Five Tips for Bridal Henna

Henna stained hands, arms and feet are a staple for every beautiful South Asian bride. There are songs devoted to the henna ceremony, hidden meanings assigned to the designs. Subtle story lines embedded into the tracing of each curve. It is said the darker the stain the deeper the love between spouses. Beyond the folklore and contemporary exuberance the henna ceremony’s purpose was actually very simple; relaxation.

I often hear from exhausted brides to be how relaxing henna is and they can finally just close their eyes and prepare for the days ahead. Its a time to be in the moment, enjoy beautiful conversations with your best friends and family and most of all to pause and soak in all the love and excitement.

Here are five tips I suggest every bride take note of before planning her henna application whether she is planning a traditional ceremony or a fusion wedding.

Kansas City bride's henna

Pakistani bride in Kansas City shows off the rich color of her bridal henna during her fusion wedding at the Kansas City Public Library

  1. Mani-Pedi Come First
    Your pampering should always begin with a mani-pedi session before you schedule your henna appointment. This not only ensures that your nails are primed for the perfect shape and color but the exfoliating hand and arm massage some salons offers also prepares your skin to be in the perfect condition for a rich henna stain. If you are worried about your nails getting stained with henna during the process, ask your artist to cover your nails with a thin coat of Vaseline to prevent the dye from sinking into your nails.  Make sure to exfoliate to top of your feet as well leaving a soft and smooth fresh skin for henna application.
  2.  Eat, Drink & Be Merry              Traditional henna styles are intricate and take a long time. The average time a bride spends in the henna application is four hours. This may vary depending on the skill level and speed of the artist you hire but generally traditional designs are an art form that require sitting still and a lot of patience. So make sure you are in a comfortable and supportive position. Always make sure you have eaten a filling meal, hydrated all day and used the facilities before your sit down for the henna. Taking breaks to eat or other distractions slows down the artist’s flow and breaks the design’s consistency. Besides, this is really about you sitting back and relaxing.
  3. Invite your best  friends         Friends make every experience better. You can relax, laugh and share stories. Having your favorite people around you to keep you company is a great way to truly relax, makes time go faster and you will end up creating more wonderful memories to reminisce on. If you are planning a large gathering of guests who also want designs during your henna application, make sure you are the first to be taken care of. This will prevent mismanagement of time.
  4. Trust your Artist          Depending on where you live, there are numerous talented artists specializing in henna for brides. Meet them in person, request a consultation and trail henna design. Most professional artists will be happy to spend the time getting to know you. Prices for trail sessions may vary. Find someone whose company you enjoy and can meet your expectations and style. Artists are all unique individuals and their personalities influence their work. If you are wanting a traditional design, someone who is a free style artist may not be for you. Rate your artist on the quality of their work, the purity of their henna and most importantly the service they provide you. If you can trust the artist you choose, it will be easier to relax and have a wonderful ftime.
  5. Seal the Deal                Sealing the henna designs is an important part of application. It ensures the henna design stays in place, seeps into your skin and doesn’t transfer to your clothes, bed sheets etc. Ask your artist what they use to seal the henna. it may be a simple solution of sugar and lemon or a gauze tape. You won’t know until you ask!

Henna stains typically take 24/48 hours to get dark, so it is recommended you get the design two days before the ceremony. Everyone’s skin is different but don’t expect an instant stain. Natural henna takes time. Beware of instant dye release tubes or cones available in the market as they may contain harmful chemicals that can cause painful burns and scarring.

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