Henna is a flowering plant, commonly found in the semi-arid regions of the world. The leaves of the henna plant (Lawsonia inermis) contain a red dye molecule called lawsone, which can bond with protein. Hence, the paste of these leaves have been used by people since time immemorial for dyeing fabrics and coloring hair, skin and nails. Traditionally, henna was used to draw delicate patterns on the hands and feet. Gradually, people started using henna designs as a replacement for conventional tattoos. Unlike other types of temporary tattoos, henna tattoos cannot be made in a wide range of colors. The latter can come up with shades of reds, browns and near blacks. But beware of some henna products, which may contain harmful chemicals. Hence, it is always better to use natural henna for tattoos and body art.
Henna tattoos are made of henna paste, which is applied on the skin in the desired pattern. It is left on the skin for several hours to facilitate staining. The stain will last for around two weeks to one month, depending on the method of application and after-care. One of the reasons behind the popularity of henna tattoos is its temporary nature. The tattoo will fade on its own and there is no need of adopting tattoo removal. Even if you want to remove these tattoos, it is very easy, as compared to conventional ones. You don't have to sport the same design for a whole lifetime. Another reason is the lack of pain associated with the conventional tattoos, which need needles to etch the design. In case of henna tattoos, only henna paste is required.
Basically, traditional designs can be classified into African, Arabic and Indian. Other types include the Middle East style, which is inspired by the Arabic style. The Indonesian or Southeast Asian styles are a combination of Indian and Middle Eastern designs with blocks of color on the tips of fingers and toes. The North American style mainly deals with geometric floral patterns. Let's look at the basic types.
- African henna designs consists of very bold and big designs, made of broad lines. Most of the designs resemble geometric patterns, which are sometimes made of black henna.
- Arabic henna designs are characterized by floral designs, with thick lines. But as compared to the lines in the African designs, Arabic ones are thinner.
- Indian henna designs usually cover the entire hands, forearms, feet and shins. The designs are intricate and consist of paisley patterns, thin lines and teardrops. These are considered the most elaborate and delicate among henna designs and are very popular.
Traditional Arabic henna tattoo designs
Traditional Indian henna tattoo designs
Traditional African henna tattoo designs
All these traditional henna designs are incorporated into the art of tattooing. From small motifs, elaborate designs are etched on the skin. Apart from these designs, there are many modern ones like Celtic designs, which are also in vogue. As far as henna tattoo designs are concerned, your imagination is the limit. Splurge your creativity and create your own designs.