In the season of weddings, one can find many things commonly seen, that are being purchased and gifted, around the world; but in Asian and Persian countries one thing we can find in common is the rich design pattern, made out of a paste called Mehndi or Henna, that adorns the hands and legs (and in some fewer people the whole body) of the bride, applied through a conical plastic sheet wrapped and cut at the tip.
Mehndi can alternatively be called as a temporary tattoo on the body; except for it is made commonly out of natural substances than chemicals. These days Mehndi is also available in chemical mixtures to give the designs a colorful look.
The word Mehndi is derived from a Sanskrit word called Mendhika, and days back to the Vedic times and references of the usage of Mehndi or Mendhika are found all over the Vedic scriptures.
The scriptures describe the use of Mendhika by men and women as well along with turmeric powder as an auspicious sign. But as time progressed, men used the only turmeric and avoided Mehndi.
The tradition of adorning oneself with turmeric and Mehndi is a symbol of spiritual awakening of the sun inside and outside keeping oneself associated with nature. The usual Mehndi paste is made out of leaves of Mehndi tree.
Once the native of Indian sub – continent, Mehndi has spread out to various countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Middle Eastern countries as well. Women in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh also use Mehndi not only during the wedding but also on occasions of festivals, religious events, and customary ceremonies.
Though the Mehndi paste is made out of natural Mehndi tree leaves, which are generally found in Indian sub – continent, as the trend changes, with people asking for a look similar to that of tattoos, chemicals are being added to the henna paste to get the desired color for the designs.
A natural henna paste gives a red color, its shades changing from light orange to a dark coffee shade. According to beliefs and old wives’ tales found, a well-stained hand with Mehndi is found to have a good husband.
These beliefs as such led to the use of artificial coloring as the normal and natural paste gives a lesser darkness to the Mehndi design. A natural Mehndi or Mendhika paste is also used as the balm to soothe a body of high temperature.
Tried And Tested Tips To Make Mehndi Dark
As soon as the Mehndi paste is applied, not as lumps but in intricate designs, it dries out within 20 to 30 minutes. All this while, usually a concentrated mixture of lemon water and sugar is added to the paste to re-dampen the paste to give the design darker color.
Also, covering the hands and legs, with a plastic sheet or medical tape to confine the body heat, where the design is applied can create a deeper tint. The oxidation process of the henna, after its removal from hands and legs, is what causes the deeper shades. But at the start, as soon as the dried out henna is removed it is paler in color, an orange shade.
According to the quality of the Mehndi applied, the color may turn to reddish brown and can last for two to three weeks. The color of the Mehndi also depends on which part of the body it is applied.
The better the quality of the Mehndi cone, the better is the Mehndi applied. Also, the Mehndi stays for a long time on the hands n legs if the quality of the Mehndi is good.
The longer you keep it on your hands, the darker shades you’ll get. Long hours of Mehndi drying out on hands, gives the extra hue to the deeper colors. Also, a dab of eucalyptus oil produces heat on the hands and gives the Mehndi rich color.
The moistening of the Mehndi paste over and over again with either eucalyptus oil or lemon-sugar mixture gives out more n more dye onto the hands keeping the paste in contact with the skin. Lemon acts as dye releasing agent and hence the deep tint.
Wrap the Mehndi applied areas to keep warm. Use a plastic sheet or warmer clothes or a medical tape and gently wrap the designed parts avoiding the mush. Though the wrapping up is not a conventional method, it has been known to give better results when done.
Do not wash off your hands to remove the Mehndi; instead, rub your hands against each other to pat out the dried paste. Scraping off the Mehndi paste after it is dry also can be done but gentle hands and care are to be taken to avoid any harm to the skin.
As soon as the Mehndi paste is removed, apply either of the oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, baby oil, mustard oil, clove oil, sesame seeds. Also, the fumes of cloves being heated over an open pan can be used to give a good rich color. Put your hands over a certain height and expose it to the heating cloves and let the vapors from the cloves reach the design.
In an unconventional method, instead of oil, few brides these days are using balms like the Zandu balm or Vicks to produce heat. Though weird to hear, this is said to be working actually! Do not apply soap water immediately as it makes the Mehndi lose color away faster.
Also, whatever the urgency may be, never use a hair dryer to dry out your Mehndi design. This may cause a gooey Mehndi paste and makes the whole design look ugly. Also, avoid air conditioners, as the Mehndi itself may cause cold and also it quickens the drying time of Mehndi. The longer the Mehndi takes to dry, the deeper is the tint.
To give the Mehndi design a good shade and a rich look, opt for a design which has thin lines and thick lines. While the gaps inside may be covered by the thin lines, the outer design and on the whole, thick lines gives a deeper red color and a royal look.
Before trying the tips suggested, many people must first check few points. The allergies they have towards few oils like clove, sesame, and eucalyptus oils.
Few people’s skin is sensitive and can develop rashes easily; hence, the Mehndi paste bought from the market should be tested once in a patch before applying it all over.
Also for a smooth and good look for Mehndi design, pedicure, manicure and waxing of the hands and body must be done three days prior to applying of Mehndi so that any kind of rash developed during the waxing will be subdued by then.