The Art Of Henna (Mehndi)

Henna A centuries old tradition of using natures finest ingredients to decorate the body with a temporary color. The leaves of the mehandi plant are dried and ground into a powder. When the powder is combined with water, a natural acidic liquid, warmth and a few hours to sit, a powerful staining paste is made. The paste is then applied to the clean skin in various patterns. Henna has amazing conditioning properties when used on hair. For most people it will make your hair feel luxuriously soft.

The green leaves from Mehendi plant gives red color on the skin. Mehendi stands for the art of decorating palms, feet and other parts of the body with a paste of henna(mehendi). Ready made henna powder is available in the market. The henna powder can also be made by drying henna leaves in shade and grinding them to form a fine powder. Usually, the henna paste is mixed with many other ingredients that help to darken the color.

Mehendi is derived from a plant. So it is a herbal product which gives no allergic reaction. (one may get allergic reaction from the ingredient you mix ). Apart from a cosmetic, mehendi also has medicinal properties. According to ancient Indian medicine, it cools the body and is also used in aromatherapy. Henna gives softness, strength and shine if used on hair.

Mehendi plays a very important role in Indian marriages. It is believed that young girls who get dark color from mehendi will get a handsome groom. It also denotes prosperity and good luck. It symbolically says as the henna gives away her color to beautify someones hands, the bride should also be generous and kind to give up certain things to beautify the life ahead of her.

How to Apply Mehendi?

Take :

1. Henna powder seived through a muslin cloth.

2. Well strained strong tea decoction.

3. Eucalyptus oil (a few drops).

4. Strained lime juice.

5. Sugar(1 table spoon).

Take the henna powder in a bowl, add the tea till it becomes a thick paste (similar to a dough). Add eucalyptus oil, sugar and lime juice and mix well to make it into a smooth and thin paste.

Leave it covered over night or during the day if you prefer to apply in the night.

Make A Cone :

Take a thick plastic cover (milk cover is best in India). or use any thick freezer bag - cut it into 7" X 4" rectangle. Twist one corner of the cover to make a cone. Tighten the tip to make tiny hole. Hold the tip and fill the paste and tie the broader end tightly with a thread (the final cone looks like a carrot with leaves).

You also get ready-made cones from the stores.

Remember :

You should leave the mehendi to dry on your skin and keep it on for as long as possible (10 - 12 hours if possible - you can go to bed with it). Scrape it after that. The color will become deeper if you leave it untouched by water for another 10 - 12 hours. A deep color may last upto two weeks. The coloration varies from person to person.

Applying Mehendi on Hairs

Mixing henna powder for your hair is the same as it is when mixing for skin. Just as you need to leave the paste on your skin for hours you will also need to leave the paste (or mud) on your hair for hours.

Once you have applied the paste on your hair, wrap your scalp with clingfilm and put a warm hat or towel over your head. After 6 hours wash it out by wetting it thoroughly. Usually there is dried paste that comes out easier if you use some conditioner to loosen it up. After all the paste is rinsed out of your hair it doesn't feel soft and silky immediately. That seems to occur a few days later.Henna won't completely change the color of your hair. It will make it red but the color is more of a transparency over your hair.

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