Henna is becoming a trendy and very attractive practice that is not only popular in India and the Middle East anymore, but in the entire world, and of course NYC is always on trend with anything that’s hot and happening in the world of fashion and beauty, so we decided to send one of our MyTopFace Experts out to one of the greatest Henna Studio’s in New York City right now, Kenzi’s Henna NYC. Here’s what they had to say about Henna and its fast rise to fame!
MyTopFace: Henna is apparently and ancient old tradition form the middle east, is that correct and could you give us a little bit of insight as to where and how henna originated?
Lisa Kenzi: Henna is grown all over the Middle East, South Asia and northern Africa, from Egypt to Morocco; it’s used all over the region and even into Africa and South East Asia. The first known use of it was in Egypt as a hair dye. It’s possible that the first use of it as decoration for the skin was in India or Iran, but there isn’t any solid proof. It’s been used by many different cultures, races and religions in the region.
MyTopFace: How has henna become such a wildly fashionable and trendy fashion statement in recent years?
Lisa Kenzi: Henna has been fashionable and trendy for thousands of years! It comes and goes, but it always gets picked up by the latest trendsetters. I think that the internet and especially Instagram have sparked the latest upswing in popularity for henna. Back when I started doing henna it was becoming popular because of MTV.
MyTopFace: What is henna made of and why types of henna can you get?
Lisa Kenzi: Henna is made from the leaves of the henna plant; they are dried and then ground into a powder. I make my henna paste fresh for each client. I mix the henna powder with water, sugar and certain essential oils. It takes a lot of practice and experimentation to mix perfect henna paste, one that stains the skin a beautiful dark reddish brown. There is only one kind of henna. There are many products out there that use the word henna but are actually just chemical dye. For example, there is something called “black henna” which is just hair dye; it contains no henna at all and is VERY toxic. It can cause blisters and scarring on the skin and can also cause liver and kidney damage in the long term. If you are going to get henna always ask for natural henna that stains reddish brown that is mixed by the artist.
MyTopFace: Tell us a little bit more about your particular style in henna design and how you choose the designs that you do?
Lisa Kenzi: My specialty style is Moroccan henna which tends to be more geometric. I can do any style and often do Indian, or a fusion of several different styles. I am known for creating original designs using motifs from many different sources. I spend a lot of time drawing and even get inspiration from designs which appear to me in my dreams!
When a client comes to me I try to get an idea of what style, motifs or layout they like, and then I just go from there, creating an original work of art using the designs in my head but also whatever comes to me as I am working. I prefer to work like this, rather than copying a design.
MyTopFace: What the best and most effective way to treat our henna design, so that it keeps its longevity on our skin?
Lisa Kenzi: To get a dark stain that lasts a long time you have to get it on the right spot on the body, take care of it while the paste is on the skin, and then take care of the stain after the paste is removed. Henna stains the hands and feet the best because the skin is thickest there; palms stain the darkest and last the longest. The farther you move from the hands and the feet the light the stain will be and less it will last. On the palms you can expect dark, cherry chocolate stains that last about 2-3 weeks, whereas on the torso you will probably get a caramel color that lasts about a week. Make sure you get a henna artist who makes the henna paste fresh as this will give you the best stain. If it’s on your hands you want to leave the paste on your skin for 6-8 hours and then scrape the paste off; you have to keep water off it for another 6-8 hours after you remove the paste. If you henna your arms, legs or torso you need to leave the paste on your skin for 8-12 hours and then scrape the paste off; you have to keep water off it for another 8-12 hours after you remove the paste. It’s best to keep the hennaed area warm and covered while the paste is on. Never wrap the henna in plastic as this will cause the paste to melt and you’ll only have an orange smear. The stain will be a bright orange when you scrape the paste off but it will darken over the next 1-2 days. To make the stain last as long as possible wear gloves if you have to do any housework and just try to keep from exfoliating the skin.
MyTopFace would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the super talented and friendly Lisa for her patience, time and extremely awesome design talent, which she so graciously did for our MyTopFace Expert, we’re all envious of her gorgeous henna hand and can’t wait to drop by your Kenzi Henna salon and get some of our own henna done!