Henna grows in hot climates and can be found in most Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Persia, Morocco, Egypt, and India. We have found Indian henna to be the best for mehndi. The henna plant (Lawsonia inermis) is 8 to 10 feet high and its leaves are dried and crushed to make henna powder.
The natural dyeing properties found in henna are tannins. Synonyms for henna are henne, Al-Khanna, Al-henna, Jamaica Mignonette, Egyptian Privet, and Smooth Lawsonia.
The History and Origin of Henna
The use of henna is hard to track, with centuries of migration and cultural interaction it is difficult to determine where particular traditions began, though there is some historical evidence that mehndi as a ceremonial art form was originated in ancient India. But others believe the Moguls introduced the use of henna to India in the 12th Century.
It has been used for at least 5000 years as a cosmetic and for its supposed natural healing properties. There is documentation from archeologists that in ancient Egypt that henna was used to stain the fingers and toes of Pharaohs prior to mummification.
The art form of applying henna mehndi (known as mehndi, Mehandi, or Mehendi) varies from region to region. The varying designs can mean different things to each culture, such as good health, fertility, wisdom, and spiritual enlightenment. It spans different cultures and religious traditions, thus making it possible to recognize distinctions in cultural style.
Arabic mehndi designs are generally large, floral patterns on the hands and feet. Indians doing mehndi use fine, thin lines for lacy, floral, and paisley patterns covering entire hands, forearms, feet, and shins. African mehndi patterns are bold, large geometric designs, usually black.
After the henna paste is removed Africans apply a blackish paste of ashes, ammonia compounds, and other corrosives to get the henna stain to turn out blackish. This is poisonous and is not a recommended procedure as there have been reported deaths from this procedure.
We can only assume the reason they would go to these risky lengths is the natural color that henna stains, dark brown to dark orange, does not show up as well on very dark skin.
Why is Mehndi So Popular?
Expression. Fun. Painless, temporary tattoos. Unlike permanent tattoos, a lifetime commitment to your mehndi design is not required as the designs fade over time. Generally in 1 to 4 weeks, but it will depend on where your design is on the body and how long the paste was left to set.
The less exposed to soap, water, and rubbing, the longer your design will last. Many celebrities have been seen wearing mehndi designs and general awareness of the art form has increased due to articles in national magazines, publications and television broadcasts.
Henna has been used safely (except in Africa) for 5000+ years. We make no claims of professional health care degrees but would like to pass on to you all we know regarding henna and its effects on different people. By using our products you assume liability for any damage, intentional or not.
As with any cosmetic product, if you are unsure about sensitivity or allergenic reactions to natural henna, mehndi oil (a blend of eucalyptus, clove, and essential oils) the adhesive backing on the stencils Body Art jewelry, or body paints, do a test spot on the skin (most commonly done behind the ear for allergies) and watch for any reaction. These products are not intended for use around eyes, mouth, or for internal ingestion. Do not use it on broken skin.
It is not recommended for use on children under 6 or if you are known to have G6PD deficient red cells, an inherited defect known in certain parts of the world.
How To Apply Henna for Mehndi?
Applying henna for mehndi has many variations. If you have been on the internet you may be overwhelmed by all the choices and recommendations for application. We will give you the most common “tried and true” methods but feel free to experiment with different mixtures. Everyone has their favorite recipe and the funniest part of learning the art is experimentation. You can’t screw it up even with the most ‘basic’ recipe.
Basic Steps To Mix Henna
- Take 1/8 of a cup of our natural Indian henna or desired amount. This amount should be plenty for 3 or 4 large designs or many small ones.
- Add a small amount of boiling water to henna powder in small color safe bowl (not copper) as henna may stain wood or plastic.
- Add 8-10 drops of the mehndi oil to mixture. Mix well until paste is of a consistency of toothpaste.
- Allow it to sit for several minutes as the powder absorbs the water, more water or oil may be added to obtain desired consistency.
- Making it to thick will clog your application tip and making it to thin will not allow for good application to the skin and it may run. Just remember smooth toothpaste. If it is to thin, add more powder.
- It is our recommendation to allow the paste to sit for at least a few hours (covered), allowing the water, oil and henna powder to do it’s thing. Better yet, overnight.
- More moisture may be added to obtain toothpaste consistency. If you are doing clients in your salon or tattoo parlor, mixing it up ahead the night before is a good idea. Just keep it covered and airtight so it won’t dry out. More moisture may be needed the next day.