How to make Natural colours
Use mehendi / henna powder, separately or mix with equal quantity of any
suitable flour to attain a lovely green shade.
Make use only pure mehendi and not the one mixed with amla (meant to be
applied to our hair) as this would be brown in colour. Dry mehendi will not
leave colour on your face as it can be easily brushed off. Only when it is a
paste (i.e. it is mixed in water) will it leave a slight colour on your
face. Thus, it can be used as a pucca / fast colour.
Many people like smearing other person's hair with colours. How about doing
it with mehendi powder and saving a trip to the parlour?
Dry and finely powder the leaves of Gulmohur (Delonix regia) tree for a
Crush the tender leaves of the Wheat plant to obtain a natural safe green
- Mix two teaspoons of mehendi in one litre of water. Stir well.
- Green colour can also be obtained by mixing a fine paste of
leaves like spinach / palak, coriander / dhaniya, mint / pudina,
tomato leaves, etc. in water.
Mix two teaspoons of haldi / Turmeric powder with double quantity of besan
(gram flour). Haldi and besan are extremely healthy for our skin, and are
also used widely as a ubtan while taking bath.
You can use the ordinary haldi or "kasturi" haldi which is very
fragrant and has enhanced therapeutic effects. Besan can be substituted by
atta, maida, rice flour, arra rot (ground nut) powder, fuller's earth
(multani mitti) and even talcum powder.
Flowers like Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Marigold / Gainda (Tagetus erecta),
Yellow Chrysanthemums, Black Babul (Acacia arabica) yield different shades
of yellow. Dry the petals of these flowers in shade and crush them to obtain
a fine powder. Mix appropriate quantity of the powder with besan, etc. or
Dry the rind of the Bael fruit (Aegle marmelos) and grind to obtain a
- Add one teaspoon of haldi to two litres of water and stir well.
This can be boiled to increase the concentration of colour and
- Soak Amaltas (Cassia fistula) or Marigold / Gainda (Tagetus
erecta) flowers in water. Boil and leave overnight.
- Red Sandal Wood Powder / Raktachandan / Lalchandan (Pterocarpus
santalinus) 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.
- Dry red hibiscus flowers in shade and powder to make a lovely red
colour. To increase the bulk add any flour to it
- Sinduria, called Annato in English has a water chestnut shaped
fruit which contains lovely brick colour red seeds. These yield both
dry and wet colours.
Extracting red from flower petals
- Put 2 teaspoons of Red Sandal wood powder in a litre of water and
boil. Dilute and use.
- Peels of Red Pomegranate boiled in water give red.
- For a bright orangish-red, mix thoroughly a pinch of chuna / lime
powder (the one that we eat with our paan / betel leaves) with 2
spoons of haldi/ turmeric powder and a few drops of water. Use only
after diluting with 10 litres of water.
- Buras (Rhododendron arboreum) known as Burans in the Garhwal
hills and Brans in the Kumaon hills gives a lovely red colour when
soaked in water overnight.
- Red hibiscus flowers soaked in water overnight give a red which
also has medicinal value.
- The Palita Madar / Pangri / Indian Coral tree/ (Erythrina
indica), found commonly in coastal regions, has large red flowers.
Soak the flowers in water overnight.
- Boil wood of Madder Tree in water for a deep red.
- Red colour can also be obtained from juice of tomatoes and
carrots. This can be diluted with sufficient quantity of water to
remove the stickiness.
- The Jacaranda flowers can be dried in the shade and ground to
obtain a beautiful blue powder. The flowers bloom in summers.
- The blue Hibiscus which is found in Kerala can be dried and
powdered just like the red hibiscus
Crush the berries (fruits) of the Indigo plant and add to water for desired
colour strength. In some Indigo species the leaves when boiled in water
yield a rich blue.
- Slice or grate one Beet root. Soak in 1 litre of water for a
wonderful magenta. Boil or leave overnight for a deeper shade.
- Boil the peels of 10 - 15 pink Onions in half litre of water for
an orangish-pink colour. Remove the peels before using to remove the
- Soak Kachnar (Bauhinia variegata) flowers (pink variety) in water
overnight, or boil for a pinkish colour.
- The Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma), known as Tesu,
Palash or Dhak in vernacular languages, is the source of the
wonderful, traditional colour for Holi. The flowers are soaked
overnight in water and can also be boiled to obtain a fragrant
yellowish - orange colored water.
The dried flowers can be dried and powdered for a orange powder.
Legend says that Lord Krishna used to play Holi with Tesu
flowers, and the flowers also have a lot of medicinal
properties. Tesu blooms during month of March.
- Boil flower petals of red variety of Semul / Silk Cotton (Bombax
ceiba ) in water.
- Collect and dry the stalks of Harashringar / Parijatak
(Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) flowers during the early winter season.
Soak them in water to get a pleasant coloured orange.
- Mix a pinch of Sandalwood powder from Ujjain (also used in our
temples) in one litre of water for an instant, beautiful and
fragrant saffron colour.
- 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 colour strength. Though expensive, it is excellent
for our skin.
- Kattha (Acacia catechu), the one eaten in pan, when mixed with
water will give a brownish colour.
- Boil Tea or Coffee leaves in water. Cool and use.
- Boil dried fruits of Amla / Indian Gooseberry in an iron vessel
and leave overnight. Dilute with water and use.
- Extract juice of black grapes and dilute with sufficient quantity
of water to remove stickiness