EBSQ Live Studio – The Art of Applying Henna

This demonstration was originally presented by Wendy Lea Feldmann on 17 May 2010

Ken’s Green Man in Henna – Wendy L. Feldmann

Henna as Body Art – It’s Fun to Draw on Your Friends

I. Henna Through History

II. Henna Mixology

a. Acidic

b. Sugars

c. Oils / Terps

d. High Quality Henna

e. WendyMehndi’s Henna Recipe

III. Applying Henna

a. Body Art

b. Hair Dye

IV. Henna Safety

V. Henna Resources

I. Henna Through History

Henna has been found throughout history. The mummies of the ancient Pharaohs show traces of henna on their hair and nails. Henna is included in many ancient rituals and ceremonies: weddings, circumcisions, births, and other rites of passage and celebrations. Henna has enjoyed a resurgence as an art form in the west, thanks to prominent flashes of it among celebrities in the media.

Although henna has a rich past with many customs and traditions, it is also a contemporary art form. It’s fun and easy, and any wild mistakes will wear off in a couple of weeks, and you can start again. Henna can be used to “test-drive” an actual inked tattoo, or just as a temporary form of expression.

The plant, Lawsonia Inermis, is of the Myrtle family, and is found in arid areas including India, Pakistan, Yemen, Morocco, northern Africa, northern Australasia, and Egypt. It has traveled along the Silk Road, and spread all along the borders of the Black Sea.

II. Henna Mixology

There are as many many varieties of henna recipes. The secret to good henna application is having the right ingredients and the correct mix. It’s kind of like a science project.

Lemon Juice, essential oils, high quality henna, and sugar

Henna will stain keratin, a fibrous structural protein, found in hair, nails, hooves, horn, as well as skin and leather. Henna will also stain wood, wool, egg shells, silk, and turtle shell.

For body art, the ingredients are simple – something acidic, something sweet, and “terps”, which are essential oils with a high monoterpene alcohol content. This magic combination sets off the dye reaction, freeing the lawsone molecule from the henna leaf and allowing it to bind with keratin.

[read the rest  of The Art of Applying Henna at EBSQ]

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