Henna body art designs

Let’s take a moment to talk about something I know a LOT about… henna! I’ve been a freelance henna artist since 2001, and I really love this little plant.

 Henna, or “mehndi” as it is known in Hindi, is a plant that is used to create temporary body art when made into a paste and painted on the skin. The paste releases its dye onto the upper epidermal layer of skin, and as your skin exfoliates, the design disappears. Typically, a henna design will last about 7-14 days.

This is what henna paste looks like, when painted on the skin. The paste appears black, and often can be istaken as a “finished” look. Instead, the longer the henna paste is worn on the skin, the darker and longer lasting the resulting stain will be. This is due to the dye within the paste having sufficient time to deposit into several layers of the skin’s “strata” of the epidermis.

This is what a henna design looks after paste is removed. You can see the resulting design is a reddish, terracotta brown color.

Natural henna is very safe for folks to wear, but unfortunately there is a product that calls itself “black henna” which is NOT safe. “Black henna” often contains a chemical known as PPD (Para-phenylendiamene) which is known to cause oozing lesions and chemical burns.

Listen to Alissa! Stay Away From Black Henna! (Click it for photo examples of PPD injuries).

If you decide to have a henna done, ask your artist what is in her paste (if she refuses to tell you, that is a BIG red flag!) Also, ask her what color your finished design will be. Real henna never results in a black colored design, and real henna only lasts about 7-14 days, because it disappears as your skin exfoliates.

If you buy your own henna kit, be sure to read over the ingredients (some kits contain black walnut powder which can be extremely hazardous to those with nut allergies). I recommend avoiding premade pastes, which can contain a host of chemicals, and to mix your own (it’s what I do). Once you are certain you’ve got the real stuff to play with, paint and enjoy!

[Henna designs in this post are works I have done for my clients, and are copyright to me.]

Published in: on September 26, 2009 at 9:13 am  Comments (3)