Henna is a Persian word, which describes a small flowering shrub (Lawsonia inermis). It is found all over the world, including India, Pakistan, Morocco, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Egypt and Bangladesh. However, the variety of henna plant varies from region to region. Different plants have different coloring properties and hence, the color of the powder also varies. Henna has been used for thousands of years, for its medicinal properties and cosmetic properties. Apart from this, it is also used for coloring and conditioning the hair and in the form of body art.
Henna powder, in its pure and natural form, is a bright or deep green,
khaki or brown. The color produced by pure natural henna ranges from
orange to red, to black cherry and near black color. Contrary to the
popular belief, pure black color is not produced by natural henna
powder. Talking about its production, henna powder is made from the
leaves of the henna bushes. When manufactured in large quantities, the
leaves are taken to the factory and machine grounded. Normally, henna
powder is made by blending different types of henna leaves from
different parts of a country or from different countries.
Once the leaves have been grounded, the powder is sifted. This is
because, if not sifted, the henna powder will contain pieces of the
leaves. The finely sifted henna powder contains no leaves, making it
best for cosmetic use. Henna powder colors the skin, when the dye is
released, as a result of the henna powder being mixed with water or
lemon juice and being applied on the skin. Hanna, when applied to the
body parts such as hands, arms, legs, near the naval region and at the
back, is called mehndi. For a simple mehndi design, it may take about 10
to 15 minutes, but if you want to go for an intricate design, you might
need to invest several hours.
After application of henna, you need to dab it, with a lemon-sugar
solution when it becomes firm on the skin. This is essentially done to
preserve the paste. Unlike tattooing and piercing, henna does not hurt,
because it is applied on the surface of the skin with an applicator and
not injected into the skin. Traditionally, a cone is used for making the
designs. However, mehndi can also be made using a bottle, with a fine
silver nozzle tip. People enjoy the cooling sensation felt after the
application of mehndi. This aromatic mixture, apart from conditioning
the skin, gives a natural soothing effect.
Henna has, today, become a part of all major festivals and celebration.
Be it, Purim, Eid, Diwali, Karva Chauth, Passover, Nowruz or Mawlid, it
has graced every occasion with its presence. Celebrations like wedding,
birth of a baby and birthdays seem to be incomplete without the ceremony
of henna. Brides, in the present time, typically have the most complex
patterns of henna, to express their greatest joy and wishes for luck.
With an improved technology being used for its cultivation, henna
available today, has an enhanced dye content and greater artistic
potential than earlier.
Henna Body Art
Body art has been in vogue, since times immemorial. Right from piercing, tattooing to body painting, there are a number of options for people to enhance their look with the use of art.
Henna Hair Coloring
Henna has been popular ay for coloring hair for centuries in the Middle East and in India. Using henna for nourishment and coloring of the hair is part of the normal beauty regime in these countries.
Henna Paste Recipe
For henna powder to release the dye you will have to make a paste of the henna powder with water or lemon juice. There are a number of things that can be added to the henna powder to make a paste that will stain your skin or hair the color you desire.
History of Henna
For millions of people in India and Middle East, mehendi is the preferred way of dyeing hair. It makes the color of the hair reddish and also conditions them.