Henna tattoo ~ Facts and Myths


I think I would start with the most basic question of what is Henna?
At the simplest, Henna is a paste made out of crushed leaves and twigs of henna plant. The paste can also be made from dried leaves of the plant by mixing it with hot water. When this paste is applied in skin (just like writing from a marker) and left for few hours, it leaves orange to dark maroon stain in the skin which fades away in 4 to 15 days.

In detail: Henna is a plant (bionomial name – Lawsonia inermis) found and grown in South Asian and North African countries. It is used since ancient time to color skin, hair, fingernails, leather, and wool.
The name Henna is also used for dye or paste derived from the leaves of the plant, and for the art of temporary tattooing from those paste. The English name “henna” comes from the Arabic حــنــا, pronounced ħinnā.

Then I also see word Mehndi mentioned very often, are henna and mehndi related?
Mehndi is term used for application of henna as a temporary skin decoration in south Asia as well as India. The art of mehndi (or mehandi) has been a long-standing tradition stemming from many ancient cultures but is most known today for its history in India.

How long it takes to apply henna?
It depends on the intricacy of design and expertise of the henna artist. For me, a simple palm size design takes 5 to 8 minutes. Henna design on hands of a bride may take anywhere from one hour to two hours.
After henna is applied, the paste dries of in 5-10 minutes. We spray lemon and sugar juice to moist the paste again so that it gets good color to the skin.

How is Henna applied?
Henna paste is applied in skin just like you are writing in your skin from a marker. The paste is like toothpaste (dark brown in color though). You can watch videos here on how henna is applied:

What care I need to provide after applying henna? Would I be able to do my normal activities?
Henna paste is moist when applied. After application, you need to keep that body part away from any obstructions so that it doesn’t smear the design. The paste dries in approximate 10 minutes and we spray lemon and sugar juice. It takes 5 more minutes to dry again. You can do your normal work and move the body parts as usual.
For best color it is preferred that paste is left ON the skin as long as you can. Once it is dried, it starts flaking off automatically and it does not stain your cloth.  

How long I have to keep the henna paste on?
Henna paste dries in 10-15 minutes. For best color it is recommend you get henna done in the evening so that you can go to bed with paste on. This will give you the best color when you wake up in the morning. The paste flakes off slowly but dry paste does not stain the bed sheet.
In the morning you scrub off the remaining paste and take a shower.

How long the henna color lasts, how to keep the henna color dark for long time?
Typically henna color fades on one to three weeks depending on your skin and how much you wash the part where henna is applied. For longevity of henna color, we suggest less washing of the body part where henna is applied and no use of soap. 

Is henna safe to apply in skin?
This is the golden question. Please make sure you are going to trusted place for getting your henna. We use completely natural henna (henna dried leaves mixed with hot water or some natural oils) which is completely safe for all type of skins. We have applied henna designs on thousands of people of all ages and have received no complaints. 
Our henna paste is made of henna leaves and some traces of eucalyptus and clove oil. If you are allergic to eucalyptus oil, we advise not to get henna.
If you are buying henna from market, please make sure you get proper information regarding it’s origin and contains. 

Can I get black or other color from Henna tattoo?

Henna is never black. When someone says they can do henna which will produce black color, just turn around and run away. It is most likely they are using some chemical additive which may be harmful to your skin. Natural henna produces orange to dark maroon stain. The darkness depends on your skin, the body part where henna is applied, quality of henna and care you provide.
Most likely black henna is produced by adding chemicals (like PPD) to dye hair or other objects. It is never safe for skin. Please be wary of places offering black henna.

Is henna applied in palm and foot only?
Traditionally mehndi is applied in hand and feet of women (and men in some communities) for special occasions like wedding. Now a days with modern trend it is applied anywhere in the body depending on your test and need.
Go to our interactive gallery to see varieties of henna designs applied in all parts of body:
Interactive Henna Gallery

I had henna tattoo in my back but it was not very dark. How do I get dark color?
How dark henna color you will get depends on various factors. First of all the body part – henna gives best color in palm, we have seen good color in ankles too. In rest of the body part it depends on your skin and warmth of body and also on the quality of henna paste. We have seen that same henna applied in the same body part of two person produce different color. 
If you are willing to do some extra work, you can get better color. Keep the henna paste moist for at least one hour by applying lemon and sugar mix. Wrap the henna paste with cloth or plastic so that it keeps the warmth inside and body seeps the color from paste. For longevity avoid washing that part very often and don’t use soap.

What is the significance of henna. Why should I get henna?
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. It is a divine experience to adorn your body by henna for special events.

Why henna is called tattoo?
There is always debate why henna is called tattoo. Personally, I do not think Henna has been legally termed as tattoo. In old days henna was used for body decoration in addition to ornaments on special occasions like wedding or other festival and ceremonies. With globalization, in late 90s, it got popularity in western countries when various celebrities (like Madonna) used henna decoration on their performances. Since then it is becoming fashion trend and people are using henna designs just for fun. Since both permanent tattoo and henna are applied in skin for decoration, now it is termed as henna tattoo. But, be assured, it has no relation with permanent tattoo and gets off your skin in few days to couple of weeks.


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