Henna, Mehndi and Bindi
Henna grows in hot climates and can be found in most Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Persia, Morocco, Egypt and India. We have found Indian henna to be the best for mehndi. The henna plant (Lawsonia inermis) is 8 to 10 feet high and its leaves are dried and crushed to make henna powder. The natural dyeing properties found in henna are tannins. Synonyms for henna are henne, Al-Khanna, Al-henna, Jamaica Mignonette, Egyptian Privet and Smooth Lawsonia.
The history and origin of henna and it's uses is hard to track, with centuries of migration and cultural interaction it is difficult to determine where particular traditions began, though there is some historical evidence that mehndi as a ceremonial art form was originated in ancient India. But others believe the Moguls introduced the use of henna to India in the 12th Century. It has been used for at least 5000 years as a cosmetic and for it's supposed natural healing properties. There is documentation from archeologists that in ancient Egypt that henna was used to stain the fingers and toes of Pharaohs prior to mummification.
The art form of applying henna (known as mehndi, mehandi or mehendi) varies from region to region. The varying designs can mean different things to each culture, such as good health, fertility, wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. It spans different cultures and religious traditions, thus making it possible to recognize distinctions in cultural style. Arabic mehndi designs are generally large, floral patterns on the hands and feet. Indians doing mehndi use fine, thin lines for lacy, floral and paisley patterns covering entire hands, forearms, feet, and shins. African mehndi patterns are bold, large geometric designs, usually black. After the henna paste is removed Africans apply a blackish paste of ashes, ammonia compounds and other corrosives to get the henna stain to turn out blackish. This is poisonous and is not a recommended procedure as there have been reported deaths from this procedure. We can only assume the reason they would go to these risky lengths is the natural color that henna stains, dark brown to dark orange, does not show up as well on very dark skin.
Why is mehndi so popular? Expression. Fun. Painless, temporary tattoos. Unlike permanent tattoos, a lifetime commitment to your mehndi design is not required as the designs fade over time. Generally in 1 to 4 weeks, but it will depend on where your design is on the body and how long the paste was left to set. The less exposed to soap, water and rubbing, the longer your design will last. Many celebrities have been seen wearing mehndi designs and general awareness of the art form has increased due to articles in national magazines, publications and television broadcasts.
Safety: Henna has been used safely (except in Africa) for 5000+ years. We make no claims of professional health care degrees but would like to pass on to you all we know regarding henna and it's affects on different people. By using our products you assume liability for any damage, intentional or not. As with any cosmetic product, if you are unsure about sensitivity or allergenic reactions to natural henna, mehndi oil (a blend of eucalyptus, clove and essential oils) the adhesive backing on the stencils Body Art jewelry or body paints, do a test spot on skin (most commonly done behind the ear for allergies) and watch for any reaction. These products are not intended for use around eyes, mouth or for internal ingestion. Do not use on broken skin.
It is not recommended for use on children under 6 or if you are known to have G6PD deficient red cells, an inherited defect known in certain parts of the world.
Applying henna for mehndi has many variations. If you have been on the internet you may be overwhelmed by all the choices and recommendations for application. We will give you the most common "tried and true" methods but feel free to experiment with different mixtures. Everyone has their favorite recipe and the funnest part of learing the art is experimentation. You can't screw it up even with the most 'basic' recipe.
Recipe: Take 1/8 of a cup of our natural Indian henna or desired amount. This amount should be plenty for 3 or 4 large designs or many small ones. Add a small amount of boiling water to henna powder in small color safe bowl (not copper) as henna may stain wood or plastic. We use and old butter container or Tupperware because it also has a lid. Add 8-10 drops of the mehndi oil to mixture. Mix well until paste is of a consistency of toothpaste. Allow it to sit for several minutes as the powder absorbs the water, more water or oil may be added to obtain desired consistency. Making it to thick will clog your application tip and making it to thin will not allow for good application to the skin and it may run. Just remember smooth toothpaste. If it is to thin, add more powder. It is our recommendation to allow the paste to sit for at least a few hours (covered), allowing the water, oil and henna powder to do it's thing. Better yet, overnight. More moisture may be added to obtain toothpaste consistency. If you are doing clients in your salon or tattoo parlor, mixing it up ahead the night before is a good idea. Just keep it covered and airtight so it won't dry out. More moisture may be needed the next day.
Bindi: Hindus wear a tilak (a red dot by women and an elongated dot by men) on their foreheads, between the two eyes. This point is known by various names such as Ajna chakra, spiritual eye and Third eye is said to be the major nerve in human body, in ancient times.
Bindi is arguably the most visually fascinating in all form of body decoration. The most ashtonishing about bindis besides the limited amount of literature that exists on it, is the attitude of people towards it.
Take a look at the Body Art Kits