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Celebrating Holi might just be tricky this year when you’ve managed to pin down a good skincare routine, shipped down some great products and went extensive on your routine with AHAs/BHAs and Vitamin C.

But Holi has to be played and your routine needs a few small changes to make sure your skin stays on the right side of happy even with all those organic colours. We give you 5 simple tricks that will help you prep and prepare your skin for the colour onslaught while keeping it safe from irritation and break-outs. We asked Jamuna Pai, renowned aesthetic physician, author, and founder of SkinLab to give us a few tips and she gave us her mandate.



Make sure you start with fresh skin – while Holi colours are known to irritate your skin and cause extreme dryness, you need to always make sure you double-cleanse first. Use a good balm that removes grime and makeup like the Clinique Take The Day Off Balm and slather your face nicely and the paste emulsifies into a beautiful oil and rids your face of all the dirt and pollution-induced irritation. Use a mild face wash to keep the face fresh and clean. Oils are a great way to keep your skin  hydrated, cleansed and taut. They also make sure the layering helps so they colour won’t stay on top of your face for longer.

Double cleanse oils: Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Oil; Perenne Cleansing Oil and Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil

Layering your products


Follow the correct path to layering with the thinnest texture first (aka toner) to the thickest, the sunscreen. And that means, toner first that helps with your pores and the extra cleanse and then, moisturiser. At this point, a serum or a spot-cleaning cream are a big no-no. Try to not acid-tone either or exfoliate with physical exfoliators too as they tend to make your skin raw and open the pores thereby. AHA/BHAs or any Salicylic or Lactic-acid laced products can be avoided too. The layering must be simple with a good Cleanse-Tone and Moisturise routine alongside a good sunscreen. “Apply an oil-free moisturising cream on the face before playing with the colour. People with normal or combination skin can apply a waterproof sunscreen on their face along with a drop of baby oil mixed in it. This will act as a barrier and protect the skin,” adds Jamuna Pai.

Sunscreen woes

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The thicker the sunscreen, the better. Use anything that is 30+ SPF or higher to make sure you are safe. Make sure you apply a good, generous amount of sunscreen. A waterproof or water-resistant formula is great. We also recommend you use a gel-based one so the colour can easily slide off . You could also carry the sunscreen with you and keep re-applying it every 2-3 hours too. If you are wearing foundation, make sure you choose one that has SPF already in it so it can add another layer to the look.

Sunscreens we love: Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50; Shiseido Sports BB WetForce SPF 50+ and L’Occitane Reine Blanche Illuminating UV Shield SPF 50

Facial oils

Facial oils

This is a great time to apply thick facial oils as the last step in the pre-Holi regime. Lighter oils like Marula or Squalene can be avoided, look for thick ones like dry oils, mustard or olive oils that are relatively thicker and add a healthier layer to your skin. Don’t forget to apply the oil on your body and your neck and ears too – sometimes harsh colours can get lodged into the nooks and crannies. Especially dry skin absorbs the chemical colours and causes irritation so make sure your body and face are well-oiled – add more layers as you go every 20 minutes so you are well-covered. Coconut oil is also a great option if you want something heavier. Acne-prone skin will benefit from almond oil as it keeps your skin hydrated in the process too. All of the oils keep your skin nourished and happy so you can head out without a worry.

Facial oils we love: L‘Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil and Kama Ayurveda Organic Sweet Almond Oil

Nail care

argan oil skincareA dark nail polish is a better bet than a lighter one because the dark hues can save your nails from damage. Make sure your nails are kept short and slather them with a Vitamin E-based nail cream. You could also use anything that has petroleum jelly so your hands are not susceptible to staining and infections. Adding on a fresh coat of transparent nail polish can add an extra layer on top so you seal in the dark colour.

Body care

Hair care

To protect your body skin from colour, wear clothes that cover most body parts. Apply oil liberally all over your body prior to exposure to the colours as it will form a protective barrier between the skin and the colour.  You can use almond or coconut oil as they are thick in texture. Thus the damage will be lessened. Use sunscreen generously on all exposed areas of your body to further protect your skin from the damage caused by the colours.

Hair care

Hair exposed to colour can become dull, dry and brittle due to the presence of synthetic dyes in the colours. Apply a good amount of oil/conditioner on your hair. Make a small bun of your hair once you are done with oiling. You can cover your hair with a dupatta/bandana which will not just offer protection but add a style quotient too.

Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.