What is henna?
The word "henna" comes from the Arabic name for the botanical plant Lawsonia inermis. The leaves of Lawsonia contain red-orange pigments called lawsone, that stain the skin. Natural henna stain is reddish or maroonish brown in color. The stain depends on each individual body temparature. The more the warmth, the darker the stain varying from orange, red to maroonish brown in color. That is why the henna stain is darker on the palm of the hand rather than the feet, arm or anywhere else. Sometimes people mix chemicals with the natural henna to get different colors like black, blue and so on. It is very dangerous!!! Chemical addition may cause rashes, burns or other reactions.
The art of henna has been well-known for centuries all around the world. Henna is also called as mehendi, mehandi or mehndi. Henna is known for fertility and henceforth used during weddings, baby shower and other joyful occasions. It is natural, painless and temporary lasting 1-3weeks. Henna is also known for dyeing and conditioning hair.
How is henna used?
The leaves of this plant are dried, powdered, shifted, and mixed with water and either eucalyptus oil, clove oil or lemon juice depending on each individual artist. This mixture is kept in an air tight container for about 15-20hours. It is then put in a plastic cone and applied on the body just like the way you would do icing on the cake.
After applying henna be careful while its wet so that it does not smear. Henna paste will start drying in 20-30mins and start flaking off. For darker color it is suggested to leave the henna on for as long as possible. A minimum of 2-3 hours is good, but overnight is the best. DO NOT put water while removing the henna and on the henna area for next 24hours. After removal apply any oil on the henna area. Initially the stain will be light orange, but gradually it gets darker (redish or maroonish brown) over a period of a day. Henna stain lasts anywhere from 1-3 weeks. Do not exfoliate or use bleach and other chemicals on the henna area for the stain to last longer.