If you thought tattooing body or piercing it to wear body jewellery were the only ways to decorate the body in style, wait till you see a Pakistani or Indian bride in all her glory displaying an ancient body art called mehndi decoration. This is achieved using a muddy green brown paste of the powder of henna plant leaves that have been dried and ground and mixed with water. Beautiful designs are made on different body parts and the paste is allowed to dry on its own. When this mixture is finally removed, it leaves behind a dark stain that looks majestic and makes a woman look extremely beautiful.
Using mehndi for hair coloring and conditioning
The henna plant is known to mankind since thousands of years. Its biological name is Lawsonia Inermis and it is known as mehndi plant in India. Since ancient times, the powder of the leaves of mehndi plant has been used for coloring of hair and for decoration of body parts such as hands and feet by Indian women. Natural henna does not color black hair but conditions it perfectly making their texture smooth and fine. Washing hair with mehndi powder regularly adds bounce and luster to one’s hairs.
However, the most important use of mehndi remains body decoration with bridal makeup remaining incomplete without mehndi being applied on the hands and feet of a bride. The powder is considered to be very auspicious and thus applied on the body of a bride so that she receives the love and blessings of her husband and mother in law. There is a saying that the deeper the color of mehndi on the hands of a bride, more she will be loved by her husband. It is no surprise then that mehndi is accorded such a high importance during marriages in Indian society.
Be patient to let mehndi dry out well
Mehndi designs in Indian style are elaborate and intricate covering not just palm and their backs but almost entire arms. The same holds true in the case of mehndi applied on feet where the designs cover the ankles. A bride has to remain patient when mehndi is being applied on her hands and feet as she cannot move or place her hands on an object or even her body as she might disturb the entire design made painstakingly by the henna artist. Another thing to remember is to quickly rub the paste off your hands or feet if there is any major fault in the design as being late in removing henna paste can result in body getting stained making it difficult to have the desired results with the final design.
Once the design starts to dry in 2-3 hours, apply a bit of lemon juice and sugar mixture to let your skin absorb the color of mehndi in a more effective manner. It is better to let the dried mehndi on your body overnight to let the color develop. In the morning, take dried mehndi away using a knife or your nails but do not wash hands under a tap.