Modern Traditional

About Mehndi

Modern Traditional's guide to mehndi.
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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.

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Very few people in the west have time for mehndi, so quite often non toxic watercolor markers are used since they can be washed off with soap and water at the end of the day.  For a more durable mark, surgical markers or semi permanent makeup pens are used.  There are also tattoo gel pens and tattoo markers made for kids that provide a fairly durable mark, but are very washable.  You can find many body painting supplies and skin pens and markers in our store.

The Net's Best Mehndi Patterns

Here's a collection of links leading to mehndi patterns.
If your site's not here, but you'd like it to be, join and add your link.

Henna Dancer - an eastern arts troupe's site with many great resources and a gallery.
Jane's Mehndi Sketchbook (photos and drawings)
Sample Designs by Rupal Pinto (drawings)
Shadi Center's Mehndi Design Collection (drawings)
Mehndi Designs by Iti (photos)

How to use Semi-permanent Cosmetic Pens for faux mehndi...

Mehndi design using semipermanent makeup pens.Henna is very popular, but most women these days just don't have the luxury of sitting for hours and hours.  Also, some designs one may want to wear on the weekends, may not be appropriate for work.  So semi permanent makeup is a good alternative.

To begin, you will need an exfoliating, moisturizing cleanser (mildly abraisive, not alpha-hydroxy or otherwise too acidic)and the cosmetic pen in the desired color.

Gently scrub your hands or whatever area you will be applying the design to, and allow enough time to dry

Draw the design carefully, and allowing for some bleeding, as the pen tips are quite wet.

Let set for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Rinse the area with water, or a mild soap.  Let this dry before touching anything.

If the design fades unevenly, apply another coat, and let set for a little longer this time around.  Then wash again

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© 2006 Nicole Lasher