Saturday 19 March 2016

Pre & Post Holi Skincare & Haircare AKA Survival Guide For Holi

I was 7 years old. I was pink like a bunny.

Of course I was not born pink,I am not an alien *roll eyes* :P But once a year,everyone in India is doomed to look like an alien thanks to our wonderful festival of Holi :D Don't get me wrong, I love Holi, it is just that this beautiful festival of fun and frolic in the most innocent terms has somehow become synonymous with dirtiest colors, mud and a whole lot of unmentionables being thrown/forced on us/a whole lot of mischievousness being passed off as 'Bura na mano Holi hai' which is ridiculous. Let's preserve the dignity and integrity of the festival and celebrate it like civilized people,all right?

Anyway,this post is not about lecturing on how to or how not to celebrate Holi but rather on how to save one's skin & hair from the onslaught of what could be the most toxic revelry of the year. As I was reminiscing, I was 7 years old and someone had dumped a bucket full of the most stubborn dark pink color mixed with a bevy of other stubborn-er colors on me which resulted in me looking like a bunny. And not the happy goofy kind either. I looked like a psychedelic rock experiment gone wrong, a sort of Frankenstein monster. And this continued for next WHOLE WEEK! Needless to say,I was scarred and refused to get out of home next year for Holi. That stink,that smell and that constant scrubbing to get that horrible color out of my skin pores (and hair!) is something I will never forget. 

Over the years however, thankfully, I have become a bit wiser and know now how to save myself from that horrible experience. First step is of course -CHOOSE friends wisely :D I don't play Holi with people who will throw bricks or industrial paints on each other (Yes,there are people who do this in the name of 'fun'!). Holi is celebrated with those who only play with organic,natural colors that are easy to wash off and do not leave behind a stink :) Still, my skin is ultra sensitive and instantly breaks into rashes, so I take some extra steps to bullet-proof it,so to speak :D

  • No waxing or get facial or hair spa to be done Pre Holi. No need of opening up the pores of my skin when all it is going to do is help the colors absorb deeper :P
  • Got some amazing scarves a couple of years ago just for this purpose, to help cover my hair and arms and neck as much as possible while we are out on the streets. It helps massively! The best thing is,these scarves (when I bought them) were pearly white and now they have become kitschy thanks to the onslaught of all the colors. Thinking of auctioning them off to a museum in near future :D
  • OILING is the most important ritual on the day of Holi. Sesame and Coconut Oils are my weapons of choice. This is one day nobody should be caring about the chip-chip feeling, in fact, the more the merrier :D I simply take fistfuls of oils and cover my whole scalp, head and full body till I am shimmering like a golden superhero. All the colors simply glide off my body later on. No scrubbing needed unless it is really stubborn :)
  • Petroleum Jelly i.e good old Vaseline comes to the rescue especially on lips and nails. A thick coat and no color settles there,which means no itching which is what happens to ultra-sensitive skinned people like me otherwise!
  • A great tip that my college best friend gave me for nails is to apply a thick layer of dark blue or black color before applying Vaseline and later on simply wipe it off. It truly does not let any color/gulal/paint reach the nail bed. At all! It also gives a beautiful Goth edge to the Holi revelry :D
  • To protect eyes, especially for people like me who have to use glasses or contact lenses on a regular basis or we are practically blind, Sunglasses are a must. One year I forgot to put on sunglasses and my contacts got weirdly messed up,not to mention I had red eyes for the next 5 days with intense burning sensation too!
  • Post Holi, a long shower is essential but before that use another layer of oil on body to try and take out the colors without much scrubbing. I use almond oil here,it takes off almost 60-70% of colors and rest I can easily wash off with my favorite The Body Shop Satsuma Body Polish :) For Hair, I shampoo twice with my favorite Khadi Neem Shampoo and then condition liberally with any good conditioner such as Wella Enrich. Finally,applying a layer of Aloe Vera gel all over the body and face helps calm it down and prevent any lasting redness/irritation or itchiness :)
So there you go,some simple PLUS tried & tested effective ways to enjoy Holi without letting it become a gigantic pain in the you-know-where for skin & hair :D

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