Exploring India with Henna Tattoos


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This fall, our library decided to start having themes for our displays and programming. Our first theme is “Passport to the World.” With this in mind, many of our activities relate to the traditions and foods of different countries around the world. Recently, we did henna tattoos to celebrate the traditions of India. We used paste that was purchased online.

If you read about henna, you will learn about black henna, which is pretty bad stuff, so make sure you are getting brown henna, and that the ingredient list is short and contains recognizable items (like henna). Try to avoid pastes that have essential oils, in case people are sensitive to the fragrances. Our paste had a small about of essential oil, but I wish it didn’t because I am a little sensitive to that sort of thing.

Next time I order henna, I am planning to get the powder and mix it myself. I think it might work better and also keep longer. All you need to mix henna paste is henna powder, sugar, and lemon juice. You can also use a mixture of 1 part sugar to 3 parts lemon juice as a sealant. The sealant can be applied to the henna design with Q-tips when the design starts to dry out. The longer the henna is moist and next to your skin, the better your henna design will look. The henna will stain different types of skin for different lengths of time. Thicker, lighter skin holds the dye longer (feet and hands), although most of the designs we created will probably be gone in about a week.

After the henna starts to dry, it feels sorta itchy. When it is totally dry, it might start to flake off. You can rub the rest of it off with baby oil. Even if the henna isn’t that dark when it starts to flake off, it will still continue darkening.

This is a great program for teens!

Note: You should purchase a metal-tipped squeeze bottle applicator because it works much better than the cones.



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