Henna, also known as the mignonette tree, is a flowering plant that is the sole species of the Lawsonia genus. Originally stemming from Persia, it comes from the Arabic word henna, which is the name for a small, thorny tree.
Henna refers to the dye that is created from the plant and the art of skin staining. This practice has been used to decorate women’s bodies for celebrations since the late Bronze Age, in the eastern Mediterranean. Ancient wall paintings discovered at Akrotiri, Greece show women with henna markings on their nails, palms, and soles.
It is now used commercially as a temporary skin stain and natural hair dye.
It is created by mashing whole leaves from the plant into a paste. This releases the lawsone molecules which are responsible for the staining of the skin. The powder is mixed with different liquids, including water, lemon juice, and strong tea.
Let it sit for an hour or two, and you’re good to go! The longer you leave it on, the darker it will get and longer it will last. If you don’t wash it regularly, it will last up to 2 weeks naturally. If you’re looking to dye your hair different shades of red or brown, Henna is a great, healthy option. It’s mostly permanent though and can be difficult to dye over after, so make sure you don’t dye your hair too soon after using henna hair dye.
This ancient form of body art is now done all around the world, from festivals to your own home. It’s a fun practice of mindfulness and art. Once you put it on your body, you only have a few seconds to wipe it off before it stains your skin. Practice making beautiful designs on yourself or your friends! It requires a steady hand, patience and lots of concentration to create flowing patterns. You might be surprised at how difficult it really is.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your henna on!