Kumkuma is a powder used for social and religious markings in India. It is made from turmeric or any other local materials. The turmeric is dried and powdered with a bit of slaked lime, which turns the rich yellow powder into a red color.
How our life happens is based on how our energy, body, and mind function, not on what is around you. In this culture, we created this technology as to what can be used to assist our energies towards a certain direction. But now, most women have replaced kumkum with plastic. You can apply vibhuti or kumkum or turmeric, or nothing if you do not want. It is okay if you do not apply anything, but do not apply plastic. Applying plastic is like you closed your third eye and you do not want it to open!