Through ages, in any auspicious occasion, most of the women (mainly Arabic and Hindu) opt for applying mehendi or henna on their palm. In some of the parts of India it is almost compulsory to apply henna on palms during karwa chauth, wedding or during any holy ritual.
The art of applying mehendi varies from simple circles on palm and fingers to complex designs. It also varies from region to region and culture to culture. While Arabic henna designs are usually large, floral patterns on the hands, Indian mehndi involves fine, thin lines for lacy, floral and paisley patterns covering entire hand and also forearms. Most traditional henna patterns are based on very simple shapes – circles, triangles and lines are the most basic. These shapes can be combined to create a very intricate pattern and a very beautiful henna design on palm. The various mehendi designs meant for hands include flower arches, henna web, flower net, flowery trails, lucky lotus, leaves chains etc.
Henna has been part of Indian and Arabic culture for centuries. But where the actual custom of Henna designs originated is still controversial. It is said that it originated in India while there are evidences to prove that it was started in Egypt as the fingers of Pharaohs were dipped in Mehendi before mummification.
WHAT IS HENNA / MEHENDI
The henna used for Mehendi comes from a bush called Lawsonia Inermis which is part of the loose strife family and is grown in the Sudan, Egypt, India, most of the North African counties, the Middle East and other hot and dry places. The leaves of the bush are dried and then crushed to make the henna powder.
Henna or mehendi powder is used for dyeing and conditioning hair apart from creating patterns on body parts. Henna when applied on hand and other body parts act as temporary tattoo. Girls nowadays go for henna tattoos on navels, waist and fore arms. Henna is cheap and there is no pain for making henna tattoos. So day by day this is becoming popular.
HOW TO MAKE THE HENNA PASTE FOR DESIGNS
Successful henna designs depend on 2 things : 1) Good pattern & 2) Dark brownish red color. Darker the shade of henna, the more it seems beautiful.
To make the henna dark, a couple of herbal items are mixed with henna to bring out the darkest colors.
To make henna paste the required items are:
1) Henna powder
2) String liquor tea,
3) Coffee powder – 1 tsp (optional)
Mix the henna with coffee powder and sugar and lemon. Then add the tea liquor to make a thick paste.
Let the mixture stand for the entire night. It is believed that more the henna is soaked in tea, deeper the colour becomes when applied on hand.
HOW TO APPLY
1) To apply henna, the simple way is to pour the mixture in a plastic cone and then squeeze it over hands by making patterns.
2) Or take any small plastic sheet or bag and cut it into a small 7” x 4” piece. Now twist the piece in shape of a cone and seal the edge with the help of a cello tape.
3) Now pour the henna mixture into the cone and seal the top with cello tape.
4) Piece the pointed part of the cone before applying henna.
1) There are no guidelines or restrictions while applying henna. Just use your imaginations and make dense patterns on the palm as per your wish. Here are few designs.
The success of a good Henna depends on the design but the most important factor is the colour. If the colour is pale red after the henna is scraped from hand, then all your effort will go into vain even if the design is good. So we had used few herbal ingredients while making the paste. Now a few tips to bring out the best colour out of henna after it is being applied.
1) Before applying henna, take 2 drops of coconut oil in your palm to apply it thoroughly on both your palms.
2) After applying the henna make sure that the henna on the palm does not fall off. Once the henna dries it has a tendency to fall apart from hand. More the henna stays on hand, darker the design becomes. To make sure that the henna does not fall after drying, take a lemon and squeeze its juice in a bowl. Then add a teaspoon of sugar to it and mix it until it mixes with the juice. Now apply this sugar lemon juice on the hand after the henna on hand is almost dried. This syrup is sticky and holds the dried henna to the hand. Scrap of the henna after 4-5 hours.
3) Don’t wash your hands with water for the next 12hours after scrapping off.
4) After scrapping of the henna, apply a little balm on your hand. Heat an iron tawa on gas. Once the tawa is heated and the hot vapour starts coming out of the dry tawa, place your hands carefully above the tawa (about 12inches above). It is believed that the hot vapor from iron tawa makes the red color deeper in henna and also the colour stays for long on hand.
Please note : The shade of henna and the duration of stay of the design varies from hand to hand depending upon the skin texture and the nature of work the person is doing.