Fundoo Times
This article discusses about body art using henna, henna body painting and use of mehendi in artistic body painting.

Body Art With Henna

Body art, be it tattooing or mehendi, is fast turning into a style statement and catching the attention of fashionistas. Body art with henna is especially a rage in themed parties as, because of its temporary nature, people can flaunt designs based on the theme, and also have an option to change their designs once the original one wears off. Using henna to decorate the body originated in the Indian subcontinent where it has a very strong social and religious tradition. Historians also claim that the Egyptians used it to color their finger nails, fingertips, soles of feet and palms of hands. Thus, it can be seen that henna has had a quite a long history in body art. Nowadays, the allure of henna lies in the fact that it is natural, harm free and temporary and the bright color looks fabulous in intricate designs. Henna was introduced to India by the Moguls in the 12th century. Not just on body, henna painting is also done on wood, paper, canvas, and animal hides.

Henna Body Painting
  • Henna is generally used by grinding the leaves of the plant into a fine powder. It is only in the powder form that the henna will stain the skin. The powder is then mixed with water, lime juice, and tea to form a paste. This paint is then used to paint intricate designs on the skin using a plastic cone.
  • Nowadays, henna body painting is considered as an art form and traditional henna artists are not just thriving in India but also in other western countries where the demand it ranks high.
  • Creating henna body painting is no rocket science and it can be easily learnt just by knowing few basic techniques. To get strong glowing color, the henna, after painting the design on the skin, must be kept wrapped with plastic or medical tape for at least 2 hours. If proper care is taken, the henna painting can last for many weeks.
  • Make sure not to wet the body painting on the very first day itself or the design will soon start fading. If you want a darker design then mix the henna powder with tea leaves and coffee seeds. Some people add a dash of lemon juice and sugar water over the design to make it appear dark and last for a longer duration.
  • After painting the henna on the skin let it dry completely. Only then should you remove the dried paste. At first the stain on the skin will appear very light but soon it will become a dark reddish brown.
Health Risks
  • Though henna is natural there can also be slight health risks. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), henna should be applied only on the hair and not on the skin. This is because there are chances of contacting dermatitis, one of the most common health risks that henna can cause when applied to the skin.
  • Sometimes henna is also known to cause chronic inflammatory reactions, allergic reactions, or late-onset allergic reactions due to the presence of carmine, silver nitrate, disperse orange dye, pyrogallol, and chromium, which are sometimes used in the paste to make the design glow and stay for long.
  • Henna body painting usually lasts for 4 weeks at the maximum, thus allowing you to modify the designs quite frequently. So, with henna, one is not stuck with one particular design but can go for different ones at different times.
  • Unlike permanent tattooing, this is not a painful procedure and even doesn't take much time. The best advantage is that, unlike tattooing, you don't need to shell out too much money to get the most beautiful designs.