Flowering Lawsonia inermis plant

Henna Leaves

Henna Powder
Henna Stain
What is Henna?

Henna (Lawsonia inermis) is a shrub plant that grows in hot desert regions of the earth. Its history dates back 5000 yrs where it was and still is practiced and cultivated in India, Pakistan, Morocco, and other parts of Africa and the Middle East. It was first discovered for it's cooling properties: People realized if they ground the leaves of the plant into a paste and applied it to the bottoms of their feet and palms of their hands, it would help keep them cool in the oppressive heat of the desert. (You will notice when henna is being applied to your body it will feel cold on your skin underneath the paste.) They then discovered its staining abilities and it soon became an art form.

 

                                                           

                                                   


 

Traditionally henna has been very popular amongst women in many Asian and African countries. It is widely used in Indian and Arabic cultures to adorn and decorate the hair, skin, and nails. It is very popular for a bride to be completely covered in henna from calves to toes and elbows to fingertips on her wedding day. Other high holidays and important events, especially those regarding rites of passage, are cause for such decoration and celebration as well. The henna plant is traditionally considered to hold a lot of baraka ("positive power of the saints") or good luck, and is believed to protect against evil spirits. Anybody wearing it or working with it is considered to be the holder of good luck and good fortune..

Who Gets Henna?

Though it dates back several thousands of years in tradition in Asia and Africa, henna has become popular in the west for the past 40-50 years as well. It is worn by both MEN and WOMEN presently, and is gaining popularity more and more as years go by. 

 

There are so many reasons to get henna! :) It is a great alternative to permanent tattoos as a person does not have to live with the same design indefinitely. It is a satisfying way to adorn and celebrate your body in the warm months when more skin is showing and the sun is glowing. It is a magical experience for kids and adults year round for birthdays, holidays, and important events. It can also be a lot of fun for teens under the age of 18 as they are not legally able to get permanent tattoos if they so desire. It is a loving way to decorate a womans belly as she awaits her childs birth. It is still used widely for brides at weddings. It is also a great activity to add to bridal showers for all your guests to enjoy as well. It is an exciting addition to parties no matter what age group or occassion... even if the 'occasion' is simply treating yourself and decorating your body! For those who want gorgeous customized temporary designs painted on them to celebrate ANYthing, henna is for YOU!

Henna Crowns are a wonderful way to illuminate and celebrate a bare head. Large mandalas are painted on the head covering the entire scalp. This is becoming a beautiful part of the healing process for those who have lost their hair due to health reasons beyond their control. Whether your bare head is a fashion choice or is not your choice, henna makes an intricate and radiant addition.

How Does The Process Work?

The leaves of the henna plant are processed and ground into a very fine powder that makes it look like green flour. This is then mixed with either hot water, tea, coffee, or lemon juice and made into a paste. Essential oils are added to increase color intensity. After sitting for several hours or overnight, the paste is set and ready to use!

 

The henna paste yields a color range from burnt orange to dark brown, depending on what part of the body it is located as well as a persons individual skin tone. Henna stains the dead skin cells and shows its deepest color on areas that have the thickest layers of skin. Thus it will be darkest on the feet and hands. As it gets further from the hands and feet it will yield a lighter shade. It will be lightest on the center of the body (chest, stomach, back). Henna does not stain the face well, as there are very few dead skin cells there. The temporary stain usually lasts from 1-2 weeks but can last up to 4 weeks.

What is Jagua?

(**JAGUA IS NOT "BLACK HENNA." PLEASE SEE 'BLACK HENNA WARNING' BELOW**)

Jagua (Genipa americana) [--pronounced HOG-WA--] 

is a fruit native to South America and Panama, the Caribbean and southern Mexico. It is widely abundant and most common in the rainforests in South America and as such, has been used by certain indigenous tribes there for thousands of years. Among many of the specific groups are the Kayapo of Brazil, the Matses people in Peru, and the Embera-Wounaan of the Darien Gap.

 

When ripe the fruit is edible and used in food products and beverages. The unripe fruit has been traditionally used as a body paint for ceremony and celebration. (It is also a natural insect repellent and is processed by many companies for food coloring.) Jagua has only come to other countries as a form of body art in the past few years or so. It is still widely unknown but us natural body artists hope to change that :).  

*Most of the companies that make Jagua available to you work directly with the tribes in the countries in which they receive it. Creating more of a demand and market for this art and product provides an agricultural business for the people in these regions and contributes precisely to their livelihood.   

Jagua Fruit

How Does The Process Work?

Raw unripe jagua juice has a water-thin consistency. It is made into a gel in order to be used as a body art drawing medium. Food grade ingredients are common additives to achieve this (xanthum or guar gum, potassium sorbate, citric acid) and essential oils. Usually jagua is sold in gel form ready to use for body art. However it can also be purchased as raw juice if you wish to make your own or experiment with different shades and consistencies.

 

The jagua stain ranges from a very dark navy blue/black to purple/indigo hues. Like henna, it stains the skin approximately 10 days, or roughly 1-2 weeks. {**Note** The jagua stain is VERY DARK. The first couple of days it can appear as dark as a black sharpie marker and can look even darker than a real tattoo.} As the stain wares off it becomes a lighter shade of blue. 

 

What is 'Hengua'? --a combination of henna and jagua--

Henna powder itself is also an option to mix into jagua juice. This is called HENGUA and makes a very nice henna/jagua paste. The color results range depending on how much henna vs. jagua is used. The hues can vary from dark browns to deep purples. Many people experiment with this to get the results they want.

Jagua Tattoo

** "BLACK HENNA" WARNING **

Many people ask about black henna. The truth is there is no such thing as black henna. However, there is something on the market that is being sold as black henna and it is a VERY DANGEROUS product. It contains something called PPD, or Para Phenylenediamine. This is used in black hair dye and can cause horrible scarring on the skin. Beware of this product: always make sure your body artist uses completely natural ingredients and/or they know exactly what their products are made of. Also, henna is perishable because it is all natural. Once fresh it only lasts up to 3 days, perhaps a couple days longer if refrigerated. That being said, DO NOT BUY pre-mixed henna paste that is sold at Indian grocery stores. This product is full of chemicals, sometimes even kerosene, to keep it from going bad. It can also cause skin problems. 

Allergies

It is rare that someone has an allergy to henna or jagua. Most of the time if there is an allergic skin reaction it is due to something else that is in the mixture. For example, if you are allergic to coffee tea or lemon juice.. or a certian essential oil, this could be the culprit. However, it is still possible. Jagua is a berry so if you are allergic to blueberries or any other kind of berry, you should avoid it. ALWAYS ask your body artist exactly what is in their mixture. And as always, avoid any cheap products full of chemicals.

 

If you do indeed develop some sort of skin reaction even after you have checked to make sure the ingredients are safe and all natural, I have not seen it go beyond a few itchy bumps that go away within an hour. I have only seen this occur once in the very many years I have been doing this art. 

2010 - present

2010 - present

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Body art is for everyone no matter what age gender sex or race