Much before the use of nail varnish, henna was used to colour the hands and nails. The use of henna can be traced back to ancient civilizations. I think henna has been loved because of its rich and beautiful reddish-brown colour.
The tradition of applying mehndi for auspicious occasions exists today. During festivals like Teej and Karva Chauth, women make it a point to paint their hands with henna, for a long and happy married life. As for our weddings, the Mehndi ceremony is an important wedding celebration, when intricate designs are painted on hands and feet of the bride. All the women in the family also, join in happily.
How To Make Henna Paste
The henna paste for applying henna on the hands is made from powdered dry henna leaves. Sift the henna powder through a fine mesh in order to avoid any lumps in the henna paste. Lemon juice is added in order to enhance the colours of henna. Mix the henna in a bowl preferably a glass, plastic or ceramic bowl, and stir with a plastic spoon. Since henna tends to dry off easily, it starts chipping and fall off of places. That is why sugar is added, to make it stick to the skin for a longer time.
Apart from lemon juice and sugar, many people also add coffee and tea water, to get a richer colour. Adding a few drops of jasmine oil makes the paste a little less sticky. So, once you are done making the henna paste, wrap it nicely and store it in the refrigerator post sealing.
Apply Mehendi On Hands For Auspicious Occasions
Many methods are used for applying mehndi, starting from toothpicks and match sticks to cones and stencils. After applying the mehndi, it should be kept on for about 3 hours, dabbing with lemon juice and sugar mixture from time to time. Make sure to keep the paste on for a long time in order to get a darker colour, then remove the dried henna by scrapping it gently off your hands. Remember not to wash off the Mehendi and avoid contact with water for as long as possible to allow the Mehendi to get absorbed in the skin.
Creating Mehendi Designs
From fine lines, floral, paisley to highly intricate designs, with great detail. The art of creating fine and attractive designs of Mehendi is superlatively beautiful and mesmerising. Not only does the artist create beautiful patterns but sometimes that hands are completely covered with henna and then designs are crafted in it. Indian women adorn their feet, hands, and several other parts of the body with beautiful designs of Mehendi during auspicious events such as festivals, marriages etc.
Mehendi Design Trends
As far as trends go, the traditional floral and paisley designs never go out of fashion. The Arabic style is popular, where the design starts at a fingertip and goes diagonally across the hand and even continues till the wrist. Intricate designs, found in Mughal architecture, have also become a part of the henna design for the hands and legs. The Arabic style is liked by many because it is simple.
The usual Indian mehndi design covers the whole palm, as well as the fingers and even the back of the hand. One of the new trends in design has a lacy look. It gives the impression that the hand is wearing a lacy glove. The pattern is intricate. It may have a geometric design, ending with flowers. Floral patterns, with leaves, are also popular. Another new trend is the use of glitter or sequins to decorate the hands along with henna.
The Mandala design is preferred by many, which has a large decorative circle in the centre of the hand, with other patterns. Some designs never really grow old and keep maintaining their popularity. One of these is the peacock design, which is intricately made.
The peacock spreads right across the palm, with the plumes spread out. Research shows that Mehndi is a natural antiseptic. Ayurveda uses it to soothe and heal heat rashes and skin allergies. Indeed, it has proved to be a much-loved beauty aid too for centuries and is sure to continue so for centuries more.
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