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What is Henna?

Definition: Henna

Henna is a natural orange, burnt-reddish nonpermanent dye. The tannin, or staining pigment, comes from the dried leaves and stems of the henna (aka lawsonia inermis) plant found in India, North Africa and various parts of the Middle East.

Henna is commonly used in body art (usually on the hands, face, and feet) and it can also be used as a hair dye. Since it's gentle and doesn't contain chemicals, it is a safe and wonderful hair-coloring alternative for pregnant women, or just anyone who doesn't want to run the risk of potential toxins permeating their scalp and blood stream.

Henna typically lasts about a week on the skin, but it has been known to last as long as six weeks on the hair. Mehndi, a popular henna skin-painting ritual, is used for weddings and special occasions in Hindu and Muslim cultures.


JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
So pretty, I wish I could pull it off.
jessi17me jessi17me 9 years
I love henna! I can put henna designs, so do my friends! So, we will use every opportunity to have henna on our hands, its great fun!! I love its smell too! :D
Dolce-n-Gorgeous Dolce-n-Gorgeous 9 years
I dye my hair with henna sometimes. Even though my hair is a soft black, you can see flecks of red in the light. Really pretty. I'm from east africa(and muslim) and it's really popular there. Since i'm really crappy at the designs, i just put it on my nails. That way i don't have to worry about chipping.
devils devils 9 years
I love henna designs :) I want to get it done, and I'd like to try to dye my hair with it as well. Haven't had the chance but I'd love to try it!
SomethingWicked SomethingWicked 9 years
Henna is so amazing to me I am wearing it for my wedding...and and feet :)
cmill38 cmill38 9 years
body art isn't me but henna is quite beautiful.
stacyyy stacyyy 9 years
Indian and Muslim cultures are very cool and unique. A few girls at my school are Muslim and they come to school with Henna after their cermonies and it's veryyy cool!
nals33 nals33 9 years
I looooove henna!! I haven't had Mehndi done on my hands in years..but I love looking at pictures of the designs women get on their hands. [I actually got in trouble in elementary school because one of the teachers thought I drew on my hands. She made my show her that the "ink" wasn't coming off when I washed my hands. lol I had to tell her that it's an East Indian tradition for celebrations..] I recently bought a henna bar from Lush to put in my hair. My highlights came out too light when I got my hair done at the salon. After putting henna in my hair, they turned out to be the most beautiful brown color. [Lush has 4 different types of henna bars you can choose from: red, brown, black/burgandy, and reddish brown. I chose the brown..] Unfortunately, now the color's coming out of my hair. :(
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
I actually HATE the smell of it ... I tell people to stay far away from me if they just got henna done on their hands. When I was little, I wouldn't even let my mom feed me if she had her hands done in henna. My grandmother puts henna on her hair ... which is really funny to see since she has bright orange hair now from the henna.
SpitPhyre SpitPhyre 9 years
Though the only henna design i manage to get done on my body is a tat on my ankle, my friends come up with really elaborate ones. We even get books on traditional mehndi sold in the trains for as little as Rs.10 out here. Henna cools the body very nicely and part of the reason why people use it in humid India is this. An old Indian myth says that the bride whose henna has colored deep and dark reflects the love her husband-to-be has for her. (of course your body temperature decides the intensity of the color, but I am a hopeless romantic).
gigill gigill 9 years
Funny you should post about henna as I just saw a woman on the tube yesterday with gorgeous henna designs all over her hands. It kind of made me want to go one...remember when it was a huge trend in the late 90s?
brittanyk brittanyk 9 years
I dyed my best friend's hair with henna for her. It turned out this gorgeous red color. She uses henna because she donates her hair. I guess that most places will accept hair that's been dyed with henna because there aren't any chemicals in it.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
I love henna! My two best friends use me as their henna victim with great frequency, and it's always good fun! And I really like the smell, too...
neonbee neonbee 9 years
We had a multi-cultural fair once and there was a henna booth. A lot of people got tats on their hands. I like using henna on my hair though. It keeps my hair really black.
kelliegonzo kelliegonzo 9 years
they're so fun, we did them at my friend's wedding. we even did a special fertility bird on her tummy so her husband would get a surprise on the wedding night :) i looove the designs on feet for summer time.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
pharm chick, your mendhi was so gorgeous - I'll post my wedding pic too, to show off mine when I get home (if I remember!)
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Very cool, pharm_chick. I like your bracelets as well!
pharm_chick pharm_chick 9 years
hehe like my profile pic of me at my wedding =)
itsme3683 itsme3683 9 years
I totally agree, terryt! My friend's brother just had a traditional Pakistani wedding and it was gorgeous! I'm so fair I look pretty weird with henna, but she just looked so amazing!
luxington luxington 9 years
My sisters and I used to play around with henna all the time when we were kids. I love the stuff, I would have my hands done at a shop in downtown Boston when I was in high school. I like the way it smells, too.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
Indian wedding ceremonies are so beautiful, and I love the henna art Indian brides use to decorate their bodies.
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