Mehndi means henna, but it is most commonly used in the west as a term for the designs painted on the hands, feet, or other parts of the body, using henna as the stain. This makes what is sometimes called a “temporary tattoo”, though by definition, a tattoo is put into the skin using a needle.
Mehndi are widely used throughout southern and western Asia and Africa. Sometimes this is to protect the skin from the sun, sometimes for weddings, and sometimes for simple beautification. It depends on the culture and local area customs.
There are many recipes for henna mehndi, but the most common use some sort of adhesive to hold the henna on the skin long enough to stain it, and acid to set it. Sometimes other ingredients containing tannins or other natural dyes, such as coffee or indigo, are added to the mix to make it darker. A plain, natural henna stain is light orange-brown. Black pekoe tea will make it a little richer brown. Freshly ground coffee will make it a very rich brown. Beet juice will make it red. Indigo will give it a bluish tint, and black walnut hulls will make it dark brown. To make a black stain safely takes indigo and black walnut hulls. If it has anything else in it, be very wary. With any chemical or dye, even if it’s natural, take care to do an allergy test before marking larger areas of the body.
How long does Mehndi color last?
Mehndi usually lasts for at least one to two weeks. I have heard of people saying that mehndi can last from two to four weeks; however, this figure is misleading because the length mehndi will stay depends on a number of factors.
· How often you wash your hands · What kind of soap you use
· Your skin quality and heat in your body
· Location of the mehndi on the body
Henna works by staining the outer layers of the epidermis, permanently. The reason why your stain itself is impermanent is because our skin exfoliates off. So the deeper our mehndi stains, the longer our design lasts. Thus, it is important to be aware of the contributing factors to a henna design’s latency. Strong soap and hand-washing shortens the life of a henna stain because it exfoliates our skin. If we take our exfoliation theory farther, we note the palm of one’s hands exfoliates much faster than the back of the hands; thus, henna on the palm lasts less than half as long as henna on the back of the hand.
What do you do after applying the mehndi?
The next step in the process of applying mehndi is to wait. The mehndi takes as long as 4-6 hours to achieve the darkest color. However if you want a light color then you can wash mehndi early. If you feel prolonged itchiness that makes you want to remove the henna immediately, please do so; the feeling could indicate the presence of substances to which you may be allergic.