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What is mehndi? Mehndi is the art of using henna to create beautiful designs on the skin.
What is henna? Henna is the powdered leaf of the henna plant. The powder is combined with a variety of ingredients to produce a paste, which is applied to the skin. The paste releases dye onto the skin as it sits. Once the paste is removed, the dye left behind “cures,” over the course of 12-48 hours, going from reddish-orange to it’s final, deeper color. See “what color is henna” for more information.
Is henna safe? Henna is perfectly safe, so long as you know what your henna artist uses in their henna paste. Check with your artist to make sure that you don’t have allergies to any of the ingredients they use in their paste. NOTE: DO NOT USE BLACK HENNA. Black henna is not a natural henna! It often containing a hair dye (PPD) that can damage and scar the skin. If a henna artist says they use “black henna,” please choose another artist.
What color is henna? Your design color will depend on a wide range of things, including your natural skin color, the henna powder the artists uses, how long you leave the henna paste on, whether or not you apply moist heat, your natural body chemistry and your care of the design after the paste is removed. I give all of my clients an after-care sheet, so they get the most from their designs. Henna stains will range from bright, brilliant red to dark burgundy (not quite black). The best place to get the really red shades are palms of hands and soles of feet. Most other areas won’t show the reds nearly as well. As a rule, the hands and feet take the dye the best and so will have the most vibrant and long-lasting color. As you move away from the extremities and closer to the body, your stains will be lighter and less vibrant. You can counteract this to some degree, especially if you are having the design applied for a special occasion, by having a second application of henna a day or two after your first.
How long will my design last? Your design will last anywhere from a few days to many weeks, depending on: where the design is placed, the type of henna paste used, how long you leave the paste on, your natural exfoliation rate, and your after-care of the design. The feet and hands tend to stain the longest, with the stain time gradually decreasing as you move in towards the body. Again, this can be somewhat counteracted with a second application of henna a day or two after the first. After-care is very important in making your design last, and is covered in my after-care sheet. Feel free to email me for more details.
What is henna used for aside from mehndi art? Henna is often used as a natural hair-dye for those with darker hair who wish to add lovely red and mahogany hues. It is safe, effective, and a great conditioner. It is also used as a fabric dye. All of these uses have been around for many centuries.
What types of designs are available? I do mostly traditional-inspired designs. By “traditional” I mean designs inspired by the art as practiced in the eastern world. For examples of these designs, which vary widely, please see my galleries. I also do designs inspired from your own ideas, or from patterns you have seen on anything from persian rugs to teacups. More modern designs, such as faries, are available, as are multi-hued designs (these take two consecutive days of application). It is important to note that henna is not like a tattoo, so many designs that work well as tattoos do not transfer well to henna. Realistic depictions, for example, aren’t well-suited as henna designs.
For what types of occasions would mehndi be appropriate? Mehndi is often used for weddings, births and other celebrations; however, mehndi can be a relaxing and fun experience anytime you are in the mood. It is a great way to decorate your body without the commitment of a tattoo, or as a trial-run for a tatoo you are thinking of having done. I wear mehndi most of the time, and love to change my designs to fit my mood.
Is mehndi just for women? Absolutely not! Even traditionally, men used henna in many ceremonies. Today, many men choose to get tribal or celtic-simpired designs in henna on their fore-arms or wrists. These designs are bold and make a very stunning statement.
How much do will my design cost? Rates vary depending on the size of the design, the type of paste(s) used, and how far I need to travel. Hourly rates area also available. I do have special rates for events such as weddings, where I will be doing many people. Email me for more information, or for a quote.
What should I do to prepare my skin for mehndi? Always keep your skin moisturized between mehndi sessions with an excellent emolient such as almond oil or shea butter, but skip this on the day of your appointment. On that day cleanse your skin thoroughly with warm soap and water. Try not to use moisturizing or scented soaps. Don’t use any lotion, perfume, powders or oils on the area you’re going to have worked on. Make sure you schedule your appointment for a time when you can leave the henna paste on for an extended period of time without disturbing it. This means not having to put it in water for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Keep in mind that it takes the dye 12-48 hours to come to it’s full, rich color; so, if you are scheduling mehndi for a special occasion, your appointment should be 2-3 days ahead of time. Your artist should cleanse your skin with alcohol to remove any traces of natural oils before beginning paste application.