The mehandi (or mehndi) is a skin coloring technique based on a preparation of henna paste, a natural dye of reddish color that is also used to dye hair. Its use is common in countries of the Middle East, Asia or Africa.


Photo: Tela Chhe (CC on Flickr)

In India, future wives adorn their hands and feet with mehandi tattoos as part of a sacred ritual that favors happiness and fertility and protects against the “evil eye . ” 
In addition to weddings, mehandi tattoos are used in the 8th month of pregnancy, births and naming ceremonies. Normally, henna is applied to feet and hands by drawing geometric or floral patterns.

Homemade tattoos
Although in some countries, especially in India, henna paste is sold in cones ready for use, anyone can prepare homemade mehandi paste for a tattoo. The procedure is more than simple.

A packet of henna powder (for sale in herbalists)
Eucalyptus oil
Black tea
A lemon or lime


Preparing henna

Photo: Angelsk (CC on Flickr)

With a sieve, we sift the henna powder well until it is free of impurities and we reserve it. We put water to boil with black tea leaves. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix henna, sugar and juice of 1 lemon. Once the mixture is ready, we add the tea water until a paste with a consistent texture is mixed with a few drops of eucalyptus oil. To finish, cover the pasta with transparent film and leave it to rest for 24 hours to 48 hours.

Application: We
cut a piece of plastic in the form of a square with which we will make a cone (similar to that used by confectioners, but in miniature) where we will place the paste. We close it well by the thicker end with masking tape and, before using it, we make a small hole through the vertex to start painting. We can use an orange stick (like the one used in manicure) to correct small details.
As we advance the design, we will apply on the drawing lemon juice mixed with sugar with the help of a cotton. This will help preserve and fix the paste.

Once finished:
It is important to leave the paste on the skin for 24 hours, avoiding water and friction.
After that time, we remove the pasta with the edge of a knife or knife and apply eucalyptus oil on the skin to promote its conservation.
The mehandi lasts around 2 weeks , depending on how often the area gets wet.