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18 November 2012

Tanzina from Makeup A to Z on Mehndi!

Makeup A to Z Tanzina

Whilst I'm away on holiday I asked my lovely & beautiful friend Tanzina (she blogs at Makeup AtoZ so make sure to have a read) if she would write a guest post for me. We decided it would be on Mehndi decoration because I always love Tanzina's designs and find it so delicate and beautiful. 

So here is a detailed post from Tanzina of her love of Medndi...

My first memory of applying mehndi/henna is nothing like the application I'm used to nowadays. Whereas now mostly pre-packaged mehndi cones are used, I started off with the more traditional form. It was in Bangladesh, I couldn't be older than 6 or 7 and I'm sure it wasn't my first time but it is the earliest I can remember, and the mehndi came from a huge henna tree that resided in the back of our house.

I remember pulling lots of henna leaves off with glee, because back in England if I attempted to pull off flowers or leaves in the garden it was like signing my own death warrant, my mum would've been furious. After collecting lots of the leaves in a wicker basket, we washed it and laid out all out on a flat pestle and mortar and adding as much water as necessary, they rolled it out until it was paste. And then using sticks the size of match sticks usually huge dots or maybe if your lucky some leaves and branches were patterned out on your hand. Nothing like the intricate designs produced today, but I didn't care I was ecstatic! I still get that feeling sometimes when a design stains really well.

Picture 2
Flat pestle and mortar and some henna leaves

I guess that's how my love affair with applying henna started, that and it also reminds me of my grandma who used to love getting henna on to her grandchildren's hands as it was something we weren't really used to growing up in the UK. Mehndi cones weren't as readily available like they are now back then. I am absolutely rubbish at creating patterns the traditional way but I like to think I've gotten much better at using cones; I better had as I've had years and years of practise and lots of willing hands to try out designs on. There is something therapeutic about applying mehndi and also having it done too.

3
The kind of mehndi cones I use, you can pick these up at 
asian/indian shops for around £1

The best way to get good at mehndi is simply lots of practise. A lot of it is repeating the same pattern over and over again and if you look closely you can see that in some of my pictures. It really is the exact same concept as piping icing onto cakes, the more pressure you apply the thicker it will be and the less you apply the thinner it will be. There are lots of different old wives tale with getting mehndi to stain really well, and to be honest I really can't tell if they all work or not. Tales like squeezing a lemon over the dried mehndi to make it wet again, applying mustard oil over your hands after taking it off, warming cloves on the stove and letting the scented heat warm your hands etc.

 The thing with mehndi/henna is that it is really unpredictable when it comes to staining... you can buy the same branded cone each time but get different levels on intensity on each occasion. Of course the longer you keep it on the more it will stain, I've spent too many childhood nights with a Sainsbury's bag wrapped around my semi-dry mehndi hands to ensure the dried crumbly mehndi doesn't go all over the bed when I toss and turn at night!

Picture 4
This is how I usually do designs if I have gone a long time without 
doing mehndi. With more practise the designs become even more 
intricate and detailed.

Applying mehndi isn't just limited to palms, although in my culture it is most commonly applied there. There are lots of different types of designs but I think the type I stick to is definitely south asian, indian type of patterns. I love applying mehndi to the sides of my feet, especially before a celebration like Eid as I think it looks so pretty peeking out the sides of my high heels! I really wish I had a picture with heels on to show you all. Sometimes I crave getting a real tattoo, but I don't think that is something I would ever do. However when I do get such cravings, I tend to grab a cone and pipe on the design I want. Take for example the picture below, for days I felt like writing 'Hope' on myself so I did. Of course I got tired of it within a day or two, imagine if that was permanent!

5 and 6

The art of henna/mehndi goes back almost 5,000 years, and was really embraced by the Ancient Egyptians. It feels good that I'm a part of something so old, you don't really think about origins when your doing something... but it is eye opening to see where things started from. I think I will always use henna art in my life, even if I go months and months before picking up a cone! When you first pick it up after ages, your skills are definitely rusty but like all the best things in life, practise makes perfect.

Mehndi beauty blog
As you can tell, there are always willing hands lying around
 waiting to get the mehndi application done!

 I think if I have spare time next summer I'm going to try pick up different types of patterns like celtic patterns and arabic henna patterns, although my biased opinion is that the asian patterns are definitely the prettiest. I'm looking forward to finally mehndi-ing Fee one day as she's always liked my pictures!


Thank you so much to Tanzina and I 
 hope you have all learnt something new!

Fee xo.

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