FAQ

Ask Bhupi (Frequently Asked Questions)

We get asked questions about henna and henna related items all the time. So we thought we'd put the most common questions, and their answers up on the site to make it easier for everyone. We hope this helps with any questions or concerns you might have.

Oh, and if you don't see your question here, you can ask us about henna using our contact form.

What's the Difference Between our Henna Cones and Grocery Store Henna Cones?

We only use 100% natural ingredients and our fresh henna powder is organically certified.  We mix the henna 24 hours prior to the date required to ensure quality and freshness.  Our henna paste does not contain any additives or preservatives.  Our ingredients include; organically certified henna powder, lemon juice, tea tree oil and sugar.

When you pick up a tube of henna in store, you have no way of knowing when it was mixed or the ingredients used in the paste.  By law, they are not obliged to share or list these. Some of the cones, could be as old as 2-3 years but in order for the colour to stain, chemicals and preservatives have to be added.  

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Can the Henna that you use for tattoos be used as a hair dye?

The henna used in the hair dye products is an older or stale version of the henna. The henna has lost most of it's staining potency so it will only slightly dye the hair.

If you have natural dark hair, the henna will give a beautiful red/brown tint.  Light coloured, blonde or grey hair can result in a powerful stain, possible turning the hair a bright orange colour.

It's very important to note that chemical hair dyes cannot be used within six months of henna application. Henna is a strong natural substance and when mixed with chemicals can become volatile.  It could result in catastrophe including; hair loss or damage to the folicles.

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What Are Some Other Uses for Henna?

Henna is most commonly used for temporary tattoos and hair dye, but can also be used for medicial purposes including treatment for; dandruff, ringworm and head lice. Henna also acts as a sunscreen and a cooling agent in hot weather. Henna can also be used for reducing a fever.

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What's the Difference Between Natural Henna and Black Henna

Henna is a green powder and smells very earthy (like wet tree bark). Henna powder is created by crushing the dried leaves of a henna plant. Natural henna stains the skin a light orange to a dark mahogany brown and will last anything from one to four weeks. Natural henna will not stain your skin black.

Black henna has to be chemically altered to leave a black stain on your skin. Unethical artists and manufacturers may add chemicals such as The NationalPPD (para-phenylenediamine) to get that deep black colour people are demanding. PPD is a potentially harmful chemical and is usually found in hair dyes. Hair dye packages insist that the dye only be left on the scalp for 20-30 minutes, anything longer can be harmful to your hair and or scalp.

Possible side effects, especially in children and those with allergies and sensitive skin,may include itchy skin, rashes, blisters, and nausea. In some cases, more extreme side effects may include permanent scarring, asthma attacks, and skin cancer (if the chemicals enter the bloodstream).

The photograph on the right shows the damage caused by black henna, courtesy of The National Newspaper and the one below courtesy of Dr H Mahdi from Derm Atlas.

Just recently, we were shown a bottle of henna purchased from a store shelf in Ottawa. The ingredients listed an item we hadn't seen before called "Terpinol", but Dr  H Mahdi DermAtlaseverything else seemed to be fine. We googled the ingredient, and found that terpinol is a derivative of Turpentine. As you may or may not know, Turpentine is an industrial-strength paint thinner. And it is definitely not safe for your body, in fact, it is highly poisonous.

We suggest that you always ask your henna artist about the ingredients in their paste, and if you are in any doubt or have any concerns, don’t get the tattoo.

Link to Google Images search for "black henna"

Health Canada Website: Advisories on Black Henna

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Is Henna dangerous? Are there any side effects?

Natural Henna, the ONLY recipe we use, is 100% safe on the skin and bloodstream. But, to be sure, you should check our recipe to make sure you are not allergic to ANY of the ingredients that we use. The main safety concern is “Black Henna”, or any henna which has been 'enhanced' using chemicals.

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Why has henna slowly become more of a cultural phenomenon rather than a religious one?

Over the years, mehendhi has transitioned into the world of fashion. Henna is no longer used only for ceremonies, and Bollywood and Hollywood have a lot to do with that change. Mainstream artists and celebrities, including Madonna, and Naomi Campbell, have helped make henna an acceptable form of body art. Finally, the increased mixing of cultures, especially in North America, has helped give mehendhi exposure to other cultures.

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Do designs have special meanings?

Some of our designs are purely for fun, but some designs do carry a special significance. Did you know that the humble dragonfly is a symbol of overcoming cancer? Here are some examples of design elements used in traditional henna and their original/current meanings:

  • The Lotus flower represents creativity. (Hey, that's our logo!)
  • Flowers, in general, are considered to be symbols of joy or happiness.
  • Paisleys represent an unripened mango fruit, which is a symbol of burgeoning fertility.
  • Peacocks are considered the companion of a wife longing for her husband, during periods of separation.
  • Vines represent the growth of a marriage or the journey through life.
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What makes Henna or Mehendhi last?

There are several key rules to ensuring henna comes out dark and lasts for a long time. In our opinion, the most important, is that the artist uses quality ingredients in their mixture. The henna powder needs to be free from impurities and as fresh as possible. We order our organically certified fresh henna, on a regular basis, direct from a supplier in the East. We always ensure that our henna, especially for bridal mehendhi, is no more than 6 months old. When you pick up a tube of henna in store, you have no way of knowing when it was mixed, let alone when the leaves were picked. That henna could be upwards of 2-3 years old when you apply it.

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What is a Belly Blessing?

Henna is used during the Belly Blessing - the “Ghodh Barahi” ceremony, which is performed by a priest when an expectant mother reaches the seventh month of her pregnancy. The ceremony celebrates new life. In some cultures, the mother-to-be has her hands and feet adorned with mehendhi like a bride. In other cultures, it is painted directly onto the pregnant belly. She receives jewellery, clothes, money, for herself and the baby – so in Western terms, it would be similar to the baby shower with a religious ceremony.

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Which Old Henna Wedding Traditions are Practised Today?

There are several traditions which have held on to this day, the original reasons may not be applicable, but the end result or desire is the same as it was back them. Some examples:

  • The initials of the groom were hidden within the intricate bridal design. This created an ice breaker for the couple, who, about 80% of the time, had not met each other until their wedding day. The groom would have to find his initials in the design in front of the family. If he couldn’t find them, then the bride was allowed to request a gift, such as a diamond ring. vacation, time to visit with her family.
  • It is, or used to be believed that the darkness of the henna stain indicated how much your new mother-in-law would love you!
  • The darker the colour of your henna; the more 'vibrant' and 'successful' your marriage would be.
  • And our personal favourite, there is a tradition which says that a bride cannot do any household chores until the last bit of her henna has disappeared. When the henna finally comes off, the 'honeymoon' ends, and the new bride will make dinner for the groom's family members, which could be as many as thirty to fifty people. Luckily, in return, She will receive gifts including money, jewellery, and new clothes. She will have her mehendhi done again, but this time, she will be considered a family member and not a new bride.
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Why is henna so important for weddings?

Henna represents the love and happiness of a marriage. Henna has also come to be associated with the sexual initiation into womanhood for the virgin bride, fertility, and to celebrate the union of husband and wife. In fact, an Indian woman will wear henna at auspicious occasions for the rest of her life, or until she becomes a widow. Henna is so entwined with the happiness, love and sexuality of marriage, that it is included in the Kama Sutra as one of the sixty-four arts of seduction for women.

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How Did Henna Gain So Much Importance With Love and Marriage?

Parvati, a Hindu goddess, would decorate herself with henna in order to please her husband, Lord Shiva, and win his favour. Shiva was a notoriously difficult husband to please, and Parvati become his bride, it earned mehendhi the reputation as an irresistible sensual allure: the guarantor of marital success and bliss. Henna is also worn by women to please the gods and protect herself and her family from any misfortune. Henna has now become part of the brides “Shingar” – her makeup - on her wedding day.

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Why do some parts of the body take henna better than others?

The dye in henna infuses skin, hair, and porous surfaces but does not permanently or chemically alter them. The 'strength' of the stain is affected by numerous factors including skin type, temperature, hormone levels, and stress. After the dried paste is removed from skin, the stain will darken over the next 48-72 hours. The dye stains the outermost layer of the skin and will initially appear as light/dark orange and darken to a red brown. Henna appears darkest on hands and feet because they have thicker skin than other parts of the body.

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What Are The Ingredients for Henna4You's Natural Paste?

Our all natural paste includes the following ingredients:

  • Organically Certified Mehendhi/Henna Powder
  • Dextrose (Sugar)
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Lemon Juice
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What is the traditional use for Henna?

Mehendhi or henna, is most frequently used during auspicious occasions or celebrations. During wedding ceremonies, Henna is used to decorate the hands and feet of the bride (and a little on the groom for good luck). During the Belly Bellsing known as "Ghodh Barahi", Henna is used to decorate the hands, feet, and belly of an expecting mother. In all cases, henna is used to mark a signifigant celebration – an engagement, birthday, overcoming cancer, etc.

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How does Henna Work?

Henna's characteristic staining properties stem from the compound 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, also known as lawsone, hennotannic acid, or natural orange 6. Henna leaves contain up to 5% by weight of the compound, which, in its purest form, is a yellow-orange powder that does not dissolve in water.

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What are the Origins of Henna?

It has proven difficult for scholars to ascertain the true origins of henna. No one really knows how many centuries, even millenia, henna has been used to adorn our bodies. The earliest proof of henna being used on humans is found in the tombs of Egypt, and on both men and women. However, judging by folklore and written word, it is possible that Henna existed for centuries before that in other countries such as India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, because the dead were cremated or buried, it is hard to find proof like we can with the mummified remains in Egypt.

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Can I use Hair Dye with Henna?

It's very important to note that chemical hair dyes cannot be used within six months of henna application or until the hair has hennaed hair has grown out.

Henna is a strong natural substance and when mixed with chemicals can become volatile.  It could result in catastrophe including; hair loss or damage to the folicles.  

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What is Henna or Mehendhi?

Henna is a powder derived from the Lawsonia Inermis plant. The plant only grows in very hot climates, such as Africa, India, and Pakistan. The leaves of the plant are picked, dried, and then crushed to produce the green powder known as henna or mehendhi. There are several different spellings and pronunciations depending on which region or culture you are from, such as, "mehendhi", "mehndi", "mendhi", "henna", "hina".

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What do I need to Provide for a Henna Party Set Up

We don't require a lot of space for our set up, whether its for a home party, corporate or community event.

All we need is a small well lit area.

We bring;

  • Two small stools
  • A rolling cart with all the supplies.
  • A very small battery operated folding lamp just in case there isn't enough light.

For any questions relating to setting up, please contact Bhupi by email or call 519 741 7007. 

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How Far Will You Travel?

We serve; K-W Tricities (Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge),Toronto, Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Guelph, Milton, London, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Niagara, Elora, Fonthill, Sarnia, all surrounding areas and most of Ontario.

We are definitely not restricted by distance as we've covered events in Europe, Mexico, Muskoka, Barrie and in the US: Pittsburgh, Erie, New York and Seattle to name a few. 

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How Does Henna4You Calculate Travel Charges?

Travel is charged by the kilometer for the round trip and is dependant on gas prices.  In today's market that can range between 45 - 60 cents per km.

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Do You Cover Destination Weddings?

We are available for worldwide destination weddings and events.  For more information please visit our Destination Wedding Section.

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519-741-7007

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Henna4You
Mill Creek Road
Cambridge, ON N1R 1J5
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