Mehendi or Henna Art – Safe and Natural Designs to Suit Your Taste

Henna, also known as Heena, is a form of body art that has existed since ancient times. Mehndi (or Henna) is the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration, in countries like Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Morocco, Yemen, and Somali land. It is typically employed for special occasions, particularly weddings. It is usually drawn on the hands and feet, where the color will be darkest.

The patterns of mehndi are typically quite intricate and predominantly applied to brides before wedding ceremonies. However, Mehndi decorations became fashionable in the West in the late 1990s, where they are sometimes called “henna tattoos”.

Know about Henna or Mehendi

Henna or Mehendi is a flowering plant, the sole species in the genus Lawsonia in the family Lythraceae. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, and northern Australasia in semi-arid zones. Henna is a tall shrub or small tree, 2–6 m high.

Henna, produces a red-orange dye molecule called lawsone. This molecule has an affinity for bonding with protein, and thus has been used to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather, silk and wool. It is usually drawn on the hands and feet, where the color will be darkest because the skin contains higher levels of keratin which binds permanently to lawsone, the colorant of henna.

Mehendi (Henna) Art

Henna has been used to adorn young women’s bodies as part of social and holiday celebrations since the late Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean. Henna was regarded as having “Barakah”, blessings, and was applied for luck as well as joy and beauty. Brides typically had the most henna, and the most complex patterns, to support their greatest joy, and wishes for luck. Some bridal traditions were very complex, such as those in Yemen, where the Jewish bridal henna process took four or five days to complete, with multiple applications and resist work.

Henna paste is usually applied to the skin using a plastic cone or a paint brush, but sometimes a small metal-tipped jacquard bottle used for silk painting (a jac bottle) is used. The cone has a fine opening at the thin end which lets a thin flow of paste to facilitate intricate designing.

Henna Application in Detail

Henna is applied to clean, dry skin. This can take anywhere from a few minutes for a simple design to 4 or 5 hours for a heavy bridal mehndi.

Once dry, it will be sealed with a sugar solution, or taped with medical tape (for body pieces). Henna paste is left on for a minimum of 4 hours, though overnight is traditional and guarantees the best color.

After 4-8 hours, the paste is gently removed by picking it off or removing the medical tape. NEVER WASH IT OFF!

You should avoid water for 12-24 hours after removing the paste for best color results. You should also avoid detergents, exfoliants, manual labor, and swimming in chlorinated water, as these things will fade the henna faster.

Applying a natural vegetable or beeswax based oil/balm before bathing can help prolong the life of your henna design.

For best results, henna should be applied 2-3 days prior to your important event (such as wedding or photoshoot) so that the stain is at its peak on your special occasion.

How long does henna take to dry?

Once your mehndi design is applied it is dry in about 30 minutes, however, it should sit for 6-8 hours, or overnight (as is traditional). Instead of washing the paste off, it should be scraped off and allowed to oxidize another half a day or so. You can apply a vegetable oil or beeswax-based balm to it before showering or swimming to prolong the stain. Basically, you want to allow a full 24 hours of care for your henna to achieve the darkest stain possible. During the time that the henna stain is visible on the skin, it is customary to be exempt from household chores such as cooking and cleaning. May not work every time, but it’s worth a try!

How long does henna last?

Henna works by staining your dead skin cells. You have 7-10 layers of them on you. Right now. Even if you exfoliated this morning! Henna can last 1-4 weeks, but usually it looks fresh for about a week and fades after that, depending on how fast your skin is renewing itself. Swimming, washing dishes, and doing housework or strenuous activity like rock-climbing can accelerate the fading process. Henna is permanent on the hair and nails until they grow out and are cut off.

Does it show up on darker skin tones?

Henna stains all skin types, but the hands and feet stain best (where the skin is most calloused) and the stain is fainter on other body parts, or almost invisible on the face or neck. On darker skin tones it is always recommended to henna the hands/feet for optimal visibility. Hands and feet are traditional for a reason!

Popularity of Henna / Mehendi Art

Henna painting has become very popular as a form of temporary tattoo and is liked by a lot. The best aspect of henna is that it is totally natural, made from a plant plant whose leaves are first dried and then crushed to make a fine powder. While applying, the powder is mixed with water. This makes henna totally safe to use. Along with that, its application is totally painless and the effect is temporary. You can use henna to get tattoos, without worrying about pain or infection. In case you are not satisfied with a particular tattoo, just wait for a few days. Its color will soon wash off and you can easily go for another design.

Popular Mehendi Patterns

Though there are no set patterns or designs for Henna, there are some popular designs that have been followed since ages. One of the most popular designs is a paisley that is often filled with a checkerboard pattern. Another popular pattern is a lovely peacock, with the sharp and curved beak and the corona on the head. Floral patterns are quite popular as well.

Where to get it done in Chennai

Road side Make Shift Shops in busy shopping areas in the city such as

Panagal park,  T.Nagar (opposite to Prince Jewelry)

Mint Street, Sowcarpet

From Arabic, Rajasthani, Marwari to the Bombay style and intricate bridal designs, the men are skilled in various types of the art. The price ranges between Rs.25 to Rs.400. Though most of them know only Hindi, they attract customers with their creative skills.

For the people looking for a beauty salon, Try out

Mehendi designers

Mrs. Manisha
6 (New) / 13 (Old)
Medavakkam Tank Road
2nd Street Kilpauk
Chennai – 600 010.
Ph: 91-44-26403766
Cell:91-94440 35883

Posted on November 24, 2011, in Art, Fashion, Hobby and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Wow!!! That is definitely a natural way to boost looks. And those pics especially the one with the art on legs are wonderful.

  2. Excellent site. A lot of helpful info here. I am sending it to some friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you for your sweat!

  3. This page certainly has all of the info I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: