03 Nov Henna as Makeup Ritual
At the School of Botanical and Medical Aesthetics we are proud to introduce henna adornment to our makeup curriculum!
Our intention is to open as many doors as possible to our students, and to inspire their creativity. We have so many vibrant and talented people who walk through our doors, the possibilities for them to thrive are endless.
One of my favorite things about the culture we have at SBMA is the inclusion of so many cultural rituals. During our makeup curriculum students now have the opportunity to learn about the background of henna as well as how they can incorporate it into their own practice:
Henna is a tall and flowering plant that grows best in hot climates like Pakistan, India, and Australia. It is grown to be used as dye for skin or hair as well as fabric, wool, and leather. Henna has been used for centuries by many cultures across many regions for cosmetic purposes, artistic expression, medicinal uses, blessings, and is most popularly known for use during special occasions especially weddings.
To achieve a stain effect, the leaves must be first dried and then crushed. Only high-quality body art henna should be used and it is warned to never use “black henna” as it is not derived from the henna plant and may be dangerous to the skin. True henna has many beneficial properties which include fever reducer, healing for burns, natural sun block, anti-inflammatory. It is thought to have originally been used as a cooling agent in the hot climates where the plant grows.
Mehndi is the name for the custom of adorning the body with beautiful designs many of which have sacred meaning. The exact origin is unclear as nomadic ancient people migrated and cultures integrated. People shared their beautiful art with everyone and it spread over a vast area. One theory is that more than 9,000 years ago in the later part of the stone age, people in Catal Huyuk, used henna to decorate their hands in an offering to their fertility goddess. There has also been proof that ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were adorned with henna after mummification. It has been used in ceremony and ritual celebration in many different regions across the world including the Middle East, where floral patterns are prevalently used. In North Africa, India, and Pakistan, lines and teardrop patterns are most common. In Indonesia and Southern Asia, the tips of fingers and toes are traditionally painted with blocks of color. It has become more popular in recent years in Western Culture with a mix of all the aforementioned as well as non-traditional designs, as a celebration of the beautiful art and joy that is associated with it.
Historically, and today this beautiful art has had no cultural boundaries, and will never die down as long as it is continued to be shared and admired.
As estheticians and makeup artists, we work so intimately with our clients during the biggest celebratory and joyful times of their lives. Offering henna to a bridal party along with makeup, mini facials, or spray tan makes for an amazing, fun, and interactive experience any bride will remember forever!
I have always found giving a facial one of the most spiritual acts of service. It makes my heart feel whole, I have given all that I have to create a sacred loving space for another human to drift into their own bliss even for a short amount of time. Offering the sacred ritual of henna during this time is a wonderful way to elevate this kind of service to the next level. The esthetician and client would start with setting an intention and meditating on that throughout the application as well as the aesthetics service. Application on feet, hands and fingers could be an option during the point in the facial when the client is steaming and/or is reaping the benefits from a facial mask, or possibly an extra bit of time before or after service to be loved on and pampered. This is a great way to add mindfulness to the session, to say in the now rather than thinking of that grocery list we have to get taken care of after. I think we could all use a little more time in the here and now!
~ Emily Davis