Henna Virgins

You must get flowered at least once in your life! For all those who have never had henna… What are you waiting for? Are you scared? Don’t know enough about it? Think you would be offending a culture?

Here are 10 things you should know about henna!

FIRST, and most importantly..... There is no such thing as “black henna.” Black henna is a term given to a harsh phosphorus based chemical, often used in hair dyes, called PPD (para-phenylenediamine). This is actually a skin irritant which can cause lifelong scarring, blistering, skin irritation, and is a potential carcinogen. The reason people use this chemical is because the stain gives a tattoo look within 30 minutes. However, what they don’t realize is that the application of this chemical can cause permanent scars.

#2  While we are talking about being safe.... The henna paste should be prepared with natural products only. Henna should only be mixed with liquids such as lemon or lime juice, teas, and other acidic juices. While liquids like ammonia, turpentine, paint thinner, kerosene etc. help release the dye quickly, they are unsafe for the skin and should not be applied to the skin. The henna paste may include essential oils, but be cautious when there are essential oils in the paste. These must be pure essential oils and not alcohol based fragrance oils.

Stain after two weeks
#3, the henna stain can last on the skin from 3 days to 3 weeks or longer. Get your henna design on your body in places like the hands, arms, feet and legs. Henna stains these areas the best because they have the most layers of skin (dermis). Henna likes to penetrate through the various layers of the dermis. The more layers there are, the deeper the molecule will penetrate.

#4......Henna should be left on the body and hair for a minimum of 4-6 hours, or overnight in order to give a dark stain. The stain needs to oxidize over 48-72 hours before the stain peaks. The longer you leave the paste on your skin, the darker the stain will be.

#5....Exfoliation, harsh chemicals and excessive washing can make your design fade away faster. Stay away from excessive washing and exfoliation when you have a henna design. Exfoliating the skin before application, and having moisturized skin will ensure a deep, long lasting stain.

# 6 Water is the enemy of henna for the first 24 hours. Stay away from water for as long as possible. You want to make sure that the area of application does not touch water for the first 24 hours in order to get a nice dark stain. While sometimes it is necessary to wash the area of application, apply an aftercare balm or moisture rich oils like argan oil or olive oil to protect the design. Stay away from mineral oil/baby oil and petroleum based products.

 And a little about the background

#7  Henna is applied as a paste on the body and hair.  There is a dye molecule in the henna plant called “lawsone.”  This molecule, when exposed to acidity is released to dye the keratin in skin and hair. 

#8  Henna was actually used as a means of air conditioning thousands of years ago in the deserts. Henna started off as a way to cool the body down in the desert. People would make a paste out of the henna leaves, apply it to the palms of their hands, soles of their feet, and tops of their heads. Of course this dyed the skin and hair, but it also kept the body cool in the desert heat. Pretty soon, women got tired of having their hands covered with the henna stain, so they just did a circle in the centre and dipped their hands in the henna paste. This is what started pre-mature henna designs. Of course with an advancement in technology, methods and designs of mehndi application became more modern and contemporary

#9  Henna is known to have originated in Egypt. There have been traces of henna on mummified pharaohs. In ancient Egypt, henna was regarded as a beautifying agent, and still is today. Thus, henna was applied to the toes of the deceased kings and pharaohs before they were mummified.

#10  Henna is not religious, so you would not be offending anyone! It is a cultural idea, used at times of celebration. Sometimes, these celebrations include religious holidays, but also include childbirth, weddings, coming of age, and re-integration into society after death in the family. You can choose any design for application. Some muslims prefer not to have animals in their designs, while Indians love to use peacocks in their designs.