PurColour Celebration Powder (Gulal/Holi) FAQ

Q:        How can you estimate how much PurColour Celebration Powder you will need?

A:         If your event is mainly for a younger crowd, we typically recommend 4 oz. for each participant and spectator.  If you would like an end of event color toss, we recommend and additional 4 oz. per participant.

Q:        Should I use PurColour Celebration Powder indoors or outdoors?

A:        We recommend outdoor usage only in well ventilated areas .  This is due to the dust and cleanup factor.

Q:        Does PurColour Celebration Powder powder stain?

A:         PurColour Celebration Powder can stain cloths and the skin.  Typical machine washing, with stain remover, removes the stains.  We recommend ‘blow out’ stations, (ie leaf blower stations) where the participants can get excess powder blown off before they leave the event.  Removal of excess powder is recommended before applying any water. Normal liquid dish detergent and/or de-greaser will remove PurColour Celebration Powder from paved areas. Power washers also assist in the removal of powder from paved areas.

Q:        Is PurColur Celebration Powder environmental friendly?

A:         PurColour Celebration Powder is made from cornstarch and FD&C colorants.  It can be easily washed or blown from event areas.  Other gulal made from non FD&C colorants may impact the environment.

Q:        Can we request a custom color?

A:         We can create most custom colors.  A sample color swatch can be emailed and we can make a sample color for your approval.

Q:        I have seen other color runs, and their colors appear to be more vibrant.  Why is PurColour Celebration Powder less vibrant?

A:         The majority of gulal and holi powders are made in India.  India has a rich history and strong customs focusing on vibrant colors.  Many colors represent religious holidays and celebrations.   In general, India prefers dark and deep pigments.  At PurColour, we fundamentally do not believe in the excess usage of synthetic colors.  

Gulal, made in India, can be made to the specifications of the client.  Typical India gulal contains much, much, more colorant, compared to PurColour Gulal and is made with industrial pigments. 

Keep in mind that industrial dyes and pigments are used to color textiles, ink, paint and plastics. Most of the holi and gulal manufactures in India primary line of business is the manufacturing and distribution of industrial dyes and pigments.  Most industrial dyes and pigments are not intended to be inhaled, ingested or exposed to eyes and skin.  

Q:        What does FD&C stand for?

A:         FD&C stands for Food, Drugs and Cosmetics.  The only colors used in PurColour Celebration Powder are approved by US FDA for food consumption, drug and external cosmetics.

Q:        How can I be sure the gulal I purchase uses FDA certified colorants?

    • Do not confuse certified colors with their uncertified counterparts. For example, FD&C Yellow No. 5 is the certified form of tartrazine, and is approved for use in food, drugs and cosmetics- generally. But tartrazine, which has not undergone FDA analysis and received FDA certification, must not be substituted for or identified in an ingredient declaration as FD&C Yellow No. 5.
    • Do not confuse certified colors with colors identified only by a Colour Index (CI) number, or by the E number sometimes used in European color identification. 
Q:        What is the major difference between how the USA FDA and India view food colorant additives?
A:         Both view food colorant as a food additive.  In the US, FDA mandates that each color be certified and placed on the ingredient list of food, drugs and cosmetics. 

The following is an excerpt  from the MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE Food Safety and Standards Authority of India;  ”extraneous addition of colouring matter to be mentioned on the label – Where an extraneous colouring matter has been added to any article of food, there shall be displayed one of the following: statements in capital letters, just beneath the list of the ingredients on the label attached to any package of food so coloured, namely:





Provided that where such a statement is displayed along with the name or INS no of the food colour, the colour used in the product need not be mentioned in the list of ingredients.”

Q:        What is food safe colorant or edible grade colorant?

A:         Food safe colorant and edible grade are vague phrases used to imply safe for human consumption. Please beware the USA FDA does not consider several food colorants as safe.  There are no worldwide standards in place.  Each country has their own standards.  What is acceptable in one country, may not be acceptable in another country. 

Below is a link to the FDA website: Summary of Color Additives for Use in the United States in Foods, Drugs, Cosmetics, and Medical Devices


Q:        Is gulal regulated?

A:         No. Gulal is not considered a food item or cosmetic.

Q:       Are there any FD&C colorants that are fluorescent or glow in the dark?

A:         There are NO fluorescent or glow in the dark color additives approved for FOOD usage.  However, there are colorants approved for cosmetic usage.

Fluorescent colors: Only the following fluorescent colors are approved for use in cosmetics, and there are limits on their intended uses: D&C Orange No. 5, No. 10, and No. 11; and D&C Red No. 21, No. 22, No. 27, and No. 28 [21 CFR 74.2254, 74.2260, 74.2261, 74.2321, 74.2322, 74.2327, and 74.2328].

Below is a link to the FDA standards and usage restrictions.


Glow-in-the-dark colors: Luminescent zinc sulfide is the only approved glow-in-the-dark color additive (cosmetics) [21 CFR 73.2995] and there are limits and restrictions to use.

Below is a link to the FDA standards and usage restrictions.


Q:       Will PurColour produce fluorescent or glow in the dark gulal?

A:         We currently do not produce fluorescent or glow in the dark gulal.   However, you can add colorants to our standard product to customize for your own purpose.  We would recommend use of goggles and masks during usage.

Q:       I have seen photos of glow in the dark gulal?  How is this possible?

A:         Since gulal is technically not a food or cosmetic some manufactures add industrial pigments, which are intended for paints and other manufactured items.  

Q:       Do you have any suggestions on how to make safe glow in the dark color celebrations?

A:         Ordinary tonic water contains quinine. Quinine is a chemical compound that occurs naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree, which is grown in the tropical forests of South America.  Quinine was originally used to treat malaria.  It is no longer used for the treatment of malaria.  Quinine has a very unique property; it glows in the dark.  Since tonic water contains quinine, it also glows in the dark (under UV lighting).

If you would like a unique color celebration, color ordinary tonic water with food coloring and fill super soaker water guns.  Use indoors or outdoors under UV lighting and you will have glow in the dark color event.