Got Henna?

In my freshman and sophomore years of high school I was obsessed with a little-under-the-radar-band known as No Doubt.

Have you ever heard of them?

Gwen StefanieIn reality, I was enamored with their lead singer Gwen Stefani. Not only was her last name practically my first name but she was this ideal combination of all things I wanted to be at 15 years old, but didn’t have the guts to (now I wouldn’t bat an eye!).

She was girly, quirky, tough and cool. She wore plaid pants with men’s tanks, had the coolest selection of vintage dresses (Don’t Speak video anyone?) and emulated Jean Harlow with her platinum hair and red lipstick. She was a rockabilly chick and punk chic.

But her mix of influences didn’t just stop there – what pushed her look into another stratosphere of awesomeness was her penchant for wearing both a bindi (a decorative mark worn in the middle of the forehead) and for having her hands and arms decorated with mehendi.

My high school would have frowned at the crop tops not fitting in with the dress code (nor would I have had the confidence to wear them at 15 years of age). Lip smackers were my vice back in the day (so no red lips) my biggest dilemma was what flavor to wear.

However I did manage to convince my parents to allow me to wear a stick on earring in the middle of my forehead as a “bindi” but only on weekends. And the mehendi was a definite no-no. A) Because there was no one in the Central Pennsylvania region in the mid 90’s that did it and b) I think my mum and dad frowned upon anything tattoo like.

spa conceptWith 90’s style making a strong comeback in the fashion industry (everything old is new again, right?) mehendi is seeing resurgence as well.

Mehendi (as it is properly called) or henna is a form of temporary body art from ancient India. It involves decorative designs placed on the hands and feet with a paste made from the leaves of a henna plant. The leaves are collected, dried and then crushed/pulverized and mixed into a paste with oils. The concoction is then applied to the skin in varying designs using a brush, stick or cone (think piping bag). The pigment will rest on the skin and then dry and crack. As the paste falls off, the design is left behind as a reddish brown stain on the skin which will gradually darken to a deeper brown over 24-72 hours.

Interestingly enough, the leaves from the henna plant will not stain the skin until the lawstone molecules are released as it is crushed and mixed into a paste. It is when these molecules bond with the proteins in the skin that create the resulting stain.

Henna designs are prominent in cultures all over the Middle East. It was often applied for weddings, festivals and celebrations. It has been around since the Bronze Age.

Not dating near as far back, in the beginning of the month of October, we at Salon Enso have been incredibly excited to offer henna designs as a service.

Henna tattooKeisha, one of our incredibly talented front desk gals came to work with the most intricate and beautiful henna designs on her arm and hands. She confessed to doing it herself, an extension of her artwork (she’s an incredibly gifted painter) and we were sold. Keisha sources her henna from California where she selected the most natural option she could find.

When it arrives it must be kept frozen to keep the pulverized leaves and oils from separating. A few quick seconds thawing and in Keisha’s creative hands she creates pure magic on the skin. Several of us have had her “paint” our arms and hands and have been delighted with the results.

Aveda is based in the ancient Indian medicine of Ayurveda and it is where it derives its name. Henna began as an adornment in India applied for luck, joy and beauty. The next time you visit Salon Enso; why not add on a henna service with Keisha to complete your beautification ritual? You can leave feeling like a million bucks from head to toe – and like a new 90’s bad ass.

henna tattoo