Henna is typically applied to the skin as a blessing, for luck and beautification.
The word henna is an all encompassing word referring to each phase of henna usage. Henna is the common name of the plant Lawsonia inermis. Henna also refers to the powder made from the dried crushed leaves of the plant, the resulting paste made from the powder, the art designs, the painted paste design on one’s skin, and finally the resulting stain on one’s skin.
The henna plant is indigenous to northern Africa and southern Asia though, predominantly cultivate in Rajasthan, India. Henna has been used by humans for thousands of years medicinally, as a dye of the skin, hair, nails, and in textiles. Henna is Typically part of celebrations in many cultures.
+ Is henna safe?
Yes, henna is completely safe and has been used for thousands of years. It is very rare, but possible to have a sensitivity or allergic reaction to the essential oils used in the paste. If you are concerned, please test a small amount of henna on the inside of your arm.
+ Does it hurt?
No, henna application is completely painless and is often considered very relaxing and soothing. If you have very sensitive skin the lemon juice can irritate though this sensation is generally very mild. Again test a small amount on the inside of your arm if you are concerned.
+ What is the process?
You must sit still long enough for the artist to apply paste to your skin (typically 15 minutes) and remain still until the paste dries (another 15 minutes). You will then receive a misting of lemon-sugar solution to ensure the paste sticks to your skin. 4-12 hours later you will remove the paste by gently scraping and rubbing with olive oil. Apply olive oil to the stain several times a day to prolong stain and you can extend the life of the henna from 1 week to 2 or even 4 weeks.
+ Can I swim with henna?
It is advised you do not swim as this will make your stain fade prematurely. If you swim while the paste is still on your skin it is possible that it will not take at all.
+ Do I have to apply henna to my hands or feet?
No, you can apply henna to other body parts and still get a good stain. Henna actually tends to last longer on other body parts.
+ My skin is very dark will henna work?
Henna will contrast against your own skin color so it will be a lot more contrasting on lighter skin. Applying to the hands and feet will typically yield the most contrasting stain.
+ Is sweating a concern?
Yes, while the dried paste is on your skin it can rehydrate and would have to be treated very carefully as with the freshly applied paste as to not smudge and ruin design. This is a valid concern in Arizona! You want to keep the henna warm, but don’t hot to the point of sweating.
+ Why is it commonly referred to as a "henna tattoo?"
If I had a dime for every time I heard the phrase "henna tattoo" I would be a very rich woman. People tend to think of henna as a temporary tattoo and thus call it henna tattoos. This is false to say as henna is in a class itself and I prefer to call it Henna Body Art or by its traditional name Mehndi. It is completely unlike a rub-on or spray on tattoo in that there is an artist involved doing freehand artwork. There is also a blessing and luck attributed to receiving henna and the intensity of which is measured by stronger and longer lasting stain.