DIY: How to Make Sindoor/ Kungumam /KumKum at Home

Wearing sindoor/ kungumam/ kumkum is a part of Hindu culture. I love to apply sindoor, though I apply it only for occasions and use liquid bindi on a day to day basis. I have always seen my elders wear sindoor/kumkum.

My maternal grandmother used to wear a big sindoor on her forehead daily, till my grand father passed away. I love to wear it when I am traditionally dressed in a saree or when I am visiting a temple. Usually sindoor is applied on the forehead and in the parting line of the hair.

In the parting line of the hair, we usually apply it as it is, but on the forehead a special paste called “Kumkum paste” is applied and then we apply the sindoor on top of it. Applying the kumkum paste and then applying sindoor makes the sindoor to stick nicely on the forehead. It is very easy to make sindoor at home.

It is just a mixture of slaked lime and turmeric paste, the same mixture that we use for making “Arathi” in ceremonies. When you mix slaked lime into the turmeric paste, it turns a bright red. You can either mix it fresh or dry and store it. In my personal experience, mixing fresh wet slaked lime with organic turmeric powder gives the best red color and it is exactly how I like to make it.

The mixture can be used immediately without the kumkum paste. But if you want to make a large batch and want to store it, mix the turmeric powder and slaked lime along with little water to a smooth paste. Now all you have to do is wait for the mixture to dry. Once dry, break the clumps and you will have chemical free kumkum.

This dried mixture is not as bright red and it will have an orange tinge to it, as seen in the main picture. Add a few drops of lemon juice to form a paste. When you add lemon juice, it turns bright red again. You can apply the paste as it is, since it is wet, it sticks perfectly. Don’t worry if you don’t get perfect circle the first time, with practice you will get perfect round kumkum on the forehead each time.

How To Make Sindoor At Home:

1.This is slaked lime and in India it is sold as a wet paste, sealed in small packets.

2. You can mix the wet paste with little organic turmeric powder till you there is no moisture left and you have beautiful dark red sindoor/kumkum. I prefer to make it like that, as it is exactly like store bought one. If you are planning to store it, mix the turmeric powder with slaked lime and little water to get a smooth mixture.

3. Mix well till they are mixed well. Spread the mixture on a plate and let it dry.

4.Once dry, break the lumps. You can even sieve the mixture too. The dried mixture will have an orange tinge. To use, just mix with little lime juice, it will turn red again.


  • Don’t add too much of water, it will take a long time to dry.
  • The dried powder will have an orange tinge, this is normal. But it will turn red, once you add a few drops of lemon juice.
  • Mixing both turmeric powder and wet slaked lime fresh, gives the best results. You can store them both in separate jars and mix whenever required. I recommend this method.


  1. Anonymous
    July 9, 2014 / 7:53 am

    It is really worth of making natural kum kum . Thanks a lot . Like this can we make liquid kum kum like shringar ?

  2. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    July 10, 2014 / 6:05 am

    Hi, we make liquid bindi differently, I will try posting it soon…..

  3. Sp Kiran
    August 11, 2014 / 4:31 pm

    Hi Ramya. could you pls let us know how to make liquid kumkum. my email add is thx

  4. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    August 12, 2014 / 3:37 am

    Kiran, I will try posting it on the blog very soon……………..

    • Anonymous
      December 24, 2014 / 4:46 pm

      Hi… I came across your blog and I really like all the natural remedies.. Thank you so much for all the information.. Could you please tell us how to make the liquid kumkum… I'm really eager to know it..

  5. Atulesh Gupta
    December 14, 2014 / 10:13 am

    very good thank U

  6. Rengasamy Ramaswami
    July 13, 2015 / 4:41 am

    Dear Sir,Sindhoor and Kunkumam are different. For Sindhoor you are right. For Kunkumam lime juice is used.

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2015 / 1:49 am

      What's the difference between Sindhoor and kungumam? I'm not clear. One uses slaked lime the other will not use slaked lime at all only the lime juice and thus has to be made fresh each time?

  7. HussainiBrahmin
    September 13, 2015 / 7:37 pm

    True,please differentiate between Sindur and Kumkum.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 20, 2015 / 5:39 pm

      Sindur and kumkum are same. Sindoor is North Indian name and kungumam | kumkum is South Indian name. Though there are various methods of making them, they all denote that the women wearing it is married. One of my aunt makes it differently and the recipe produces red kumkum (I will post about it soon). Though there are different recipes, they all are called either kumkum or sindoor….

  8. Diana Varghese
    October 6, 2015 / 4:33 am

    Hello Remya… that was a really helpful post. Thank you so much. Will u pls. update the red sindhoor recipe? I am more inclined to red than orange.. 🙂 Thank you once again.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 8, 2015 / 4:46 pm

      It has been on my to do list for a long time, I will update within a few days after confirming with my aunt again..

  9. Hardik dodiya
    December 8, 2015 / 2:35 am

    Thank you…. it helps me a lot.

  10. Anonymous
    December 27, 2015 / 1:57 am

    -instead of slaked lime can we just use lime fruit juice to make it fresh but it can't be stored? or slaked lime is a must whether made fresh or stored?-which is the best turmeric to use virali or gundu?-if virali manjil is sundried will it turn red on its own without the slaked lime or lime juice?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      January 11, 2016 / 3:41 pm

      Slaked lime is a must to make this homemade kumkum. I use gundu manjal and virali manjal will not turn red without slaked lime and lime juice….

  11. Coral crue
    April 14, 2016 / 8:58 pm

    amazing! i was looking for this recipe

  12. Danielle Noriega Lee
    May 19, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    How do you make the kum kum paste stick to idols?Do we add water?

    • Anonymous
      October 12, 2017 / 5:48 pm

      yes, add a little water.

  13. Anonymous
    May 25, 2016 / 11:01 pm

    i am young and have very deep lines, dimples or wrinkles on my forehead. what is the cause and how to remove them so the forehead appears smooth and free from these?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 7, 2016 / 7:14 am

      Deep lines could be due to the hereditary, repeated facial expressions, lack of sleep and stress will all cause fine lines very soon. Good hydration, stress free life, regular exercise along with regular skin care will greatly help, try oatmeal face mask from the blog weekly twice…

  14. Anonymous
    September 9, 2016 / 4:57 pm

    Has anybody who has an allergy to gopuram kumkum developed allergy to this home made kumkum? Please let me know Ma'am.

  15. Anonymous
    November 30, 2016 / 4:19 pm

    Hi please post the recipe for liquid bindi. Thanks!

  16. madhavi
    March 25, 2017 / 1:58 am

    Ramya ji, did you ever posted the reds sindoor recipe? i can't seem to find it, if not could you please post it. Thank you, love your website

  17. Anonymous
    November 3, 2017 / 4:01 am

    Great DIY project! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Anonymous
    April 16, 2018 / 7:40 pm

    Hi,Can you please post the recipe for red Sindoor recipe, not able to find it in the blog. Thanks.

  19. Maria Perryman
    August 16, 2019 / 6:02 am

    hello i have made this recipe but I live in US and cannot find slake lime. I have used baking soda.. and it turned bright red.. my question is. why does it not stain. red.. I have seen in india where they make this and add a metal pot full of sugar and coffee or coconut shells and the distilled water of these items are then harvested and mixed in .. they do mehendi sindoor and wash off and hands are and feet are bright red.

  20. July 15, 2022 / 1:47 am

    I tried to make your Rose Facial Cream and it did not work. No matter how much whisking I did. I even pulled out the electric hand mixer and nothing. So disappointed.

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