Beauty Abroad: Henna

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Greetings from India! I’m sorry that this is my first post in some time however I had very specific content ideas that haven’t all been realised, after a visit to the market several days ago I’m glad to be writing to you from New Delhi about this beautiful traditional art form. Also known as Mehndi in Indian tradition this is typically applied during Hindu weddings and Hindu festivals to a woman’s hands and feet. It’s gorgeous, so intricate and it’s something I’ve been interested in trying for some time now, but due to the extreme price tag and limited opportunities in Australia I’ve had to wait until now. It’s certainly something I’d love to talk about too seeing as my research really highlighted some facts that no-one really tells you about.

Firstly, it’s plant-based,  derived from either the henna plant or the turmeric plant. It’s important to note that black henna is often derived from entirely non-natural sources and should not be applied to your skin as it can result in some nasty allergic reactions. Secondly, it can be applied in a number of ways. I had this design applied from a small cone and it was essentially piped onto my skin in a matter of minutes, the design completely made up by the artist at the time.  Thirdly, the colour intensifies over a couple of days, this is the one thing that truly surprised me but we’ll get to that in just a moment.

The application process was truly astonishing. I’ve never seen anyone work that quickly and with that much detail, it was actually amazing to watch and I was lucky enough to record the process. Following this the paste dried over a number of hours, eventually cracking and shrinking to reveal a dark orange pattern on my skin below. After 12 hours I washed this away revealing a much darker pattern. I noticed over the course of a couple of days this continued to darken, mostly around my fingers where the skin is much thinner than the rest of my hand, however it’s mostly consistent. It’s also interesting to note that this pattern can remain on the skin for a number of weeks so if you’re planning on getting some factor this in!

Overall, I’m so impressed with this, particularly seeing as it’s something that doesn’t necessarily have to last for a prolonged period of time but is still something beautiful and delicate to have during my studies in India. While it won’t last forever like a tattoo, it opens the door for more designs and more henna in the future, which when I return is something I really look forward to experimenting with! Hopefully I’ll have more frequent updates for you soon, but seeing as I can’t promise anything I’ll write when I can. As always, if you have any questions please post them below and I’ll do my best to answer them!

x ac

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