Henna tattoos are extremely beautiful, there's no denying that, but what is it and where exactly did it come from? Let's take a look...
What is Henna?
Henna is actually a plant -- a small shrub that produces flowers and has a wide variety of uses. The very fragrant flowers are sometimes used to create different perfumes. This shrub has even been used to treat some skin conditions. The leaves, when dried, are ground into a powder that can be used for dying hair, clothes, and -- you guessed it -- skin!
Where Did Henna Tattoos Come From?
The history of henna is actually not quite clear but it has been known to date all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Studies have said that even Cleopatra used henna to dress up her body while the Egyptians used it to paint the nails of mummies before they were buried.
Today when henna is applied to the hands and feet, it is called Mehndi. In these cases, it is used to celebrate a rite of passage and is used by different cultures and religions in unique ways.
For example, during Hindu weddings, the bride is painted with henna to symbolize various things, such as beauty, offering, and joy. Moroccans use henna to paint doors as a way to bring prosperity while chasing away any evil.
Henna tattooing also looks different based on the places you see it. Indian henna uses fine lines and floral patterns, while African tattoos are more geometric and bold.
How Long Can You Expect a Henna Tattoo to Last?
Your dead skin cells are dyed by the henna paste. Usually, you can find from 7 to 10 layers of them on your body. You can usually expect the henna tattoo to last between one and four weeks with it looking the freshest for the first week.
Various other factors are involved here, such as different skin types, lifestyles, and where you get the tattoo on your body.
What Elements Can Harm Henna?
When you go for a swim in a chlorinated pool or soak in a Jacuzzi, you are risking accelerating the fading process. Strenuous activity can also make your henna tattoo fade quicker. Exfoliating your skin and frequently washing the area will also cause henna to fade.
How Can You Make Henna Last Longer?
A henna artist applies the henna paste on the skin with their preferred tool, sometimes a paintbrush, stick, or a plastic cone. After 15-20 minutes the paste dries, can crack, and start to fade. The important factor here is to keep the area moist. Believe it or not, a favorite method for keeping the area moist is mixing lemon juice and white sugar. This usually helps the henna tattoo stain darker and last longer. However, this tends to be very sticky. Many artists have been moving toward wraps with lotions or oil to help keep it fresh.
You will eventually have to remove the henna but try to leave it on for as long as possible. This will help it darken the skin more. When it comes time to remove the henna, let it come off naturally. Do not use water, instead use lemon juice or an oil such as coconut oil or olive oil. When your skin with the henna dye is exposed, try not to get this area wet for at least 6 - 12 hours. The longer you keep this area dry, the longer your tattoo will last.
Maintaining your tattoo is an important factor in keeping your henna lasting long. Keep using coconut oil or olive oil before showers. Avoid the elements mentioned above to keep your henna tattoo looking fresh. Friction and touching the area will also make it fade so try to touch it as little as possible.
Different people experience the henna fading process in different ways. It's important to remember that each person's body is unique and that henna body art is not an exact science. If you follow the guidelines above, your henna tattoo should last the longest your body and lifestyle allows.
In the Santa Monica area and need a professional henna artist for your next event? Check out this page and receive a free instant quote.