Yep, that's my leg!!

Tattoos seem to be everyone’s favorite body art. Many people have them on their arms, legs, chest, feet, even faces! But what about those of us who just want a little temporary ink? Something for a special occasion, say a wedding, or because we just feel fly. That is where henna comes in.

As far back as 1200 B.C. the ancient Khemites (Egyptians) were using henna on their nails and hair. Henna was also used to dye animal skins, textiles, and men’s beards. Once the henna plant’s cooling properties were discovered, painting the skin became a way for the desert people of India to cool down their body temperatures[1]. Henna is still seen today throughout India and North Africa. However, it has made its way to the west. Many women chose to get henna to adorn their bodies for special occasions such as bridal showers and weddings.

Image: Charlottesville Wedding Blog

Henna comes from a plant found in Africa and southern Asia. Today you can buy the powder from your local health food and/or cosmetic store. It is then made into a paste that includes essential oils, sour liquid (i.e. lemon juice) and a sweet substance such sugar or honey. Some add black food coloring or dye to make the henna black, which is what I personally prefer. Once your henna is done, it is applied usually with a small tip applicator. Some women make their own applicator out of bags and saran wrap. Nevertheless, the result is usually a beautiful design on your skin that can last anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks depending on how active you are. (if you wash your hands a lot, art on the hands tend to come off quicker).

Getting henna is fun and the intricate designs that many henna artists create are breath-taking. So next time you’re at a festival and you see a henna table, stop by and get a little henna done. You’ll love it!! I know I do!!

[1]Earth Henna