Henna comes from the henna tree, scientifically known as Lawsonia inermis. It grows in relatively hot regions like the North Africa and India. Henna is made useful after its leaves and stems have been dried and ground. In its ground form, henna can dye one’s hair or paint one’s skin, in the same manner that it can color a fabric, like a black tea dye. In history, henna is popularly used in ritual body art called Mehndi, in celebration of birth and marriage. Today, henna is also used in making temporary tattoos and organic hair dye. When the greenish henna powder is used with an acidic liquid like lemon juice, or vinegar, it can yield the shades of red, brown, or orange.
The ground stems and leaves of henna trees is colored by a strong tannin pigment called lawsone. This pigment is responsible for henna’s temporary coloring ability. It temporarily stains the skin as either a complicated ritual body art or contemporary tattoo.
To make a henna paste, mix your ground henna with vinegar or lime juice. An acidic henna mixture ensures the strength of the henna paste. You may use a pastry tube to apply your henna paste as body art or skin tattoo. You must be very skilled in controlling your henna tool for a successful albeit temporary imprint.
When used as hair dye, henna may last for up to a month and a half. Henna is good to use for organic hair dyeing purposes because it is much less harmful than synthetic dye.