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From Tips to Designs, Here’s Your Henna Inspiration For This Eid

The excitement around Eid al-Fitr is on the rise as we enter the last few days of the Holy Month of Ramadan. Among all the traditions surrounding the Islamic holiday, the practice of decorating the hands with henna is the most looked out for. Every year, women in the region line up at henna salons to get their palms and the back of the hands decorated with the plant-based dye and the results are always visually stunning.

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Henna is also rooted deep in our culture where it is seen as a symbol of good luck and celebration. Over the past few years, this practice has gone global with henna salons like Pavan Henna Bar taking the regional tradition to western cities like London, New York, Los Angeles, and Milan.

When it comes to the various trends in henna, Pavan Henna Bar’s founder Pavan Dhanjal has a list. “White henna, gold and silver metallic henna which is what we used for Paris and London Fashion Week, as well as unicorn henna — a beautiful concept that graduates through all the unicorn colors,” says Dhanjal, adding, “Not to mention the original brown henna and jagua henna which is a safe alternative to black henna as it is all organic, non-toxic and vegan-friendly.”

Pava Dhanjal. Supplied

From minimalistic and contemporary designs to detailed and intricate ones, henna can look however one fancies and is the easiest and safest way of adorning your body with art. “The styles can vary,” she explains. “We have a lot of clients interested in designs resembling Rihanna’s tattoo covering the entire hand, or thick Arabesque designs, while sometimes we have requests for the complete opposite, where the client wants something dainty and very intricate.”

Dhanjal shares that bold designs resembling tattoo patterns are the most loved right now, and it is something she recommends for Eid in the Middle East. “Henna along the knuckles, fingers and definitely the back of the palm of the hands with straight lines and symmetry is a big thing. Also, the designs that look like jewelry, chains, and rings.”

“The crescent moon is very popular at this time of year and we also make it look like a dream catcher. I think colors like metallic gold and silver are always popular,” she remarks.

Once you have the design of your choice all laid out, there are a few different things you can do to make sure the henna has a rich color payoff and lasts long. “Keep your skin moisturized, this really brings out the color. Eucalyptus oil is great to add once the henna has crumbled off,” says Dhanjal. “The warmer you are, the darker the henna gets, so body temperature plays a big part and, of course, warmer countries. I always advise putting your hands over the stove in London! Carefully, of course.” She also advises to not “scrub too hard in the shower, as it will come off quicker if you do.”

For the color to be the richest on the day of Eid, the timing of the henna application must also be kept in mind. Dhanjal suggests getting the henna done “one to two days before Eid. Henna usually takes 48 hours to reach peak color, so this is the best time to do it and ensure it looks fresh for your celebrations.”

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