In technical terms, a henna refers to a tiny flowering shrub which grows in tropical climates of South Asia, Africa, and several parts of Australia. When you take a look at the henna plant, the leaves don’t appear like it can do so many things: But once you break it down, it ends up releasing a pigment known as lawsone. When dried up, henna leaves can be crushed into a fine powder. This powder, in turn, can be transformed into a dye that adds temporary color to the skin and hair. The henna tattoo is a type of temporary body art which has been practiced in several cultures for ages. But it has only surged in popularity in Western countries through the last couple of decades.
It is often believed that henna tattoos were originated in the Middle East, notably in Egypt. There’s plenty of archaeological evidence that shows preserved mummies with nails and hair dyed with the same henna-based ink. Ancient Egyptians used it as a type of medicine to cure infections and inflammations, and to remove the toxins from scorpion stings and snake bites. In Muslim culture, henna is used to lessen headaches by spreading the ink over the hair, or to get rid of bad odors by rubbing it all over their bodies. A lot of people also believed that designs crafted using henna pigment are made to bring both abundance and prosperity.
Henna body art, meanwhile, has often been utilized to decorate women’s bodies in different ceremonies over several years now. Henna is also commonly found in traditional wedding ceremonies among South Asian cultures. It also plays a vital role in many traditions and weddings.
Brides in India are made to wear gorgeous Henna tattoo designs on both the feet and hands. This will require her to sit for hours, as she waits for the henna ink to be completely dry, and for her skin to absorb the pigment. This gives off a really gorgeous embellishment for both her feet and her hands. Wearing henna tattoos are auspicious for Indian brides on their wedding day, because this means that they would be blessed with a fruitful marriage. There’s also a belief in South Asian countries that the darker the pigmentation used for the henna tattoo, the bigger the possibility will the bride be able to beget love from the groom, along with his family. This is the reason why brides want to use dark ink in their henna tattoos.
Types of Henna Tattoo Designs
Henna tattoos are absolutely beautiful to look at, and they’re pleasing to the eye as well. The word ‘henna’ actually refers to a plant known as Lawsonia Intermis. But whenever someone mentions the word ‘henna’, people often think about temporary body art in which the pigments and dyes involved are comprised out of twigs and crushed henna leaves. The dye used for henna tattoos are often made from dried leaves, mixed together with hot water.
Another word associated with henna is ‘mehndi’, which refers to the application of the henna dye on a person’s skin, as a temporary decoration. This is mostly practiced in South Asian countries, like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India. Mehndi, also known as mehandi, is a long-standing tradition that came from different cultures and backgrounds. Now, it’s mostly known for its prevalence and history in South Asian countries.
When you apply the henna dye to the skin and leave it there for a couple of hours, the paste turns from orange to dark maroon, creating a type of pigmentation on your skin. This eventually fades away in seven to fourteen days. If you’re not ready to handle the pain of getting a tattoo, or if you’re not committed to the preparation and maintenance that comes with acquiring an actual tattoo but still want a piece of body art, then henna tattoos are the best ones for you.
And in regards to henna tattoos, you can pretty much get any design placed on your body. However, people have decided to stick to intricate, orientalist-inspired henna tattoo designs. The henna tattoo tattoo design of your choice isn’t limited to just brown, maroon, or orange. Lately, people have been getting henna tattoos in black or white ink.
- Simple Henna Tattoo Design: You can pretty much put henna tattoo on every part of your body – It’s all up to you where you want to put it. And if you want to make your henna tattoo look as comprehensive or as plain as you wish, then a simple yet beautiful henna tattoo design is the best one for you. Are you willing to create a more complex henna tattoo, or something that bears a simple design?
- Sun Henna Tattoo: This type of henna tattoo might carry an ordinary and simple look, but it still holds a unique presence. Before the ancient times, the sun was known to be a source of natural light and energy. So a sun-inspired henna tattoo contains loads of meanings. In Indian culture, the sun symbolizes immortality, resurgence, knowledge, and eternal love.
- Elephant Henna Tattoo: An elephant is known to be a gentle giant. An elephant will look twice as beautiful when you mix them with the ingredients commonly used for henna tattoos. Indian cultures regard elephants as a sign of royal power and wisdom. Hinduism worships a god called Ganesha who has the body of a human and the head of an elephant. Ganesha also represents wisdom, much like the elephant.
- Flower Henna Tattoo: Flowers already look great as an ordinary tattoo – What more if it’s a henna tattoo? However, the downside here is that there’s only a limited amount of flowers you can use for the henna design – The rose and lotus being two examples. Lotus flowers hold plenty of meaning, and this is why it’s a popular choice for henna tattoos: Femininity, purity, beauty, grace, creativity, and sensuality.
- Dreamcatcher Henna Tattoo: Another popular henna tattoo design is the dreamcatcher. This is a symbol that you might want to get on your body, in case you’re still testing things out for a permanent tattoo. This is the reason why henna tattoos are the best way for you to try out temporary body art. You could end up liking the design a lot, and even go so far as to get an actual tattoo inspired by the henna design.
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Henna Tattoo Meaning
Indian women decorate their hands with henna tattoos especially when someone is getting married. Henna ink has its own set of cooling properties and was once used as a cooling agent when placed on the hands and the feet. The gorgeous stain left on the skin after the ink has been applied has led to the practice of crafting designs on a person’s hands and feet. Throughout the years, henna tattoo designs have since grown into so many different patterns, each of them looking much more intricate than the previous one. Each henna tattoo design carries a different meaning connected to it, and knowing all about these meanings will throw in an entirely new light on how significant henna tattoo art really is.
Tattoo art has got to be one of the best ways to artistically decorate one’s own body. However, an actual tattoo deals with plenty of pain – And not only that, you also have to save up plenty of cash for it as well, especially if you want a big piece. A real tattoo can also be permanent, therefore making them very hard to remove, similar to how they are placed on the wearer’s body. This is the reason why henna tattoos are seen as an acceptable substitute, especially in regards to traditional forms of tattoo art. The term ‘henna’, also known as ‘mehndi’, is referred to the dye used, which artists utilize to build temporary patterns on the wearer’s body. The dye used here is crafted from a plant which has been used in South Asian countries as a type of natural coloring agent. And not only are henna tattoos temporary, they’re very inexpensive too as compared to other types of body tattoos. Acquiring these types of tattoos aren’t as painful. Henna actually occupies an important position in several religious cultures, like traditional Indian weddings. There’s actually an entire celebration that is fully dedicated to getting these tattoos on the bride’s family as well as her friends.
One of the best things about getting a henna tattoo is that they only last for two weeks, allowing you to change the look if you want. You can actually dictate the look of your henna tattoo, according to your mood. Apart from the designs commonly seen in henna tattoos, like flowers for instance, artists today are crafting fresh and new designs using henna ink.
Henna Tattoo Placement
The henna pigment is absorbed into the best parts of the wearer’s body, especially if the skin there is very thick. The soles and bottoms of their feet, along with the hands and the palms, will have the darkest areas. The top of the feet and hands will also acquire a deep black pigmentation to them. Other good places to put henna tattoos on are the ankle, the legs, the shoulders, the back, and the arms. Henna, unfortunately, doesn’t stick to parts of the body that have hair on them.
Even though you can place henna tattoo designs on practically every part of the body, there are certain spots out there that carry a special significance and meaning for the wearer.
Henna applied to the palms of the wearer’s hands will let them acquire or receive blessings. Some of the most popular henna designs applied to the palms include flower images, sun images, and mandala patterns. Henna ink placed on the top of the wearer’s hands, meanwhile, signifies protection and often contains shield designs.
For women, their left hand is known to be receptive, while men’s right hands are projective. The feet are also one of the best places to put henna tattoos on, since they serve as a connection to the earth from the wearer’s spirit, mind, and body.
Henna Tattoo Preparation Tips
Henna tattoos are a purely South Asian tradition. The pigments used for henna tattoos are often created from a paste comprised of crushed leaves of the plant to build up a temporary tattoo ink. Traditional henna tattoo patterns are created in delicate designs on either the feet or the hands. But nowadays, henna tattoo ink is placed in dozens of designs in just about any part of the body. To be able to get the benefits of your henna tattoo, it’s always great to create your own tattoo paste and put it on the design correctly, all the while taking additional care to keep the tattoo preserved for a long time, after you’re done.
The ingredients commonly used in creating henna tattoo pigments include henna powder, herbal tea leaves, lemon juice, sugar, and eucalyptus oil. You can find henna tattoo powder at a local convenience store. The materials you will need are cotton balls, q-tips, and a squeeze bottle.
Are Henna Tattoos Painful?
Good news: Placing a henna tattoo design on your body is absolutely painless and is solely meant to be a type of beauty treatment, and not something that holds a significant meaning to the wearer. Getting one is both relaxing and pleasant. Perhaps the only worst part about getting a henna tattoo done is having to sit still for the amount of time needed to finish the tattoo. This could go for a couple of hours to several minutes – It all depends on how complex the design is as a whole.
Henna tattoos are a growing tattoo trend. That’s because they allow you to enjoy a lovely – Albeit temporary – Henna tattoo design without having to go through unnecessary pain and the permanence of having an actual tattoo. The henna tattoo design stays on your body until all of the stained layers of the wearer’s skin will wash away naturally. Exfoliation will cause the tattoo’s leftover stains to disappear.
Frequently Asked Questions About Henna Tattoos
- What color is henna? What color does the tattoo end up being, and are there any other colors to henna tattoos?
Henna paste, when not applied to the body, gives off a green moss-like hue, bordering on black. Then the green will slowly flake off and transform the stains on your skin into a copper-orange shade to a reddish brown shade. Henna tattoos start off as orange, then slowly darken within the first 48 hours. There aren’t any other natural shades utilized for henna tattoo designs apart from the ones mentioned, since the only way to acquire them is to add in chemicals that can change the henna’s color. Plenty of tattoo artists and shops do not recommend colored henna ink.
- How long does it take to complete a henna tattoo?
A henna tattoo with simple patterns can only take up to ten minutes to apply the pigment to the skin. This could go for up to ten minutes for the paste to dry up. If you decide to apply that lemon sugar glaze to your tattoo, then this could take an additional ten minutes for the henna to dry up and become completely secured to the skin.
- Is there an age limit for henna tattoos?
Plenty of henna tattoo artists don’t actually ask for parental permission in case their teenaged kids would want to get one. In fact, even children can get themselves henna tattoos: This is what’s so great about using henna dye. So it’s always a good thing to talk to your teen about any rules or concerns you might have about tattoos, in case they walk past a shop and wants to get a henna tattoo for their own.
So even though you might feel that henna tattoos are enjoyable and look gorgeous on your skin, you should still warn your children about the possible skin reactions that can happen afterwards.
- Are henna tattoos safe?
Henna tattoos are comprised of natural ingredients, so they’re pretty much safe for a lot of the population. But it’s still entirely possible that those who carry certain illnesses could acquire side effects from henna pigments. If your child wants a henna tattoo, do an allergy test first.
It’s possible that some people out there might experience some very serious skin allergies when they get a henna tattoo done. Experts have claimed that symptoms of an allergic reaction to henna pigment include blisters, redness, loss of pigmentation, raised red weeping lesions, increased sensitivity to sunlight, and even getting permanent scars from the tattoo.
You also have to keep in mind that there are fake pigments out there that are sold as henna ink. These often come in unnaturally bright colors, like yellow, purple, green, and blue. True henna ink only comes in three shades: Brown, orange, and red. It’s not exactly clear how fake henna pigments can affect your skin.
- How long do henna tattoos last on the body?
A henna tattoo can last for one week up to one month. It all depends on the client’s corporal temperature, where the ink is applied, as well as how often does it get washed. The more you wash your henna, the faster it’ll wear off. if you want to increase the longevity of the tattoo, you can redraw the same design on top of the same area over and over again. This will last four to five times.
- What are the possible side effects of henna tattoos?
Certain pre-mixed henna pigments contain paraphenylenediamine, also known as PPD. This is added to the pigment to darken it up. They are then referred to as ‘black henna’. PPD could potentially give off a delayed allergic reaction to your body, which is called a ‘skin eruption’. The allergic reaction will grow into a weeping lesion, which you must cure using a topical ointment.
A hypersensitivity skin reaction can end up in long-term side effects. This includes post-inflammatory scarring as well as pigment changes which can happen in the spot of the reaction. Collagen scars with a rubbery texture, or keloid scars, can also show up.
How Much Does A Henna Tattoo Cost?
A henna tattoo is only temporary, and this is one of the reasons why they’re not exactly as expensive as an actual tattoo. Instead, they are priced according to how intricate the overall design looks. In a traditional Indian wedding, the bride has to wear some sort of lovely henna tattoo design that is distributed across a bigger area. This is the reason why bridal tattoos take a long while to apply, and simple patterns are drawn on top of the hands. A professional artist will take a period of ten minutes to complete the entire thing, reducing the time and the cost.
Henna Tattoo Maintenance Tips
One of the things you need to keep in mind when getting a henna tattoo is that its end results will also depend on your individual skin chemistry, and how well-made is the pigmentation used. There are a couple of guidelines you can follow to make your henna tattoo last longer.
For the ink, always apply the tattoo on areas where the skin is thick. Leave the paste on overnight, and once it starts getting dry, apply lemon juice or sugar water on it. Don’t rinse off the paste with water. Much like an actual tattoo, do not rinse it off using water. Place in some coconut oil after the paste has been removed. Do not exfoliate your henna tattoo using hot water.
Keep in mind that the longer you leave the henna paste on the body, the longer your tattoo will stay on the body. It’s always a good idea to leave the tattoo on overnight. But the end results will also depend on the quality of the paste you’ve made. A good henna dye will last for up to two weeks, after you leave it on the skin for up to forty-five minutes.
After the henna paste has been applied, you might want to sit and wait until it dries up and starts looking a bit crackly. You can rinse it out using only two options: Lemon juice, or sugar water. Get yourself one of those liquids and lightly dab it onto the paste tattoo using a cotton swab. Wait until it dries up. Do more than one applications if necessary. It’s important to remember that your henna tattoo must not be rinsed off using water. This is because water prevents the reddening process, causing your tattoo to fade quicker.