Tag Archives: #acne

The Holi Edit for Skin & Hair

Holi is a popular ancient Indian festival celebrating the onset of spring, the celebration of positivity, and the triumph of goodness. Over time this festival has garnered a lot of popularity and is now celebrated in many places across the globe.

Many of us look forward to Holi, the festival of colors, with both pomp and gaiety. With these quick and easy ancient home remedies, you’ll be confident in your pre and post-Holi skincare regime.

Do it Right

“Pre-Holi we advise prepping your skin. Face oils or sheet masks offer your skin ample moisturization and hydration. Sandalwood oil, Rosehip seed oil, and Coconut oil are excellent to improve skin elasticity, while sheet masks work great for oily skin. This can also be done post Holi. Additionally, dab a damp cotton ball in freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply all over your face and wash off once dry. A sunscreen with a good SPF is always a must,” say Tanushree Ishaani D and Pooja Karegoudar, Founders, BodyCafé.

Do It Yourself

The biggest challenge post-Holi is removing the color stains and dryness. Splash your face with a lot of cold water and apply cleansing milk to remove excess colors. Follow it up with a gentle facial massage with some coconut oil, allowing it to sit on your face for a little while and wash off with a mild foaming face wash. Those with acne-prone or oily skin can substitute oil with aloe vera gel.

“We do not advise exfoliating or using scrubs on the face as it can aggravate any damage or skin irritation,” warn Ishaani & Karegoudar. “Although we do not recommend scrubs for the face, mild homemade scrubs on the body helps remove colors easily.  Natural Ubtans (homemade packs) help nourish skin from within and regain its PH balance and radiance.”


“Mix 2 tablespoons of turmeric, lemon juice, honey, and curd and apply on face and body. Another Ubtan option is applying a paste of lemon juice, ripe papaya, and a spoonful of milk powder. Ideally, packs must be kept on for at least 20-25 minutes and rinsed off with cold water. Apply generous amounts of lotion or body butter on the entire body to restore depleted moisture and nourishment,” advise Ishaani & Karegoudar.

At The Tribe Concepts, founder Amritha Gaddam suggests, “An important part while making a DIY face pack is to understand what your skin needs. Choose the ingredients that offer benefits to your skin type and know your allergies. If your skin type is dry, use hydrating ingredients like rose and aloe vera whereas if your skin type is oily, stick with ingredients like Fuller’s Earth to make the best DIY mask.”

Anita Golani of iORA

Mane Bane

One of the most common complaints is excessive hair loss after Holi.  The itching in the scalp is caused due to color debris and harsh chemicals present in the colors.

Anita Golani, Founder, iORA, a DIY Salon Kit Series explains, “Oiling your hair is a must. Make sure you generously oil your hair with coconut oil or any oil of your liking.” The main aim is to let the oil seep into your hair roots to prevent scalp allergies or damage.

“Use a leave-in conditioner or nourishing hair serum if oiling seems too much for you. Be a fashionista and wrap a bandana over your hair. You will not only look cool but also prevent the color from directly touching your hair. Going for a deep conditioning session both before and after Holi celebrations is a pretty good idea too. Wash your hair immediately after coming home post-Holi with a herbal or organic shampoo. Be thorough and make sure to take your time to wash your hair properly to remove all the residual color settled on your scalp. Cut your split ends off if you have any. The dry Holi colors tend to intensify frizziness.”

The mantra is simple – use natural products and masks for your hair and skin care. “So, pre-Holi, you can make a simple yet super nourishing hair mask by combining egg yolks, lemon juice, yogurt, amla powder, and coconut oil. Leave it for at least 40 mins. Almond oil is a great additive in place of coconut oil as it helps the colors to get off easily post-Holi,” adds Golani.

Radhika Iyer Talati of Beauty by Anahata

Take Care

The ears are prone to get infected with colored water and since the structure of the ears is a little complicated, it becomes difficult to remove residue from them. “It is important that you protect your ears by covering them with a small cotton ball. This will help keep your ears safe from any water or color entering them. The eyes must be specifically protected during Holi. I will strongly recommend that you sprinkle a few drops of rose water inside your eyes. Place a cotton pad soaked with some more rose water over your eyes and after five to ten minutes, wash your eyes with normal water and you are good to go. Rosewater is a natural coolant and its application will protect your eyes from any unnecessary eye infection,” says Radhika Iyer Talati, Founder, Beauty By Anahata.

Wear cotton clothing when you venture out and make sure you layer well, and that your clothes also cover your body completely so that no color enters your skin and damages it.

Have fun this Holi! But don’t forget your hair and skin.

Pre-Holi Care

  • Rub ice on your face before stepping out to play Holi. Rubbing an ice cube for 10 mins closes your pores so that the colors don’t seep into your skin.
  • Mix together coconut oil + castor oil + almond oil in equal quantities and massage well into your face. This super moisturizing oil blend creates a barrier between your skin and the Holi colors. Plus, it’s easier to take these colors off once you are home.
  • Do not forget to apply sunscreen on your body to prevent tanning. Wear a non-sticky, matt sunscreen that will last all day.
  • Apply two coats of dark nail paint to prevent unnecessary nail staining and cuticle concerns.
  • Keep your lips hydrated and protected from all the harmful colors by simply applying some good old petroleum jelly.

Post-Holi Care

  • Stay away from soaps and face washes as they are chemical-based and can disturb the alkaline balance of your skin. Go for organic soaps and cleansers instead.
  • Revive your skin’s health with natural face masks or DIY face packs.
  • Stay away from excessive scrubbing to remove the residual color from your skin. Try gentle methods such as oil-based clean-up and wipe the colors off your skin.
  • Apply moisturizer every night to restore the moisture sucked out because of all the toxic and dry colors.

Bindu Gopal Rao is a freelance writer and photographer from Bangalore who likes taking the offbeat path when traveling. Birding and environment are her favorites and she documents her work on www.bindugopalrao.com.
Photo by Bulbul Ahmed on Unsplash

Should South Asians Give Up Dairy?

I was raised in India as a vegetarian and our family’s diet excluded meat. We did consume a lot of dairy products, mostly milk, yogurt and ghee, and eggs if they happened to be in store-bought cakes. When I entered my teens, my skin broke out into really bad cystic acne. My mother took me to all kinds of doctors, to no avail. Finally, a naturopath suggested to me that I should try avoiding milk products. My mother would not hear of it! Among Indians, it is a long-held belief that milk products are essential for good health. However, when I moved to the US and away from my family, I decided to try avoiding milk products.  Immediately, my skin started breaking out far less. So, even before I knew what the word “vegan” meant, I became one.   

As a graduate student in the nineties, completely avoiding dairy was hard since I did not always have control over the ingredients that went into my food. I was on antibiotics for several years to keep the flare-ups under control. This was problematic. Eventually, the disease would periodically become resistant to some antibiotics and I would have to be switched to another.

Even after all the medical interventions, I found that my skin continued to react to dairy. When my life became more settled, I finally had the time and the resources to control what I ate and take care of my skin without medications. Today, I have been vegan for almost 26 years. I have remained vegan and healthy through many life events – two successful pregnancies (my gynecologists were not concerned in the least). 

Today, I look back on my cystic acne problem as a blessing in disguise.  Without this issue, I never would have found out about the health benefits of a dairy-free diet.  Over time, as the plant-based movement became more prominent, I also learned more about how cows are treated in dairy farms. Prior to this, I had the notion that cows lived idyllic lives grazing on green pastures suckling their young. 

What I’ve learned since then has horrified me. Dairy cows are continually subjected to forced insemination to stay pregnant and lactating. They live in cramped, often sordid, living quarters, and their constantly-used udders often become infected and bloody. Most distressing, they suffer the cruelty of losing their young ones who are snatched away almost immediately after giving birth. Many calves are slaughtered as babies since they are considered “waste products” of the dairy industry. I was stunned to discover the eventual fate of the mother cows; once their milk production declines, they are also sent to slaughter. A cow’s natural lifespan is 18-20 years; but after repeated impregnations and constant milking, a dairy cow is considered “spent” – the industry term for a useless cow – by the age of 3-5 years old. 

I also learned that cows produce an enormous amount of greenhouse gases, which contribute strongly to climate change. According to an article published by the BBC, in 2015, the dairy industry’s emissions were equivalent to more than 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2!  This makes up around 3.4% of the total of all human-made greenhouse gases. This means that dairy’s contribution to global warming is comparable to that of all aviation and shipping combined (which are 1.9% and 1.7% respectively)!  Also, in order to grow food for livestock, prairies, wetlands and forests are being cleared. This makes livestock raising the number one cause of deforestation, which is also a leading contributor to climate change.

So, here is my message to my fellow South Asians.

Some of you feel that dairy is an essential food for health, or maybe you possibly worry about being deficient in key nutrients such as calcium if you avoid dairy. 

What I would like you to know is that consuming dairy is absolutely unnecessary for human health.    

In fact, recent studies have linked dairy consumption with a number of major health problems, including heart disease, breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses. It is possible to get all the calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients you need while eating a healthy, balanced, and cruelty-free plant-based diet. These days, delicious non-dairy milk such as oat, hazelnut, cashew, soy, almond, and hemp, as well as non-dairy cheeses and yogurt, can be purchased from most grocery stores.  All you need to do is to try some of these non-dairy products, find the ones you like, and stick with them for about a month.  After this, your taste buds begin to adapt and you eventually lose the desire for dairy products. There are also tutorials on YouTube on how to make your own plant-based milk and yogurts at home. I urge everyone to entertain the thought of going vegan! And I know you can make it work for you. Do it for yourself, for the cows, and for our Mother Earth.   


Shailaja Venkatsubramanyan has taught information systems at San Jose State. She volunteers with the Plant-Based Advocates of Los Gatos