Used as far away as Africa and the Middle East, Henna believed to have been in use for at least 9,000 years. Mummies had henna designs, and even Cleopatra used henna as decoration. In modern times, celebrities across the world have openly and proudly decorated their bodies with henna.
How long does henna last? That will actually depend on the individual who is wearing it. Skin type and lifestyle can make a difference, as will the body part chose. For instance, if the hands are decorated, the henna will wear off faster as the hands are constantly touching objects and probably more moist than other body parts. Generally, though, you can expect henna to last for about one to three weeks.
What is Henna and How is it Made?
Henna comes from the henna tree (Lawsonia inermis), also known by the name hina, mignonette tree, and egyptian privey. The leaves of this plant are first dried, then ground into a fine powder, and finally made into a soupy paste. This paste is what is applied to the top layer of skin.
The henna plant has been used since ancient times for many purposes. The henna plant itself is grown in South Asia and North Africa. In Asia and India, the henna decorations are referred to as the art of mehndi or mehandi.
Henna has natural cooling properties, and people in the past used it to cool down their bodies. It has many medicinal and cultural uses. The henna plant itself has a reddish-orange dye which binds to the keratin in our skin, staining it. It can be used to color leather, silk and wool.
Is Henna Safe?
Henna is safe to use both for decorative purposes and for many other reasons people choose to use it. While it should not be ingested or inhaled, it has healing properties when applied directly to the skin. People use it to treat everything from headaches, to open wounds, to hair loss. It can even act as a sunblock. As a decoration, it is safe and beautiful. Not just attractive, it can create a soothing sensation to those use wear it.
How Much Does Henna Cost?
The price of a henna tattoo can vary widely. A real henna tattoo artist charges about $85 per hour. The project will cost less if it is small and not very detailed, but with a larger project, the tattoo artist will need to make more paste and spend more time on it. It is possible to spend as little as $10 for a small, simple henna tattoo. Some henna artists can charge more because of their reputations, and some hire themselves out for events. Wedding decorations obviously cost more, as they will be more intricate and require great skill. A big city tattoo artist will likely charge more than someone in a smaller city which has a lower cost of living. Henna tattoo artists who travel charge for travel expenses, including transportation. If you can afford it, you can get a henna artist to come to you.
Do Henna Tattoos Hurt?
Henna tattoos are completely painless, as they are not injected into the skin like other tattoos. Instead, they are applied more like paint. Henna is applied as though the artist were using a marker and writing on the skin. The henna paste has the approximate consistency of toothpaste.
What Can You Expect if You Get a Henna Tattoo?
A very small tattoo can take as little as five minutes, but something more intricate, such as the hands of a bride, will take an hour or two. You should make sure you have scheduled enough time out of your day if you are getting a complicated design or a large tattoo. After the henna paste initially dries, which takes about five minutes, the tattoo artist may spray lemon and sugar juice or another mixture to help moisten the skin and provide maximum color. It will take about another five or ten minutes to dry again.
How Do I Take Care of My Henna Design?
You don’t need to do anything special to take care of your tattoo, but for best results, you should leave the paste on as long as possible. You can go about your normal, everyday business, but you should keep the part of your body that has the tattoo away from obstructions which could cause it to rub off. The henna will flake off, but will not stain your bedsheets.