White Henna

White Henna

I love henna, from the traditional, intricate, Indian patterns to the more modern and dramatic Arabian designs, even the fun, brightly coloured versions which have appeared in the last couple of years.

White henna is apparently the latest thing, and is a star attraction at the Ramadan market in Singapore, so I was very keen to try it out.

But whatever it is, it really isn’t henna, although it is packaged and applied in the same way.

Seriously, it looked and felt like I was being painted with a particularly sticky sort of Tippex, which resolutely refused to dry.

“Come back in 20 minutes and I will put powder on it”, said the lady in charge of the stall where I had this done. But by the time I returned, the design was already the worse for wear. Admittedly, I had been shopping and snacking my way round the market, but even taking care, I found the henna was a nightmare to deal with.

The pattern became blobby and any contact resulted in strings of sticky rubbery material stretching between the design and whatever had touched it. Having what looked like ordinary talc dabbed onto it did somehow ‘set’ what remained, but in retrospect I think it would have been more sensible to sit around the stall for those 20 minutes until the design was ready to be powdered.

As it was, the whole thing looked very messy.

With normal henna, of course, you scrape it off once it is dry and the colour first darkens then fades from your skin over the next 10 days or so. The white henna stays on, but not for very long – 3 to 4 days is supposed to be the limit – although how you keep it intact whilst working, washing and generally getting on with your life, I have no idea.

I found bits peeling away annoyingly before the day was over, and scrubbed the whole thing off before bedtime. It is unlikely I will try this again.

Coloured Henna

Category : Fashion

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Henna designs are such fun – they look fabulous but are strictly temporary, and if you don’t live near an Indian area they are still quick and easy to do yourself.

Up till recently, I thought henna cones only came in that rich brown colour which is so good for colouring hair, too. (‘Black’ henna is actually chemical dye and really not good for you at all, ‘glitter’ henna is just glue which washes right off…)

So I was delighted to see these ‘new’ coloured henna cones on sale as a set at the Ramadan fair in Singapore. They work in exactly the same way, but last just 3 or 4 days before fading to nothing.

I suspect the ingredients are not unrelated to gel food colourings, as they ooze out transparently in a similar way, and set in a sort of hard blob rather than the dry, powdery way that classic henna does.

The drying part is quicker, too, which is nice, and the shiny top layer simply floats off with water rather than needing to be scraped away. Underneath, the colours are really vibrant, although some (especially the yellow) last longer than the others for some reason.

We loved this, and had fun both freestyle drawing and filling in a traditional henna design done the same day in Little India. The set of 6 colours was not cheap at S$20, but was worth every penny and will be used again.

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