New Delhi: Holi, the festival of colours, is fun as we paint the town in hues of the rainbow. But, at the same time, your hair, skin and eyes have to brave the chemicals those pretty colours contain. Experts suggest that a pre- and post-Holi regime can be a boon and save you from allergies if followed properly.
To start with pre-care, you cannot afford to ignore your earlobes and nails. Preeti Seth, cosmetologist at Pachouli Wellness Clinic, and dermatologist Aparna Santhanam suggest applying oil in and around your ear lobes and placing a small ball of cotton into your ears before you go out to play so that your inner ear is well protected.
Seth said: "Always clip your nails because there is no way that you can protect your nails if they are long; and apply a dark nail paint to protect your nails. Colours will come off easily when you remove nail polish."
To prevent colours from clogging the pores, Seth says it's best to avoid shaving 2-3 days before.
Jyotsana Makkar, the in-house Ayurvedic doctor for Kama Ayurveda, suggests application of almond oil on your face and other exposed parts of body and hair -- and braid your hair if possible.
"Besides being a nourishment agent with high levels of vitamin E, almond oil also forms a protective layer on your skin and hair and saves you from the damage of chemical colour," says Makkar.
Amit Karkhanis, a medical cosmetologist at Dr Tvacha Clinic, says using coconut oil on your entire body before you step out to play Holi will act as a moisturiser and an anti-inflammatory, and prevent sun damage. And as it contains vitamins A, B and E, it will also help nourish your skin.
A common suggestion by all the experts is that a good sunscreen, with an SPF factor of at least 40, is a must-do, just half an hour before leaving the house.
"Expecting mothers can opt for a pomegranate or jojoba oil as these natural oils are safe to use on the face and protect pores," says Shubhika Jain from RAS Luxury Oils.
Do not neglect your hair on the occasion, which somehow many forget about and then repent.
One must do deep champi (massage) in the days preceding Holi to prepare the hair and scalp for the festival. You can also apply a layer of hair serums after wash to protect it from colours and sun," added Jain.
Dermatologist Rashmi Shetty suggests different tips for different kinds of hair textures.
"For straight hair, apply a new age coconut oil that has ingredients like jasmine as it known to strengthen the hair and make it less prone to breakage even after too much exposure to colours," she said.
Curly hair needs extra care, so Shetty suggests taking a generous amount of coconut-based oil and applying it to your scalp and the length of your hair before you go out to play.
Post-Holi, it is not exactly a cake walk to get rid of the tough colours and its imperative to swipe off the several coatings of oils and sunscreen that were layered onto your hair and skin.
Makkar suggests an ubtan soap-free body cleanser which is made up of natural ingredients like turmeric, fenugreek, sandalwood, neem, oatmeal and more.
"You will need to shampoo a couple of times to remove all traces of colour. Wash your hair with a very mild shampoo daily to get rid of residual colour and dirt. Follow this with an application of warm oil. This will help restore and rejuvenate your hair, nourishing it back to health," said Shetty.
"Do not be tempted to use antiseptic liquids to remove colours as they can aggravate the skin further," she added.
Seth suggests that if the colour is too harsh, apply lemon wedges to that area as the stains will lighten.
Lastly, it may not have occurred to you but your eyes are the most vulnerable when it comes to the effects of Holi.
Sameer Kaushal, Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist at Tattvan eclinics, says it is crucial to always cover your eyes while playing with colours as they contain toxic substances which may cause irritation, pain, watering in eyes and may even cause blurriness for many days."
"Avoid touching eyes frequently. If you feel any irritation in eyes, immediate remedy is to clean eyes with normal running water for 10-15 minutes to wash out all the toxic chemicals from the eye. Avoid using contact lens while playing Holi."