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The Henna Orgin
The art of Henna Tattooing, or Mehndi, is an old tradition used generally for celebrating events or marking rituals. Henna art celebrates its 5000 years of existence and is being spread across various cultures around the world. The art of henna is still retained to this originality to experience the essence and beauty that pharos, royals, rich and poor have enjoyed centuries ago. Henna Tattoo simply means marking designs with Henna.
The Henna Plant
Henna is a plant that has the ability to dye cloth, fingernails, skin and hair. Henna is a name used for the Lawsonia Inermis plant. The plant has been used for cosmetic purposes since Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians used henna to dye their fingernails. The use of henna for cosmetic and ceremonial purposes has long been popular in Africa, India and the Middle East. Henna use is spreading throughout the world and modern uses of henna include dyeing the hair and temporary artwork on the skin.
How Henna Works
The henna plant contains pigment molecules called Lawsonia. Lawsonia produces dye. Depending on the henna plant, the dye may produce varying degrees of orange or red dye. Lawsonia pigment stains keratin, the outside layers of skin and hair. As the skin naturally exfoliates, the henna is shed away. Henna stain on skin can last anywhere from days to weeks. Henna stain on hair gradually fades. It can last for as little as one month and as long as six months. The color that the henna will produce varies depending on skin color, hair color and body part. Henna appears more orange on lighter skin and hair colors and more red on darker skin and hair colors. Henna stains thicker skin areas better than thinner skin areas. The hands and the feet absorb henna stain the best.
The leaves of the henna plant are used to make dye. The leaves are harvested, dried and ground to a fine powder. Some henna is ground finer than other henna. The finer the henna powder, the easier it is to work with. Other plants can be added to henna to create colors besides orange and red. Indigo and saffron are examples of plants that are added to henna to create other colors. Mixing other plants can create brown, black and burgundy colors. To use henna, the henna powder is mixed with just enough water to create a thick paste. The paste is applied to hair or skin. The longer the paste is left on, the darker the stain will be. Some people leave the paste on for as little as five minutes, some leave it on overnight. Keeping the paste wet by covering the skin or hair with plastic, will provide a darker stain. Heat also encourages a darker stain. Wrapping the hennaed area with plastic and a towel or the use of a blow dryer are two popular ways to add heat.