Modern women have a kind of love-hate relationship with henna. Some might absolutely adore a deep dark stain that lasts forever while others might find it rather tiresome to watch their hands discolour in patches over a few weeks. If you’re reading this then you’re probably firmly in the former camp and are looking for the henna artist of your dreams to create a work of art on your hands. If you’re kind of undecided where you belong and are veering more towards calling the whole thing off then give us a few minutes of your time before you make your decision.
Indian women in the past very rarely had these issues because henna was always the precursor to joyful events like weddings, baby showers and even house warming poojas. Quite a few 90s girls of Indian descent probably couldn’t wait for their end-of-term holidays so they could decorate their hands with intricate designs often created by a well meaning family member or close friend. In short henna meant exciting things were happening in your life.
These days henna is more about a cohesive look – an ethnic traditional one. Again, the ones who simply adore henna need no excuse to stain their hands with it but there are those who consider the practical implications. They worry that it will clash with their regular western clothes, that it might look like a skin disease to people who aren’t Indian, that it might be tiresome to watch it fade slowly and mainly because they never really liked henna in the first place. Well to those women we would like to point out that henna is no longer just about traditional designs.
Henna is all about self-expression and it can range from decidedly old school to totally contemporary. Paisleys and flowers can easily be replaced by mandalas and dream catchers and even the colour of the stain can be brown, black or white. The level of personalisation offered by henna artists today is astounding and there are loads of inspirations out there for you to take your cues.
Newly wedded Bollywood divas took their henna game to a whole new level when it came to customisation. Deepika Padukone opted for an elaborate bridal design while Anushka Sharma took the more simplistic approach. Priyanka Chopra and Sonam Kapoor went for more exclusive variants with henna designs depicting motifs that were very emotionally meaningful for them.
Deepika Padukone’s Elaborate Ethnic Henna Design
Anushka Sharma’s Simple Ethnic Henna Design
Priyanka Chopra’s Personalised Henna Design
Sonam Kapoor’s Personalise Henna Design
However none of the above matters if you don’t have the right henna artist to translate those fantasies into reality. Just like your makeup artists and hairdressers, the correct henna artist can make or break a bridal look so keep these key pointers in mind to make sure you pick the right one.
As with everything these days, scouring Instagram for inspiration worthy designs is totally natural when it comes to henna as well. However don’t disregard the power of word of mouth communication and in-person reviews. Most henna artists will upload their work online but many might be too busy or not as technologically savvy to update regularly. If you like someone’s henna design ask for a referral and speak to the henna artist directly to see some of their other work.
Good henna artists have their own signature style that is very evident in their work. Some excel at delicate intricate work while others are more adept at doing heavier motifs with lots of filling. Certain artists specialise in more ethnic designs while others are more experimental and contemporary. These are important aspects to keep in mind when selecting someone for yourself because asking an artist to create something totally out of their comfort zone can have disastrous consequences.
With the ability of smart phones to screen grab everything there is no need to attempt to verbally explain something to your henna artist. Save and organize all of your henna references to show your potential picks and make sure they understand exactly what you want. Whether it’s a spaced out Arabic style or a Moroccan inspired design with tiny dots, don’t wait to scroll through your feed to find that one picture. Keep it saved to make it less confusing for yourself and your henna artist.
In all this talk of creativity don’t forget to ask about the important details like price, application time and ingredients. You don’t want to waste your time and energy speaking to someone well above your budget, someone who will take too long to create what you like and whose henna paste could likely give you rashes. If you’re someone who likes to be doubly sure and have the time and inclination then do a small trial with your chosen artist to check all the boxes.
If you’ve been wedding planning for some time and have a very particular aesthetic then you will quickly realize that very few vendors are able to provide what you want at a decent price. Henna artists will be the same so don’t wait till the last minute and lock down someone you like well in advance. It goes without saying that someone exceptional will be booked up pretty quickly and you will likely get further aggravated trying to find someone else.
Sources: Gqindia.com, Timesofindia.com, Fashionlady.in, Urbanclap.com, Pinterest.com