for the hair and skin as well. You can also grind spinach, mint, or coriander leaves with water to make a paste which works as effectively
For Rich Browns
Although Brown is not your typical color associated with Holi, you can surprise your family and friends by smearing their faces with brown colors. To get this color, boil tea or coffee leaves in water, allow it to cool and then use the paste. Moreover, tea and coffee leaves are good for the skin as well.
Holi is a time for celebration but let's do our bit for ourselves and the environment by practicing a clean and safe Holi devoid of any toxic colors. Holi Hai so let us set an example and lead the way.