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Henna Art Information
How long will my henna design last?
  Designs usually last 7-10 days, depending on body chemistry, how long the paste was allowed to soak in, and location on the body. Henna always lasts longest on the hands and feet, less on the torso where skin is thinner. It is very important to keep in mind that natural henna stains a reddish brown color and needs to soak on the skin 4-8 hours. The color will be a light orange at first and darken to a richer shade over 2 days.
What is black henna?
  There are people who use chemical additives such as hair dyes in the mix to speed up the process or obtain a black stain. This is NOT safe and is illegal. Chemical dyes often contain a chemical known as PPD which is toxic and can cause long term damage, including scarring. Chemical dyes will stain the skin within 30 minutes and be dark immediately, these should ALWAYS be avoided.
What is the history of henna use?
  Henna is the Persian name for a shrub known as Lawsonia inermis. Henna is native to Asia and the Mediterranean coast of Africa and now thrives in warmer climates all over the world. It has small, four-petaled flowers ranging from yellow to pink and its leaves produce a red dye. Twice a year the leaves are harvested, dried, and ground into a fine powder. This powder is used to dye hair red and for the ancient eastern art of mehndi. Henna contains hennotannic acid, a dye that bonds with the collagen in skin cells and keratin of fingernails and hair, leaving behind a red coloring. Lawsonia Inermis or henna is a small bush that produces a red dye that has been used cosmetically and medicinally for over 9,000 years. Ground henna leaves are mixed with lemon juice, a bit of sugar, and essential oils to form a paste that is used in body decoration. The henna paste is applied to the skin in patterns and leaves a red-brown stain lasting 7-10 days, known as mehndi.

Applying henna to the belly toward the end of a pregnancy in certain cultures is believed to protect or bless the mother and child during the difficulties of labor. Itís believed to guard against the evil eye and protect from evil or malicious spirits that may be near during delivery. Henna designs are viewed as protective. Having henna applied and having someone touch your pregnant belly, is very calming. The henna paste is cooling and can help relieve heat exhaustion and soothe hot skin. Henna brings something restful and joyous to the strenuous last trimester and helps women embrace this transformation.
What should I do with any unused henna paste?
  Any unused henna paste can be stored for several months in your freezer. Wrap the left over henna paste tightly and keep in the freezer until you are ready to use it on another day. Just pull it out of the freezer and let it defrost for an hour at room temperature, you are now ready for another application.
When should I NOT use henna?
  Henna should be avoided or used sparingly if you are extremely anemic or the baby has G6PD deficiency. Always consult your doctor is you have any questions or concerns regarding the use of henna during pregnancy.
Why do women use henna during pregnancy?
  Modern women are looking for a way to celebrate their growing bodies, to do something that looks wonderful on a big, round belly that is full of life. Henna during pregnancy has nothing to do with the burden of extra weight and discomfort of a changing body but celebrates the unique shape of a full belly with expansive patterns that complement the figure. The application process of mehndi or henna body art on a pregnant belly is a time where the mom needs to be still and relaxed. She has to find time in her schedule to sit down for a few hours and focus on her belly, on her pregnancy, and her new life. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit with a few close girlfriends before the birth.

Having henna applied during a healthy pregnancy is generally safe but it is always a good idea to speak with your doctor. Work with a reputable artist and make sure you know exactly what is being used in the henna paste mixture, it should be simple, natural and smell fresh. The pregnancy fresh henna art kit uses only natural henna, lemon juice, sugar and lavender oil. It is important to keep the ingredients simple during pregnancy so you donít stress the body, baby, or cause an allergic reaction. Other ingredients may be added such as coffee, tea, tamarind, or clove depending on the artistís preference but simple is always better during pregnancy.

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