Henna is a dye that has been used since ancient times for clothes, nails and hair dyes, as well as body art. Henna has been traditionally used as a festival dye, and has been used for centuries in Indian weddings. The intricacies of henna painting on the hands and feet of the bride and her relatives have long symbolized a loving relationship between her and her husband, and are a symbol of beauty in the East. In the recent times, henna has been making waves in the Western world for its ability to stain the hair and the skin. It has also been prized for the temporary stain that it creates on the surface it’s painted on, and is popular among teenagers as temporary tattoos and hair dyes for parties. Here are four henna beauty uses.
1. Body Art
Like its traditional usage, henna can be used in body art. Traditional Indian and Pakistani patterns call for an expert to paint. It consists of intricate weaving patterns that create a lace-like design on the hands and feet of women. The modern usage of henna generally involves creating designs by template to emulate that of a tattoo. The dye of the henna stains the skin, and although the surface layer of the henna cream can be washed off after a few hours, the dye remains and the stain is left behind. The stain lasts for about a week before fading.
2. Hair Dyes
Hair dyes are also popular among women in the Western world. Henna is available in two colors, the natural brown and black from the indigo plant. The colors are adjustable according to the amount of henna that is added into the dye mixture. The dye is applied to the hair and left for a few hours, allowing the hair to stain and for the color to stay on. Since the dye is all natural, it is common for the color to fade after a few weeks, but ingredients to make the dye are cheap and easily available.
Another use of henna is in the dyeing of leather, silk and wool for the purposes of creating color and patterns in cloth and clothing. Although the dyeing of these items is less common these days, it is used in dyeing knitted scarves and creating patterns on the cloth to make shawls. The deep color of the henna creates a permanent and beautiful color on the cloth, and these shawls and scarves are widely prized for their natural colors and fine cloth textures.
4. Nail Art
Nail art is also a common beauty usage for henna, and traditionally, it has been used to color the entire nail a shade of dark brown, with its even color lasting for a few days. However, with the dark brown rather unfashionable nowadays, the paste is put in a small tube and used to paint patterns on the nails, not unlike the ones found in Indian body art.