While many Asian brides in 2015 are opting to blend eastern concepts with western ones, the beautiful tradition of the bride, her family, and even guests having intricate henna applied to the hands and feet is enduring.
Interested to know more about the ritual, symbolism, and practicalities of good henna application, we caught up with the brilliant Halimah Beautyto find out more about this gorgeous art form.
5 Star Weddings: What ingredients make up a classic henna paste?
Halimah Beauty: A good henna powder, plus some aromatherapy oils such as cajeput or clove. I mix those together with some hot water to create the paste.
5 Star Weddings: How do I know if a henna artist is any good?
Halimah Beauty: Ask to see photos of her previous work, both pre-stain and post, and perhaps ask for testimonials from her previous clients if she is not well known. It is best to choose an artist for their style.
5 Star Weddings: How long before my wedding day should I get the henna done?
Halimah Beauty: Ideally, two days beforehand is perfect because this gives time for the deep red colour to peak.
5 Star Weddings: What options are there for styles? Can I choose?
Halimah Beauty: There are various styles which artists take on. Arabic patterns tend to be quite bold, whereas Indian designs are more delicate. I personally like to design a mixture of both because this brings out my Indian and Arab tastes!
5 Star Weddings: Can I have glitter or colour added?
Halimah Beauty: Yes, but after the henna has left its stain. On the wedding day you can request a glitter henna to be applied on the design, as well as a few embellishments.
5 Star Weddings: What is the difference between Muslim designs and Hindu?
Halimah Beauty: Muslims will not generally go for figures or animals, whereas traditional Indian designs will have maybe a peacock, or elephant, or imagery of a bride and groom.
5 Star Weddings: I want a really dark deep stain. Henna never comes out dark on me. Any tips?
Halimah Beauty: If the body is cold the colour will not stain. Before applying the henna you must warm the body up, perhaps with a hairdryer or candles.
5 Star Weddings: Are there any traditions involved in the henna?
Halimah Beauty: There is some cute symbolism associated with henna. If the colour comes out dark it means the husband and his family love you greatly. Also, a game is played where the grooms initials or name is hidden within
the design. This then has to be found by the groom before the night is up!
5 Star Weddings: How do I stop the henna from falling off and crumbling so quickly?
Halimah Beauty: There are two solutions to this. Firstly, ensure the henna is dry (you will see it cracking a little bit) then try either: creating a lovely lemon juice and sugar concoction, not too thick or too thin, then apply the syrup on to the dried henna with a cotton wool pad. This keeps the henna stuck on and the lemon ‘cooks’ the colour. Or alternatively, try out the “Mummifying Process”. This involves covering the henna with toilet roll, wrapping it around the hands arms and feet. You then wrap around with clingfilm to keep it all in place. Clingfilm alone will make the skin sweat and smudge the henna.
5 Star Weddings: Can I wash the henna off?
Halimah Beauty: Do not wash off immediately. Scratch off the excess and apply any oil. Have a light shower, and ask someone else to wash your hair.