HOW TO: Have An Organic Holi This Year [And Stay Safe From Chemicals]

Posted on March 6, 2012 in Environment, Specials

By Nitum Jain:

Just a couple of days from Holi, and the Indian markets are inundated with colours. Be it the mounds of gulaal in all vibrant colours possible, or the towering mountains of sweets with even more variation in the colouring! This is one Indian festival that can be called a day of just pure, unadulterated fun. But the fun element kept aside, none of us really enjoy the aftermath when we go to our schools, colleges or offices with pink ears, green scalp, red nail-beds and itchy rashes all over. So let’s ditch the chemical-based colours this year and go organic!

The organic colours are made flower petals, arrowroot powder, food grade colours and natural fragrances. The cheap chemical counterparts can cause several skin-diseases, from rashes to skin cancer, and have resulted in several cases of eye-allergies every year on this day. The organic colours, on the other hand, are skin-friendly and edible, and cause zero harm to even the most sensitive skin-types. Not only do they keep you skin-coloured and rash-free, they also keep the environment clean! As we know, massive amount of water is used this time every year; the synthetic colours pollute the water severely and the treatment of this water becomes a near-impossible task, hence leading to wastage of water. But organic colours, being all natural, eliminate that problem altogether.

What’s even better is that you can make organic colours yourself! Here are some homemade recipes we have to offer:

Red: You can use red sandalwood powder, vermillion (sindoor), dried rose petals or grated beetroot (chukunder). Even red hibiscus, dried and powdered can produce a nice ruby-red shade.
Green: Take some dried henna leaves and ground them to powder. But beware of this one; if the colour gets wet then you get tattooed orange for at least a week or two.
Blue: Flowers like jacaranda or blue hibiscus, when powdered, produce a rich blue colour.
Yellow: Turmeric and gram flower (besan) can create a beautiful yellow-gold colour; this can also be achieved by substituting any of the ingredients with powder of dried marigolds (gainda) and fuller’s earth (multani mitti).
Orange: Lord Krishna played Holi with tesu flowers, you can too! Dried and powdered, tesu flowers mixed with sandalwood powder give a beautiful sweet-smelling orange colour.

With the rising awareness, organic colours are easily available in the market as well. They are a tad more expensive as compared to the synthetic ones (do not get duped by the cheap ones- they are not organic, just pretending to be so) with a price range starting from  Rs. 60 to Rs. 200 per 100 gram, depending on the brand. They can also be bought online easily from sites such as, and

Prevention is always an option, one that’s better than the cure, so be sure to celebrate the festival in a clean and safe manner, by not getting carried away in the fun. Prepare before-hand: oil your scalp and moisturize your skin before going out to play. Watch out for bhang in the glasses of thandai passed around if you are underage; otherwise, ask someone to keep tab on the number of glasses you down. You won’t like it when people recount the time you danced drunkenly to ‘Rang Barse’ thinking you can pass of as cool as Big B; trust me, that won’t die down. Also, water balloons- Not cool. You are no more a kid, and you know that they hurt.

This festival also sees a lot of libertinism practiced by the ‘dudes’ of the nation, who feel that a license to licentiousness has been issued to them for the day. So all the ladies of the nation, Be Vigilant and do not let anyone make you feel uncomfortable under the ruse of festive celebration.

This is one day when we let go and participate, regardless of age, gender or class differences; let’s all be enjoy the day, but also be responsible on our part. Team YKA wishes all of you a very happy and safe Holi!