Henna tattoo designs – origin, popular motifs and their meaning
Henna tattoo designs, also called bio-tattoos, henna or Mehndi is a traditional kind of body painting with natural paint – henna. This is a beautiful, artistic alternative to traditional tattoos. Fancy motifs can decorate your back, your feet, hands and your arms and the skin is not harmed. Body painting is a kind of temporary tattoo that lasts for a maximum of five weeks so if you want to emphasize a certain body part you can do it with a henna tattoo.
Tattoos are a beautiful body art popular among men and women of all ages. Since ancient times, people have decorated their bodies in a variety of ways. Tattooing is one of the oldest methods and had a special significance but nowadays many people choose it exclusively for its aesthetic function. However, a tattoo is usually very painful and may have a high price depending on the size and design. Those who do not want a permanent tattoo can opt for a temporary one and perhaps the safest way to beautify the body is to apply a henna drawing on the skin.
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Advantages of henna tattoo designs
As you know, tattooing is done by injecting paint under the skin and it lasts forever. To get rid of a tattoo you need to undergo quite a long procedure. Sometimes, when you are not sure about the design of your permanent tattoo the best and most acceptable method is to apply a henna design. At present, henna is actively used for tattooing. Of course, it is not so universal and does not offer a huge variety of colors, but it has different shades.
There are some considerations that you need to keep in mind before applying a temporary henna image on your body. Henna can not stay on the body for very long. Pay special attention to the place of application – the most suitable places are hands and feet. Try to avoid exposing the tattoo under sun’s rays, hot water and avoid active soap as well.
Henna tattoo designs offer a number of advantages:
On the first place, the main advantage of henna tattoos is the fact that henna is absolutely harmless to health and this is why it is used for fake freckles, for example. Henna itself does not cause allergies. They can only be caused by chemicals and dyes, which are added to give the henna a different color.
The color of natural henna is never blue, violet, pink or green. Any of these colors contains pigments and often harmful elements are mixed with henna. Henna with additives can also leave burns, so it is better to use pure henna, adding to it natural oils, tea or wine.
Another major advantage of henna is that the designs are bloodless since there is no need of a needle. In addition to that, the risk of hepatitis is, practically, zero. The application procedure is absolutely painless.
Last, but not least, is the fact that the symbol will not remain with you for ever and even if you do not like the drawing, it will wash out.
Henna drawings are inexpensive and you have the chance to try different designs, even decorate the tattoo with sequins or rhinestones with the help of specially designed glue=
When you go to an artist or in a salon you will be offered catalog of designs to choose from and most studios have an extensive variety of original tattoos.
How to prolong the life of henna tattoos?
True or not, there is a saying that the henna drawings of Indian brides last for 2 months since from the moment the mehndi is applied to the moment when it disappears from their body, they are completely free from all domestic duties! During this whole period they devote themselves to getting acquainted with the new family. Nowadays noone will promise you such a long life of a henna tattoo. The average period for henna drawings is one or two weeks and many girls would like to know what factors affect and determine “the lifespan” of a henna design.
Location and density of the picture is one of the first factors that have great significance. Each part of the body reacts differently to the paint. For example, a drawing on the palms lasts 2-3 times longer than one on the wrist or shoulder. This is because the regeneration of the upper layer of the skin on the palms is slower. The density of the pattern is also of importance. In India, for examples, patterns are very dense and a large amount of color pigment penetrates into the skin, which, accordingly, lasts longer. Small drawings which are more of an accessory will last a short time as the pigment concentration is much lower.
Individual characteristics of the skin like how quickly skin cells regenerate, also affect the lifetime of a temporary tattoo. In addition to physiology, the time of the year also influences the process of regeneration – in winter this process is slower while in summer, on the contrary, it becomes more active. Another factor which is strictly individual is the tendency to sweat – the more a person sweats, the faster the color of the drawing goes. You can control the sweating by avoiding very hot food and drinks, too active or frequent workouts, sauna or a bath, etc. The level of skin pigmentation is another factor. It is like with sun tan – it sometimes goes off quickly, while some people keep it much longer – this is a genetic factor that can not be affected at all.
The frequency of contact with water and soap is another factor. As we mentioned – you should forget about long hot baths for a while, it’s better to replace them with a warm shower. Daily visits to a swimming pool or swimming in the sea will also significantly shorten the lifetime of your mehndi.
You can protect the pattern if you treat it with vegetable oil (preferably olive or coconut oil) or special mehndi oil before bathing or swimming. Keep in mind that if the picture is on the hands or the palms it is absolutely necessary to wear gloves when washing dishes or during any prolonged contact with water. It is crucial that you do not wet the place of the drawing at least 6-8 hours after application and if possible – for one whole day.
The type, quality and freshness of henna also affect the lifetime of the drawing. Usually, a colorful henna-based ink lasts no more than 4-5 days, and white henna – even less.As for natural henna, the finer the grind and the fresher the paint, the better it penetrates into the skin. The technology of henna making is also important. For example, essential oil in the composition expands the pores but good essential oils are quite expensive so some manufacturers save on them.
There is a misconception that black henna lasts longer than any other henna. This is only possible if there is a chemical additive, but you should remember that chemicals can cause an allergy and even a severe skin burn.
The method of application and care of the henna tattoo is one of the most crucial factors. This includes preparation of the skin, working conditions, colors in the drawing, proper completion of the process and further care.
What are the most popular henna tattoo designs?
Henna tattoo designs can be of any size and shape, and also contain any image that you can choose from a catalog of drawings in the studio or even something that you designed. You can have specific or abstract drawings applied and in this case there are no restrictions on the technique. Modern henna tattoos can be in the traditional Indian style, and any other images can be used if desired. These patterns are applied with special stencils. Therefore, even at home, you can make a beautiful temporary tattoo.
Everyone knows that tattoos, even if temporary, have a certain meaning. One big group of images features shapes with sharp corners – stars, squares, rhombus, triangular shapes, cross – which protect the person from evil spirits.
The second large group of henna images includes round shaped images, which are the embodiment of integrity, balance, perfection of man, completeness. In addition, they symbolize eternity, infinity, unity and one of the most popular designs all over the world is mandala.
Here are some of the most popular symbols and their meaning:
Indian paisley is a floral ornament in the form of an elongated drop. This pattern was traditionally used to decorate the body of the bride. In ancient times, the symbol meant a wish for happiness to the young family, a sign of wealth and fertility. In India this is also one of the symbols for movement, development, energy while in Egypt the paisley is a sign of immortality.
Om symbol represents the beginning of the universe and its infinity. This is one of the most mysterious and mystical symbols, because it can be found in almost all the sacred writings of Ancient India. Lotus personifies life and harmony as well and there can be different variations.
Lotus flower is one of the most beautiful and gentle drawings. This is a symbol of purity, innocence and eternal life.
Spiral is another of the most ancient symbols. It represents the impact of living energy on a person.
Peacock – this graceful and beautiful bird was the symbol of the goddess Krishna in Ancient India. According to the legend, she perceived human life as a permanent holiday and joy and probably that is why the peacock became a symbol of immortality.
Hamsa symbolizes boundless patience and faith. In ancient India, this symbol was applied to the body as a talisman to protect the person from dark forces and evil spirits.
Elephant is a symbol of intelligence, dignity and power. It is also a symbol of wisdom, foresight and a sense of proportion. God Ganesha, the patron of philosophy and the God of wisdom and innocence, is portrayed with an elephant’s head. In addition, an elephant is a symbol of longevity and immortality, because elephants live very long.
Here are some more of the popular henna tattoo symbols:
- Flowers – joy and happiness;
- A shell acts as a guardian against troubles;
- The sun is a symbol of spiritual knowledge, life and immortality of the soul;
- The moon is considered a symbol of female beauty;
- The star means hope and is often a symbol of expectation;
- A triangle will protect you from illnesses and evil eye.
Women of the East believe that mehndi brings happiness and protects from life’s misfortunes. In addition, the patterns on the delicate female skin draw the attention to the graceful hands and slender legs of the dancing girls.
Temporary henna tattoos can be done at home because this procedure is very simple and does not require any special tools. It takes only some free time and henna paste. You can decorate your hands, back, legs with intricate oriental patterns or simple geometric ones. Henna tattoos are the easiest, safest and cheapest way to decorate your body. Henna itself helps to keep the skin soft and gentle and it is not a surprise that henna tattoo designs are becoming more popular and the number of women wishing to make tattoos with henna grows every day.