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The Beautiful Art of Henna

This beautifully written passage was recently chosen as a "Best Entry" in July. Henna art is alluring.
It is mesmerizing to watch how the artists apply the henna, with intricate floral designs, Arabic, Moroccan, Indian.

The henna paste made out of crushed leaves of a plant called Lawsonia Inermis, leaves are dried, milled and sifted mixed with lemon juice, strong tea, essential oils like cajuput or lavender.

A temporary body art of staining skin, hair, finger nails from dyes as well as fabric including silk, wool and leather.

Filled into a plastic cone, similar to those used in icing cakes bare, eager hands waiting to be filled up.
A dark paste gliding in wondrous patterns of fine lines and glitter at times.

The fragrance, strong and sweet, dabbing with sugar and lemon mixture over the dried paste, for dark and long-lasting stains.

Scraping it off when it is dry, to reveal a beautiful orange, intensifying into deep reddish brown color. It is not removed with water as water interferes with the oxidation process of stain development.

The color darkest on soles and palms because we have thickest layer of skin, there taking up the most lawsonia. After a few days, it wears off by way of exfoliation. Initially, henna was used in Arabian Peninsula, near Middle East, Carthage, North Africa, Horn of Africa, and now it is adored most everywhere!

Beware, there are some natural looking stains called Sodium Picramate which does not contain
henna at all. You don't need a reason or occasion to apply. It is an old trend which will live on forever
till the end of time.

Recently, henna is used as temporal substitute to eyebrow pencil. Henna does not tattoo the skin. Bridal henna nights are the most favorite of all customs. In Indian, Arabic and Moroccan culture, where the bride's body is decorated, at times only hands and legs, it is regarded as a blessing and applied for luck as well as joy and beauty.

There is a myth that says, the darker the color, the deeper the love of your better half for you, be it true or not. We all crave for a rich, pleasant stain on our hands, and cherish the four or five days of vibrance and love radiating from the heart of our palms.

© Sakina S. Dossaji

The Beautiful Art of Henna
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