A festival celebrated joyously all over India Holi is a day of colours, where people of all ages and ethnicities have fun dousing each other in dyes and coloured water. Holi festival is based on one of the famous legends of killing evil demoness Holika. Another one of the famous legends is the one Lord Krishna complaining to mother Yashodha about Radha being fairer as compared to him. Mother Yashodha suggests that Krishna should colour Radha, in the colour of his choice. The mischievous Krishna is said to have coloured his beloved in a hue of colours thereafter. A tradition that is thereby we have been following.
Associated with the colour white, Holi symbolizes the end of one phase and the beginning of a new tomorrow. As Holi nears us, we celebrate the return of colours on the trees, in the sunsets, the arrival of spring, the end of winter. Holi stresses the need to get rid of the impassive winters, long nights and dry skin and lackluster hair. Interestingly, traditional Holi ritual and customs step in as the perfect body-rejuvenation therapy.
Colours and the mind
Colours, as we all know, are vital for a healthy body. While immersed in the vibrant colours of Holi, our mind and body experience myriads of benefits. Bright colours like red tend to stimulate the heartbeat & breathing. Colours like Yellow and Blue don’t just bring in a calming effect on our senses but also surround us with a sense of joy and happiness.
Advantages of Holika Dhahan
Holi, like many other festivals, falls on the cusp of winters and spring. This season also exposes us to a number of bacteria and pollution in the air around us. The mutation period of winter and spring induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body Hence, the burning of Holika, the day before Holi, where many lights a bonfire that symbolizes the burning of evil, follows the tradition of walking around the fire deodorizing our environment and cleansing the body from the bacteria.
Natural and organic colours
Traditionally the Holi colours were created with naturally helpful ingredients like hibiscus flowers, henna leaves, Kesar, sandalwood and more. These natural colours are not just good for your skin, hair and eyes but even cleanse and clear the dead skin. Ingredients such as these are used in Ayurveda for rejuvenating the body and giving it a healthy glow. Red colour is energizing and stimulate heart functions and breathing. Yellow has a soothing effect on organs especially the intestines and blue has a calming and tranquilizing effect on our body and senses.
Cool, energizing drinks
Wake up from our chilling winter slumber, our body needs more than just a cold shower. Renowned Holi drinks like Thandai and Kaanji act as great coolants and are an excellent source of anti-oxidants. Thandai, comprising of delicious milk flavour, has the goodness of almonds, watermelon seeds, fennel seeds and rose petals. While Kaanji, a traditional North Indian drink is fermented and packed with rich nutrients and fibre.
The festival of Holi also promotes good health in the southern regions of India. The morning after the burning of Holika, people put ash (Vibhuti) on their forehead. Along with that, they also mix Chandan (sandalwood paste) with the leaves and flowers from the Mango tree and consume it.
Skincare, Hair care, Nail care
As fun as the festival of colours may be, it can play havoc with your skin, hair and nails. A simple case of prevention is better than cure.
Sejal Saheta, Leading Skin Specialist, InUrSkn — Skin and Hair Clinic, Mumbai recommends before venturing out to the parties make sure that you take some basic precautions in place.
- Moisturizing your skin and lips is essential, as the moisturizer on the skin acts like a shield and prevents colours from absorbing and staining the skin.
- For your nails consider using nail paint, which is safer and also acts like a nice protective layer which can be removed at will.
- For your hair, the best method is to use oil in your hair and cover it with a bandana. This again helps shield the hair from any harmful pigments and chemicals.
- Lastly don’t forget to wear a lot of sunscreen. While playing in the sun is a lot of fun, it’s easy to lose track of time and end up getting sunburn.
But now that you have had a good time, it’s time to clean up and nurture your skin and hair back to health.
- A primary rule in skincare is to never use either strong soaps or very abrasive media for cleaning your skin. I often find that patients end up causing more damage than good with their good intentions and overzealous cleaning. As a matter of fact, too much rubbing or scrubbing can leave behind chafed skin or dry skin or dark patches which takes substantial time to heal.
- I recommend that you first cleanse your body in warm running water to remove any loose particles or colours and then soap up with a very mild soap or body wash, making sure you do not rub or scrub too hard. Make sure you pay attention to areas which are more susceptible to lodgement of colours like under and around your nails.
- You may repeat this procedure once more if you desire but with the same amount of love and care.
- Pat dry your skin once done with a soft towel and then moisturise your entire body and also apply a lip balm generously.
- Also, avoid any exposure to strong cleansers or abrasive procedures like facials over the next few days.
- Do not scrub harsh shampoos into your scalp, all that can happen with this is that there will be chafing or dryness, further complicating things.
- Always first cleanse with warm running water and then reach out for a mild shampoo. Repeat if you are not satisfied.
- Make sure to use a conditioner for your hair after washing and rinse out the same.
- Gently dry your hair with a towel or a blow dryer in a gentle setting.
- Lastly and most importantly apply a ‘leave on serum’ generously.
- During your bath, try soaking your fingers and toes in warm water for approximately ten minutes. This eases removal of colour from your nails and also around the nails.
- Use your nail polish remover to remove the colours and the nail polish you may have applied before going out.
- Be gentle again ensuring no rigorous scrubbing. If there are stains leave them be, they shall go away with time.
- Lastly, moisturize your hands and even your nails… yes even your nails!
- One thing I strongly suggest is absolutely no manicures or pedicures on the same day or the next. Wait for at least four to five days before heading to the spa.
Ideas for Fresh Organic Scrubs, Cleansers and Toners on Holi
Turmeric Ginger Scrub
The BodyCafe Turmeric Ginger Face and Body Scrub gently exfoliates dead skin off your body, stimulates blood circulation, improves skin elasticity and gives your skin a healthy glow. The Turmeric and Ginger essential oils bring therapeutic and antiseptic properties. The emollient rich oils such as Rosehip seed oil, Cold pressed Avocado oil, Almond oil, Extra virgin Olive oil and Jojoba work towards nourishing your skin, giving it deep moisturisation. As a result, it effectively pulls out deep impurities, grime and dirt from your skin that is accumulated due to harsh holi colours. Lakadong Chyrmit or Turmeric is a special variety of turmeric from a place called Lakadong, in Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya.
Bamboo Charcoal Face Wash
This has been specially crafted to draw out impurities, toxins and remove dead skin cells. A beautiful concoction of Tea Tree, Activated Bamboo Charcoal powder, Veg Glycerine, Aloe Vera extract and Wheat protein, our signature face wash promotes cell regeneration and increases blood circulation that brings a refreshing glow to your skin.
Tea Tree Pore Minimising Toner
BodyCafe Tea Tree pore minimising Toner works diligently towards improving your skin texture, preventing sagging of skin and building skin elasticity. It calms any kind of skin irritation and redness. Designed by a team of experts, this toner gives deep cleans set impurities, grime and dirt of your skin making it look nourished and healthy. It effectively corrects skin pH Balance and prevents excessive sebum secretion.
Are You Wearing Lenses on Holi?
Amid all the excitement, we might just injest colours through body parts exposed, including our eyes.
While generally we are more careful about our mouths and even noses, we often tend to think that the colours are only superficially affecting the surface of the eyes and not really getting inside.
However in reality, some part of the colour or other material more often than not does manage to ‘steal into’ our eyes impacting this extremely sensitive organ.
The increased use of synthetic colours instead of natural colour in recent years makes it even more critical for people wearing contact lenses to be watchful.
How colours can affect contact lenses and eyes
For those wearing contact lenses, they should know that the lenses absorb colours. And so the colours tend to stick to the surface of the lens thereby prolonging their stay within the eyes. Given that most of these colours contain toxic chemicals, the resultant impact on eyes can be severe. The chemicals can damage or even lead to loss of epithelium, the protective covering for cornea which can have spillover effects on other eye parts. For instance, the iris of the eye can experience serious inflammation.
What should you do if you wear contact lenses on the festival of Holi?
- First, take your contact lenses off before joining in the Holi celebrations.
- Second, if you must use contact lenses and the using of which happens to be unavoidable, you can use disposable daily wear lenses. However, remember to wear new lenses once the celebrations are over.
- Third, even if you are wearing daily disposable lenses, don’t allow any powder colour or paste to get into your eyes.
- Fourth, if you have forgotten to take your lenses off and at the slightest feeling that the eyes may have taken in chemicals from the colours, you must discard the lenses immediately and get new ones which are meant for daily use only. Remember never to try cleaning the same lens and continue wearing it.
- Fifth, if possible use glasses as a substitute for contact lenses. This is because glasses maintain a distance from the actual eyes unlike lenses.
- Sixth, if any colour has entered your eyes, immediately wash them with clean water without rubbing your eyes.
- Seventh, before going out to play Holi, you could consider applying cold cream around your eyes which would help get the colour scrape off easily from the outer surface of the eyes.