Save your hair and skin from turning into a shade-card this Holi!

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Love colours, gujiyas, bhang and those famous Bollywood numbers, but still can’t get yourself to love Holi? For all those of you who hate turning into a pink panther, here are a few simple tips to keep your hair and skin from turning into an assortment of colour this Holi!

Hair care tips:
* Protect your hair with a hair cream containing sunscreen. Just in case you can’t manage one at the last minute, go for hair serums. Says Shahnaz Hussain, chief executive officer, Shahnaz Herbals Inc, “Apply leave-on conditioner or hair serum on hair before playing Holi. This protects the hair from the effects of sun exposure and dryness caused by colours.”

* Shampoo and condition your hair both before and after playing with colours. This keeps the hair shafts strong and minimises the damage caused by the colours. Dr Mukesh Girdhar, senior consultant, dermatology, at Delhi’s Max Super Speciality Hospital, recommends a gentle and good conditioner. “A gentle shampoo and a good conditioner gives your hair the care and strength it requires and counteract the loss of nutrients caused by the colours.”

* Oil and massage your hair with coconut or olive oil to save your hair from the ill-effects of getting wet and coloured with chemicals. Says cosmetologist and aesthetician Bharti Taneja, also the founder-director of ALPS Beauty Clinic, “Once you are done oiling your hair, go for styles like messy Dutch, French braid or Korean bun. You can also add funky bandanas to protect your mane.”

* If you’ve coloured your hair only recently, head hair expert Deepti Vaz of Advanced Hair Studio has a number of solutions. “For bleached or highlighted hair, use a colourant shampoo since it doesn’t have sulphate, which can be harmful for coloured hair especially when it’s been subject to other chemical colours too. And for the last rinse, add lemon juice into the water. This helps restore the acid-alkaline balance of the scalp.”

Skin care tips:
* Avoid facials/bleaches a few days before Holi. Dr Sunil Sanghi, senior dermatology consultant at Gurgaon’s Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), suggests “wearing water resistant sunscreen” to help minimise the ill effects.

* To get rid of stubborn colours, here’s help from Dr Rameshwar Gutte, dermatologist at Mumbai’s Dr. L. H. Hiranandani Hospital. “Wash the colors gently with lukewarm water and moisturising mild glycerin based soap,” he says.

* You could also try some home-made concoctions. Says Ishika Taneja, executive director, Alps Cosmetic Clinic: “Take besan, orange juice, 2 tbsp choker, 1tbsp sandalwood powder, 1 tbsp rice wheat along with some poppy seeds (khus-khus) along with little turmeric, and 1 tbsp olive oil to scrub your body. This will clean your skin naturally.”

* It is also important to apply a good amount of moisturiser to your skin, specially face and exposed areas before you go out to play colours. If you experience any sensation/itching/rash on your skin wash it off immediately and apply moisturiser. If severe, consult a dermatologist. Says Dr Verinder Anand, internal medicine consultant at Delhi’s Moolchand Medcity: “In case you end up with rashes, itches or any such reactions, apply calamine lotion and consult a skin specialist. Avoid using harsh chemicals to remove strains as they will further dry your skin. And refrain from excessive scrubbing. Let the color fade away on its own.”

* But we say, it is always advisable to take precautions. Wear comfortable clothes that cover you up to protect maximum parts of your body from colours. And about the parts you can’t hide there is always vaseline/petroleum jelly to your rescue! Simply apply jelly around your nails, feet, elbows and behind your ears to avoid colour clogging.

* Also try and avoid sitting in the hot sun, with the colours still on your face or body, especially if you have used chemical colours. This makes the colours stronger and difficult to wash off. Sit in a shade even if you are outdoors. Says skin expert and homeopath physician Dr Karuna Malhotra, from Delhi’s Cosmetic Skin and Homeo Clinic, “Use more of red or pink colours, which can be taken off easily. Gaudy ones like purple, green, yellow and orange have more harmful chemicals in them and should be avoided.”

* Beware of internal effects also. Says Dr Rohit Batra, dermatologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, “Don’t just play with water but also drink a lot of water as colours contains a lot of harsh chemicals that leave your skin dry. Drinking enough liquid before and after playing Holi will replenish the water levels in the body.”

A few other expert tips:
* Rub a piece of papaya especially on coloured areas of the face and body.
* Do not use kerosene, petrol or spirits to remove stains as this will harm your skin. Applying a paste of lemon juice and fine salt will help take off stains from teeth.

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