New to henna... :) need some help...

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Thea77
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Joined: 2011-08-13 04:54
New to henna... :) need some help...

So I've always wanted a tattoo, but there were a few problems about it: my skin is very sensitive, so I was afraid real tattoing might cause problems, and I don't think I could decide to have only one design on my sking forever...also, there's the problem of pain real tattooing involves...So you migh imagine how happy I was when I discovered that henna is temporary and can be done at home. BUT, unfortunately, my first experience with henna was a bad one. Or should I say, a black one? I think you can figure out the rest :/ We were on holiday and thought it would be fun to get temporary tattoos from this street artist who used PPD which I didn't know back then. Yeap. A REAL bad experience. And a stupid thing from me not to check online what original henna looks like before I went to get a tattoo. I did that only afterwards when I was searching online how to do henna tattoos on my own cos I liked it, and I've stumbeled across an article about black henna that lead me to figure out what I've been tattooed with. :( Luckily, I figured I had black henna on my skin after only a few hours, so I've washed it off with water and alcohol and put loads of antibacterial cream on it and so avoided some major damages. Athough my skin was all red underneath...but now, 3 days later it looks lot better and is healing nicely, no bumps, blisters or anything. Thank God.... 

Now, I refuse to let the stupid fake black henna make prejudices in my head about the real henna...and I still really want to do temporary body art on myself. :) And I still absolutely love those photos of henna art I've on this webpage.

But I'm still a bit afraid, since my skin is sensitive, about would real normal henna cause some reactions. I know it shouldn't, but...? How can I check if I'm allergic or something...? And how do I know which henna is real when I'm buying it?

 

Ehm, I know my questions are not specific, in fact I know they're a real mess, but I guess the real question is: How do I start?

with henna art, I mean? :)

 

thank you so much for replies ;)

 

T.

xyz
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Joined: 2010-05-16 17:58
Re: New to henna... :) need some help...

Thea,

Sorry to hear about your bad experience with "fake" henna.  Scary, isn't it?  Don't feel stupid for not doing research--how many of us (or our parents) research facepainting before we walk in a booth to have a butterfly drawn on, or get sound references on the pool's lifeguards, or investigate if the petting zoo has had any cases of animals biting children?  We don't!  Most of us are trusting and believe that if someone is working for the public, they must know what they're doing...it must be safe...they wouldn't be in business otherwise...if it's of any consolation, you're not alone.  Those "deathpaste" slingers are everywhere.  Keep your friends away from them!

Now, pure body-art-quality (BAQ) henna is safe.  It's been used for thousands of years.  Some women have designs put on their pregnant bellies or on their bald scalps after chemotherapy.  So you see it's considered safe to do so by most (because...when are you ever more vulnerable and careful than when you're recovering from chemo or carrying a baby?)  Henna allegies are rare, but not unheard of, so you're right to test before getting a huge design.

Get your hands on some nice BAQ henna.  (This forum is sponsored by mehandi.com, so even though I don't work for them, that's where I would direct you for supplies.)  Mix a little tespoon of powder with water to make a paste, smear a little blob of it on the inside of your elbow, and cover it with a bandage or similar.  Wait for a few hours, and rinse off.  (Don't make too big of a blob as you might have a pumpkin colored stain on your arm if it develops good color while you test.)  Observe the site for a day or two afterwards to make sure you don't experience any skin irritation, swelling, itching...then you'll know you're not allergic to henna.  If you are prone to allergies and sensitivities, test again a few days later (allergies do not manifest themselves until you've been exposed to the allergens repeatedly) just to make absolutly sure.  Then you'll be free to design beautiful things on your skin!

If you want to learn how to do the designs, you won't find a place with more information and free resources than this site.  Go to the home page and look at the e-books.  The website I mentioned above also has a kit to learn how to henna (I think it's called The Henna School or something like that) that comes with BAQ henna powder, recipes, cones, terps, templates, etc.--very complete.  Or you can buy a small amount of henna, find a simple recipe to follow, try your hand at making the application cones...it's up to you and how deep you want to delve into the art.  Finally, you could find a serious henna artist in your area, and after you ask a million questions and make sure they are using only safe products, get a small design so you can observe how it's done professionally.  It's very inspiring!

Good luck!  If you start hennaing, come back and share.  There are many true artists on this forum (check under the "body art" tab, actually) who would generously help you through your learning. 

estavash
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Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 2010-08-28 14:31
Re: New to henna... :) need some help...

Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your bad experiences, but this forum is a good place to find out about the good stuff! :)  I'll second the opinion that the henna available through these folks at Henna Page is good, and their free instructional e-books are great too.  They also have inexpensive hena samples that you can order to make sure you're not allergic.   If you decide to shop elsewhere, I'd recommend looking for a website that sells fresh body art quality Jamila henna, as well as essential oils, and that clearly states that they don't sell or endorse the use of PPD.   (Jamila isn't the only good henna out there, but it's a high quality, reliable brand, and a favorite of many, so it's a good place to start.)

One thing to be aware of is that most people who do have allergic reactions to natural henna mixes aren't reacting to the henna itself.  Some people have citrus allergies, or they're sensitive to the essential oils used in the mix. (Tea tree, Cajeput and Lavender are the oils most often used to enhance the stain.  Lavender isn't quite as powerful, but it's considered to be gentlest on the skin.)  It's possible to get a good stain without lemon juice or oils, but it can be challenging. 

I don't mean to scare you off by this... I just mean that you should do a small test using the henna mixed with the lemon juice and essential oil, and make sure your skin's ok with it.  If you do have a sensitivity, you should be able to make a new mix without the offending ingredient.

Good luck,

Ellen

 

Jen
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Joined: 2010-04-26 06:47
Re: New to henna... :) need some help...

 Even in cases where people have proven to be allergic to henna, its not a serious issue. It tends to be mild itching and/or redness that goes away quickly after the henna is removed. I've NEVER heard of a SERIOUS reaction to henna except in the case of previous condition known as G6PD. Check that out here: www.hennapage.com/henna/encyclopedia/medical/g6pd.html

Thea77
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Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 2011-08-13 04:54
Re: New to henna... :) need some help...

Thank you for your replies everyone! You incurage me to start hennaing. :) Bodyart is really inviting to me because I love art as art, and living art, the one really connected to a human being is really...well, amazing to me, i feel like it's art getting more alive, if you get what I mean. anyhow, I'm quite serious about this, and I'll be posting pictues as my skills improve...it will take time, a LOT of time, but still... :)

 

tnx again, wish you all the best. ;)

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