This is our complete guide to henna tattoos. Mehndi, also known as henna tattooing is all the rage right now. You can find henna tattoos everywhere from malls to beaches to Madonna’s hands and forehead. The amount of detail that artists put into traditional henna tattoos is nothing less than amazing. If you are looking for something to set you apart this is the way to go. So keep reading to get all of your questions answered about this amazing form of Indian body art.
What is a Henna Tattoo?
Henna tattoos are unique in the tattooing world. This is because henna is a temporary brown dye applied to the skin, not ink placed under the skin with a tattoo needle or comb. So these stunning Indian tattoos are temporary but they are so striking you will wish they were permanent. Traditionally, henna tattooing was used for rituals such as weddings, and it was a sacred practice. It was believed to bring good luck to the couple, and images that were important to the couple would be used. Americans have adapted henna tattooing and simply use the temporary artwork for special occasions.
The henna tattoos has a rich and long history. However, until recently henna tattoo creation was almost exclusively an Indian art. No More. Henna has exploded in popularity in recent years because of -the popularity of tattoos. Body art has taken on biblical importance in North America and Europe. As body art has become more popular, Henna has ridden on the back of permanent tattoo art.
Of course, the two are uniquely different. Because henna is temporary, many people try a few henna tattoos prior to taking the plunge for their first permanent tattoo. Henna tattoo art also allows the person to try out the exact tattoo – or, at least an outline, that they are thinking of getting inked on their body.
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How it works
For those of you with low pain tolerance getting a henna tattoo will seem like a gift from the gods. Taking paint like mixture of henna and paste, it is placed on the skin in a specific design. You allow the paste dry, and leave it untouched for a few hours. Leaving it undisturbed for 24 hours will result in a darker and longer-lasting tattoo. Once the paste has dried it will flake off. The paste will then have left behind a brown stain on the skin that lasts approximately 3 weeks. The tattoo fades as your skin sheds the outer layers.
Henna tattooing is usually done on the hands, feet, and forearm. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, if it was people like Madonna would’ve broken it anyway. The hands seem to be the most popular location for henna tattooing, with the feet being less popular. There are people who get henna tattoos across the shoulders and back. Those two locations are not traditional locations for henna tattooing. So if you want to be true to the art form you will avoid getting a henna tattoo in these locations. Keep in mind that henna tattoos fade as your skin exfoliates so locations that exfoliate quicker will make the tattoo fade faster.
How Much Does It Cost?
Most of the time, the cost of a henna tattoo is pocket change compared to getting a permanent tattoo of the same size. You can often get them for as little as five dollars at fairs and craft shows. For larger pieces and more intricate designs you might consider going to an actual henna artist with their own shop. This will obviously increase the cost but it is well worth it. If you live out in the middle of nowhere, and there are no henna artists available they do have henna stencils and other materials available online. These range from $5-$10 just for the paste, and the stencils are around that price point as well.
Why get a henna tattoo?
There are actually a couple of good reasons you would want to get a henna tattoo. One reason is strictly for the tattoo virgin. If you think that you want to tattoo but you’re not sure that you could live with something permanently etched on your body, henna tattoos give you a good idea of how you would feel about looking at a tattoo every single day. Another reason is simply for the fun of it. People get these tattoos for celebrations like weddings, birthdays, and other important events in their life.
Who can get one?
Most experts advise against getting a tattoo while you’re pregnant, and they really don’t like it when you tattoo your kids. Henna tattoos are different. They are safe for pregnant women because the paste used is all-natural. A henna tattoo on a child is as acceptable as the $.50 tattoos out of gumball machines, and much classier. For hundreds of years Eastern cultures have tattooed children with henna. Children and pregnant women who have sensitive skin should pay close attention to the oils used in the application of their tattoo. Clove, Mustard Seed, and Teatree are just a few of the ones you need to avoid.
How long does it last?
There are tons of things you can do to make your henna tattoo last longer, but eventually they will disappear since henna tattoos simply stain the outer layers of your skin. You will have the strongest color the first two days after the application of your tattoo. You can expect your henna tattoo to keep a strong color for 10 to 15 days. The body replaces its outer layer of skin every 3 to 4 weeks. Once the skin begins replacing the outer layer you will notice your tattoo begin to fade. Covering your tattoo when you shampoo and keeping it out of water will help keep the color strong and slow the fading process.
What Else Should I Know About A Henna Tattoo?
If you are going to have a professional do your tattoos make sure that you wear clothing that doesn’t cover the henna paste after it is applied. If you are having a henna tattoo placed on your feet wear flip-flops. It is a good idea to completely exfoliate your skin for 3 to 4 days prior to your tattoo appointment. Since the henna dye stays active is a good idea to keep the tattoo warm. This will give you a darker finish color. When you get a tattoo professionally done on your hands you want to remember to have someone with you that can drive home. Gripping the steering wheel can smudge the paste and ruin your tattoo.
Henna tattoos are a fun alternative to the traditional tattoo. The interesting history behind them makes for good party conversation. You don’t have to be Indian to appreciate the beauty of henna in their customs. The beauty of henna is that it allows tattoo virgins to see if they can really commit to a permanent tattoo.