If you want to know almost everything there is to know about henna, you’re in the right place. As I’ve browsed the internet in search of beauty tips, makeup styles and latest fashion trends, I kept coming across this beautiful deep brown body art we all call henna. The rich colors, the out of this world designs and the simple essence of it’s beauty has completely compelled me. I began to research and find out more about the uses of henna, the downsides, and the benefits. The thing’s I’ve discovered are incredible, and this post is to show you all that I’ve learn about the mysterious creation, that is, henna.
History Of Henna-
“It is thought that Mehandi originated in the deserts of India when the people living there discovered that covering their hands and feet with colored paste from the Henna plant helped them to feel cooler. It wasn’t long until a creative individual began making intricate designs with the colored paste instead of just smearing it on. The complexity of designs grew and began to take on meaning. Eventually brides began to decorate their feet and hands with henna as part of their wedding rituals.
Many other Mehandi traditions developed over time. For example, women’s hands were decorated with henna at childbirth because women with intricate Mehandi designs did little household labor so as not to destroy their body art. Tattooing women’s hands at weddings and childbirth allowed them a few weeks where they could bond with the new husband or new baby and not be bothered with daily household chores. The tattoos were also thought to bestow blessings and good luck.” (http://www.fragrancex.com/fragrance-information/the-art-and-history-of-henna-as-bodyart.html)
Henna body art and hair dye has been a practice that reaches thousands of years before our time, in places all over the world.
For more history and background about henna, visit these sites:
Science Behind Henna-
What is it? “Lawsonia inermis or the mignonette tree are different names for the same flowering plant called henna. The name ‘henna’ is derived from an Arabic name ‘hinna’. The leaves of this plant are used to dye skin, fingernails, hair and even leather or wool since the Bronze Age. This form of tattoo art is used extensively during festivals and celebrations, especially during weddings. The leaves of henna when crushed do not stain the skin. They will stain only after the release of lawsone molecules present in the leaves, after smashing them with something mildly acidic liquid like tea. Thus, henna leaves are dried and ground into a powder to make a paste of toothpaste-like consistency. This paste is applied on the skin or hair for staining. This dye is completely natural and has no side effects. Side effects if any, arise only when natural henna is mixed with adulterants like carmine, pyrogallol, orange dye, chromium, silver nitrate, etc., that help in altering the effect of henna stain on skin.” (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/science-behind-the-henna-stains.html)
How does it stain? “After the application of henna, the dye leaves a burgundy stain on the skin. The color of the stain depends on individual skin type and the amount of time that henna was allowed to stay on the skin. The color on the skin is due to the lawsone molecules present in the leaves. These lawsone molecules are more concentrated in the petioles of the leaves. Lawsone molecules are released only when the leaves are crushed with a mildly acidic liquid. Thus, many people trade henna in the form of powder that is made by drying, milling and shifting the leaves. When one needs to apply henna tattoos, the powder is mixed with lemon juice, tea or similar mildly acidic liquids. A thick paste is formed and used to apply intricate, detailed body designs. Few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus, Cajeput, lavender or tea tree are added to henna paste. These oils contain monoterpene alcohols that help in improving the staining characteristics.
Our skin is made up of a number of cell layers. The outermost layer of the skin is called stratum corneum. It helps keep away dirt and other infectious agents from the lower layers of the skin. This layer of skin is thick on certain parts of the body like palms and foot soles (especially the heels) and may be thinner on other parts like the ear skin. The stratum corneum is made up of keratin which also makes up for fingernails and hair. When henna is applied on your skin or hair, the lawsone molecule is small enough to penetrate the skin cell. It enters the columns of skin cells and does not bloat or spread out like a drop of ink would on a tissue paper. Thus, the stains remain sharp and clear, till the complete exfoliation of the upper layer of skin. Henna stains darkest on the cells that are in close contact with the dye and the skin cells farthest from the dye have lighter shades.” (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/science-behind-the-henna-stains.html)
For more scientific information about henna, visit these sites:
Henna Body Art-
Now if you’re interested in how this body art works, how permanent it is, and where you might be able to purchase henna, here’s some links and information about henna body art.
Some sites to purchase from:
1. (http://hennacaravan.com/hennakits.html) this site is a great one (I think) if your looking for high quality and easy purchasing. The best offer you can get is a whole 24 ounces of fresh henna paste for 88.00. It also comes in smaller sizes and prices. Another great thing about this site is it also sells how-to manuals for application, hair dyes, applicators, “bling”, and more!
2. (earthhenna.com) is another great place, mainly great for beginners. For 30.95, you can purchase natural henna powder, henna mixing solution, 4 grams of eucalyptus oil, 2 reusable stencil transfer sheets, plastic squeeze bottle applicator with fine tip, q-tips and toothpicks, clear step-by-step instructions on how to mix the solution and apply your Mehandi designs, invaluable tips & techniques and a cotton bag for storage of unused supplies!
3. (http://www.mehandi.com/shop/purityskin/index.html) this is another great one, and I’ve seen many good reviews about this site. Mehandi.com is generally a great place to get to understand and learn about henna, especially for those of you who would like henna to become part of your daily life.
Things to Remember When Buying Henna Body Art-
1. Make sure the henna is COMPLETELY 100% natural. If it does not say 100% pure henna, DON’T BUY IT! It’s been told to leave scars, or worse.
2. NEVER EVER buy black henna for body art, as it can contain artificial dyes and chemicals and has been reported to leave lifelong scars on your skin. Indigo natural henna hair dye is alright, but not “black henna” for your skin.
3. Mainly just be willing to take risks, because the colors may or may not end up as you like, but you can ALWAYS redye or reapply. Always research the henna product your about to buy and make sure it’s pure and natural!
How long does henna body art last? It depends on where you put it, and what you apply to the tattoo after you use it. If you put on your hands, feet, or between your wrist and elbow (inside part of your arm) its told to last much longer (like 2 months) then it would if it were, say, on your back. If you apply petroleum jelly to the henna and keep the tattoo’s moisture, it lasts much longer. Over all, the tattoo lasts appox. 1-4 weeks.
Note– I highly recommend you buy henna with a kit or a manual telling you how to apply, because I still haven’t tried it yet and am not sure myself how to do it! 😀 (lolz)
How To Apply Henna Body Art-
1. Purchase 100% all natural pure henna with no additives (preferably with a kit and manual, but if not, check out the link I added to this article above.)
2. Mix the henna. It’s told that it’s best to mix it yourself, but if not, buy it pre-mixed. But if you bought the powder, first sift it.
3. Add lemon juice and make a paste.
4. Add lots of honey or sugar for less cracking or flaking.
5. Add lemon juice or something acidic. A
6. Add essential oils with “terp” in them (go here and learn what terp is http://www.hennapage.com/henna/how/terp.html).
7. Cover the henna when you do each step or it will crust over. Let the henna mixture oxidize (see http://www.hennapage.com/henna/how/dyerelease.html)
Now there is no right way to make the paste. You can experiment a little with it and slowly after time; learn the best mixture for you. If you want more in depth steps to make the mixture, go here http://www.hennapage.com/henna/how/mix.html
For more information about applying henna body art, go to these sites:
Henna hair dye is the best known, natural hair dye solution anyones ever heard of! It’s color selection is small, but the results are undeniably beautiful! In this article I will share with you the benefits and possible downsides to dyeing with henna.
Here are the list of pro’s…
- The lawsone molecule in henna strengthens weak hair. I know that many woman with soft and fine hair resort to this hair dye being it makes their hair less breakable and reduces or completely rids of split ends.
- The magic molecule also smoothes and shines your hair. The chemical hair dyes often do make your hair feel silky after dying, but the long term effects are very limited and often leave your hair worse off then before. Henna on the other coats your hair, but that the same time lets moisture come through.
- The color stays in a long, long time after you dye.
- This is an obvious benefit, but it’s natural. It’s straight from the leaf of a Mahndi shrub, right into your hair. You may need some substances like lemon juice or sometimes coffee for application, but henna itself (if purchased right) is 100% pure and natural.
- It all around makes your hair feel, and look better!
Now for the downsides to henna…
- Putting the thick, heavy henna mud into your hair can tire your arm, and be a pain to remove from your forehead! If you want to dye your hair with henna for the first time, I’ve seen MANY recommendations saying you should have a friend help you apply.
- It’s also a very long wait for the henna to dry, and the whole process of dying is much more complicated then chemical hair dyes… but personally, I think it’s totally worth it!
- If your planning on dying your hair a lighter color, henna isn’t for you. It only can redden or darken your hair (depending on how you apply it).
- The color that your hair will turn out after applying henna the first time won’t ever be exact. Everyone’s hair is different and henna reacts differently with all hair types. This may or may not be a downside, but it also doesn’t get rid of dark roots or highlights.
Hopefully by now your convinced to try out this henna hair dye, and I surely hope you never go back to the old hair dye! Here’s more information on the natural hair dye alternative…
There are 3 kinds of henna.
1. It’s called Senna, neutral henna, or Cassia Obavota. This is the henna you would dye with to make a more neutral dye. If your not too big on going bright red, use this. It’s good if you just plan on using henna as a hair treatment. It may dye your hair a little, but not as much as the next henna type would.
2. It’s called “red henna”. Also known as Lawsonia Inermis, or commonly known as “henna”. This is the color that gives you a bright, rich colored red. It stains your hair red but blends with your hair.
3. This one is black henna. Now you should be wince at the term black henna, because “black henna” (for body art) is not really henna, it contains awful chemicals, and is also illegal. But, this black henna, also called Indigofera Tinctoria, or “indigo” is natural and safe. Always make sure you have the correct distinction between the two!
Now beware when you here that someone sells “blonde” or “brown” or any other colors, because henna is red. It always dyes red unless it’s indigo. Be very careful because “blonde henna” or “brown henna”
Warnings when using henna!
Before you jump right in, there’s things you ALWAYS need to keep in mind when purchasing henna hair dye.
- If you want to dye your hair black with henna, use indigo.
- Always, always, ALWAYS check to see if the henna you want to purchase is 100% pure and natural.
- Don’t fall for the “greener henna is better” motto, because some companies are known to add extra green coloring to their henna to make it look more appealing.
- If you’re a beginner, I would recommend purchasing a kit and how-to instructions.
Other uses of henna:
- Sunless Tan. Completely natural and even protects your skin from harmful UV’s!!
- It’s also known for cooling skin, which is the original reason people, used henna in the hot Middle East. Therefore, it’s also great for burns.
I hope you enjoyed this article and I also hope I’ve answered any questions you could possibly have about henna. I highly recommend inviting natural, pure henna into your life, because you won’t regret it! If you purchase natural pure, chemical free henna, you will see no side effects or downsides to it. Guaranteed!
Recently, I’ve met a fellow blogger named Bee here on word press, and asked her for an online interview with her past experiences with henna. It turns out she is full of helpful and wonderful information that you all could learn from and better your henna skills with. The italic print is me asking my questions, and the normal print is her answers.
Question #1: Have you ever used henna before? If so, what was the henna used for?
I have used Henna since I was very young. My mother used to make it so that we could practice ad have fun with it, usually for ceremonial or religious days. She used to buy henna powder and mixed it with boiled tea water, lemon juice, and a little bit of sugar. We used to leave over night/or all day so that the color comes out more vibrant. At the time we didn’t have pre made cones, so instead, we’d use toothpicks or the ends of incense sticks. Nowadays, we just buy them from an Indian shop. They come pre-made, so all I need to do is apply.
Question #2: When you used it, were your results successful? Were you satisfied with the results?
Our ‘homemade’ henna used to have a really good color pay-off. However with pre-made cones, it’s a little hit and miss, unfortunately. When I went to India, my cousin applied henna on my hands. She then used a cocktail of sugar and lime and applied it on with a cotton ball. Apparently this is supposed to help the color set better and darker, and also helps the henna paste to stay on your hand longer.
Question #3: If you could do henna again, whether it be henna body art or hair dye, what would you do differently?
I really enjoy doing non-traditional henna designs using henna. I think it’s a great way to realize whether you want a certain design as a permanent tattoo, or if you’ll regret. This is mainly because of the length of time henna stays on your skin. It’s usually 2 to three weeks, depending on how dark the color pay-off is. I haven’t tried henna hair dye, but many of my family members have; especially those in India. As it’s always so sunny there, the henna gives the hair a really nice tint, it’s a permanent hair dye solution without having to go to the salon. I’m not too sure how long it takes for this to happen, though.
Question #4: What do you recommend for henna body art? Any techniques or tips?
I found that no matter what size the henna cone you use, always apply the pressure closer towards the end where the henna comes out of. This is allows for a thinner line. If you’re going to a larger piece, map out the bigger shapes before filling them in, this will give you a good idea of how the final product will look like and let you plan ahead on what you want to use to fill in the shapes with. Always keep a wet wipe with you. I find that if you ever mess up, normal tissue paper will not work, it’ll just smudge the henna over a bigger area and the color will develop over it. Wet wipes really help. However, you do still need to be quick to erase any mistakes, and henna begins to develop as soon as it touches the skin. Lastly, if your body is warm, it’ll speed up the developing process and make the color deeper.
Question #5: What do you recommend for henna hair dye, sunless tan, or other things using henna? Tips or techniques?
When using henna hair dye, you should not keep it in overnight. Even though the ingredients are all natural and it doesn’t matter how long you keep it in. I don’t (or my mother doesn’t) recommend keeping it in for longer than an hour, as she says it’ll give you a cold. Haha Mothers, eh? I’ve never used a sunless tan before, so I’m afraid I am unable to comment on that.
Question #6: Was there anything at all you were unhappy with when you used henna?
No matter how dark the henna turns out on my skin, it usually only has a week stay-time. This is because I exfoliate every time I shower (which is every day).
Question #7: Would you recommend henna for everyone?
With every product, natural or otherwise, it is essential to know what you are allergic to and to check the ingredients of products beforehand if you are prone to reaction. Other than that, I think henna is a beautiful way to express yourself with body art without the long-term commitment. I would not recommend putting henna on the face, as it does fade unevenly.
Question #8: Where is the best place to purchase henna, and what are things to look out for when using or buying henna?
The best place to go is a store or market that specializes in selling products from Asia; India, Pakistan, etc. Unfortunately most places don’t allow you check if the henna is good or not, which is why it’s hit and miss. All you can do is ask the seller if it’s any good or not, but don’t forget, their opinion is biased as they’ll say anything to sell you something.
Question #9: Please give any additional comments or information our viewers should know about henna.
You don’t have to use the lime and sugar method to make the outcome of your henna deeper in color or have the paste stay on longer. I don’t use that method (I have before), and I don’t think it makes a difference. I think it’s a personal preference thing. Additionally, some people tie a bag over their hand once the henna paste has dried and leave it over night. Some people believe that if the heat from your body is contained around the henna paste, the color will turn out darker. I don’t believe this works for me, but it’s all about what works for the person having it on them.
Question #10: If you have any photos of successful henna body art you’ve done or had someone do, feel free to share!
The only photo I have of my own henna art is the one on my blog, as I haven’t done any in a very, very long time. My cousin does Henna for weddings and other events. You can find her work on her Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/roshnis.mehndi?fref=ts
So I hope you guys enjoyed hearing her answers, and I also ask that you check out her amazing blog here: http://bellameraki.wordpress.com/
She’s so artistic and lovely, if you wish to see more of her work and posts, click the link!
So I hope you learned anything you would need to know about henna. You definitely should try it out, because I know I’m going to. If you have any further questions about henna or comments, comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Happy henna-ing!
~P.S, feel free to fill out this contact form if you’re interested in receiving emails for any cool makeup or henna deals I find online!~
- Henna. (bellameraki.wordpress.com)
- My Henna Experience (thegreenevademecum.com)
- Best Organic Henna Paste (hennapowderexporter.wordpress.com)
- Use of black henna or lele has fatal health implications – new research indicates (modernghana.com)
- Never Get “Black Henna”,or Black Colored Henna ! (dailydoseny.com)
- The Art Of Dying Your Hair With Henna (dangerouslee.biz)
- Potential New Cure For Gray Hair May Challenge Usage Of Henna For… (prweb.com)
- review: henna hair dye (wisestyle.wordpress.com)
- Beautiful Body Art (great2escape.wordpress.com)
- Benefits of Henna (rollingout.com)