DIY: Make Herbal Holi Colors At Home

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Old 14-Mar-2014
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DIY: Make Herbal Holi Colors At Home

Spring season is officially here! And so is the super fun festival of Holi. What better way to mark the arrival of the happiest season of the year than with a splash of colors? The only thing though to take care of is that you don't want to end up with a rash or an allergy because of the harsh chemicals that are added in the factory produced Holi colors. They may very well be labeled 'herbal' but there's really no guarantee and chances are it would be a fake label just to push sales.

That is alright though because you can make your very own organic colors at home, without too much of a fuss. Yes, you would need to put in a little effort but that will go a long way in protecting yourself from harmful chemicals and having a safe and great time at Holi. So here's how you do it:-


You can make this color using a number of things in your kitchen. Beetroot, Cranberry, Peels of Red Pomegranate boiled in water, juice of tomatoes and carrots all diluted with enough water make for natural red color for Holi.

Or you could dry red rose petals by spreading them on newspaper. Grind these rose petals and use this red powder as `gulal`. Red Sandal Wood Powder / Raktachandan has a beautiful red colour, is extremely beneficial for the skin and is used in face packs, etc. This can be used instead of red gulal. You could also dry red hibiscus flowers in shade, crush the dry flowers and powder it to make a lovely red colour. To increase the bulk, add any flour to it.


Dried and crushed flame of the forest (Tesu) flowers can be used to make an orange powder. According to a legend, Lord Krishna used to play Holi with Tesu flowers. For fragrant yellowish-orange coloured water, the flowers are soaked overnight in water and can also be boiled.

Henna (mehendi) powder mixed with water will give a vibrant orange. Or soak a few stalks of Saffron / Kesar in 2 table spoons of water. Leave for few hours and grind to make a fine paste. Dilute with water for desired color strength.


Mix two parts of turmeric powder (haldi) with four parts of gram flour (besan) and use it as yellow gulal.
Dry petals of Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Marigold / Gainda (Tagetus erecta), and Yellow Chrysanthemums flowres in shade and crush them to obtain a fine powder. Take appropriate quantity of the powder and mix it with besan or use separately. Dry the rind of the Bael fruit (Aegle marmelos) and grind to obtain a yellow colored powder.


Slice or grate one Beetroot. Soak it in 1 litre of water for a wonderful magenta. Boil or leave overnight for a deeper shade. Dilute with some water.

Boil the peels of 10-15 pink onions in half a litre of water for a pinkish colour. Remove the peels before using them to remove any foul smell. You can also soak pink Kachnar flowers in water overnight or boil them for a bright pink color.

Boil some Neem leaves in water. It will give a fresh green color. With the great healing properties of Neem, playing with this blend can be very beneficial. Add a little turmeric to get a new shade.

Also, henna makes for great holi color. Use it separately or mix it with an equal quantity of any suitable flour to get a lovely and natural shade of green. Make sure to use pure henna that does not have amla mixed in it, as this would be brown in colour. You can mix it with some water also, to make fast color.

You can also use finely crushed powder of dried fenugreek (methi) or mint (pudina). Or go food friendly by mixing the paste of green leafy vegetables. Use few leaves of spinach (paalak), coriander (dhania), fenugreek (methi) or radish (mooli) in water to make green colored water. Very nutritious, indeed.

Dry and finely powder the leaves of Gulmohur tree for a green color.


The Jacaranda flowers (neeli gulmohar/jungle badam) can be dried in the shade and ground to obtain a beautiful blue powder. The flowers bloom in summers. Grind them to obtain a beautiful blue powder.

The blue Hibiscus which is found in Kerala can be dried and powdered. Or crush berries of the Indigo tree and add to water for desired color strength.


Mix juice of black grapes (angoor) or jambul (jamun) diluted with water to remove stickiness.


Coffee boiled with just water can give a brown shade. But be careful while using this because coffee and tea stains are difficult to remove from clothes. But they pose no harm to skin and hair. You could even use some cocoa and milk powder. It will appear brown. Dry or liquid, kids will love it.

Also, acacia catechu (Kattha) - which is commonly consumed with betel leaves (pan) - gives a brownish colour when mixed with water.


The most feared color on Holi can be made completely harmless. Boil dried fruits of Amla / Indian Gooseberry in an iron vessel and leave overnight. Dilute with water and use. No need to say, your hair will mightily benefit from this concoction too!

Here's wishing you all a fun filled, colorful and safe Holi!

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