Henna tattoos for years has been at the fore front of the temporary tattoo explosion, there beauty and elegance of designs can be stunning from feminine butterflies to macho tribal work.

Henna (lawsonia inermis) is a cash crop plant grown throughout most of India and Pakistan.The art of henna tattooing is called mehndi. In India was only done by women of the Nai caste. It has been traditionally used for centuries for body adornment for various special occasions such as pregnancy where the lady is adorned during the seventh month or when getting ready for marriage.

It is said that when the lady had henna of her hands she could not do do any housework or other chores.
One fable from the East tells of a woman who secretly reapplied henna for many years so to not have to work.

The use of henna and mehndi by Prophet Muhammad ensured its place in history and its popularity and acceptance among the Muslim community.
The various regions and countries henna is used all have developed distinct variation in design reflecting there cultures and religions and surroundings with many cultural references being used in the art.

Different qualities of henna are available for use as hair dye to body adornment with the freshest product being bright green in colour and of very fine grade this being used for the art of mehndi. The powder should be kept in a dry dark place, as if it is exposed to the sun it will oxidise and lose a lot of it dying powers.

There any many ways and superstitions governing the preparation of the product some based in scientific reality and others definitely more in the realm of folklore. With many recipes and techniques to produce the best colour and results.

After the tattoos are applied aftercare is needed to get the most out the work with simple guidelines such as when bathing or showering do not scrub your tattoo to live by. There is a list available at for you to look at.

Unfortunately over the past few years henna has been tarnished by a totally different product utilising it popular name this being ‘Black Henna’ which is not henna at all but a chemical p- phenylenediamine (PPD) it was previously mainly used as a black hair dye but when used directly on the skin can cause dangerous health problems with an estimated 3% to 15% allergic reaction rate. Para-phenylenediamine “black henna” use is widespread, particularly in tourist areas of the world with unscrupulous traders offering it, as it does create a desirable black tattoo.Thankfully now there is a new product on the market that also provides a blue black tattoo but with non of the permanent dangerous side effects this being Jagua.Hopefully this may reduce or eradicate the use of ‘black henna’ on the market fingers crossed.

I personally love the art of mehndi good for ever changing art for the ever changing fashions. I think it will continue to be successful for many years to come, it is fast becoming a tradition for festivals and celebrations in the western world as well as its homelands.