Caught Red Handed!

The tradition of bridal mehndi is one that never falls out of favour and recently, it’s not just asian brides who are having it done. We caught up with Khilna Shah from Mehndi Creations to get the inside scoop on the ancient tradition, old wives tales and some of her most extravagant and famous clients!

Thanks for talking to us Khilna. Let’s start at the beginning- for those of us who aren’t 100% sure, what exactly is mehndi?

Mehndi is a temporary natural dye mainly used to produce intricate and decorative art-work on the skin. Mehndi is another word for henna.

Mehndi can be used as a cosmetic to dye the skin, hair and nails or it can be used for its healing and medicinal properties to cure skin disorders, hair thinning and providing resistance to the body from the tropical heat. It is also used to colour fabric and dye leather. On the skin, mehndi can be used as a decorative purpose. It is totally safe, natural and painless to use on the skin. The flowers from the henna plant are used to produce perfume.

Mehndi is a paste made from ground leaves of a shrub plant called Lawsonia Inermis. It grows in countries of hot tropical climates like India, Pakistan, North Africa, Middle East and other Asian Countries.

We at Mehndi Creations have designed a unique blend to make the mehndi darker, more radiant and last longer than off-the shelf varieties.  The recipe I use includes adding water, lemon juice, sugar, natural and aromatic oils to the mehndi powder until you get the right consistency. I strongly recommend avoiding the use of any hair dye (Paraphenylenediamine – PPD), which causes skin irritations.

What can you tell us about the traditional times that mehndi is used?

Traditionally, mehndi was used by Asian brides to symbolize love, happiness and prosperity for the couple. Nowadays, mehndi is not only used for weddings and religious occasions but also for trendy body art and tattoos around the naval, wrists, on the shoulders and anklets.

In eastern cultures mehndi is mainly used for brides as a wedding tradition. For many brides the application of bridal mehndi is when they begin to feel the wedding vibes.

We at Mehndi Creations have now become popular for organising events for celebrating the night before the wedding usually known as the Mehndi night. Various themes like the Arabic or Indian are used to set the mehndi night celebrated with music and dance.

Do you know any old wives tales surrounding a bride’s mehndi?

The mehndi colour once applied is determined by the length time it’s kept on the skin.  The old wives tale goes “The darker the colour the more your husband loves you!” or some say “The darker the colour the more your mother-in-law loves you!”

The husband’s initials or name is hidden in the design and the husband is meant to find it on their first night together, else the night won’t progress further.

How did you become a mehndi artist?

I have always been passionate about Art and Design since I was a child. Mehndi came to me in the millennium year when I was lucky to get an opportunity to explore and learn various art forms including Pot decorating, Silk painting, Nail Art and mehndi. It was then when I got to love the art of mehndi.  I believe if you have a passion for something within you, success would be imminent. With mehndi, I was pretty much self-taught, once I grasped the initial techniques. It’s also a matter of practice, experience and hard work that have helped me to reach the level, which I am at now.

Tell us about the most extravagant or intricate design that you’ve done.

The most extravagant / intricate design I have ever done is for a bride who wanted two figures per palm (bride and groom figures). The overall work was very intricate and detailed and covered the palms till almost the elbows and feet. This design took several hours to do and had to be patient with the bride trying to escape onto the dancefloor!

Have you worked with any celebrities?

I have dome mehndi on quite a few celebrities like Karen David, Konnie Huq, Kara Revel, Deepak Verma, Pooja Shah from Eastenders, Sam Sterling (Popo Gigi), Raghav and cast from the popular tv serial Bidaai – Sadhna and Ragini.

The latest, most amazing work I have done recently, has been body art for Karen David for her new music video called “Hypnotise you on the dance floor”.

What advice would you give to a bride who is looking to book a mehndi artist?

Brides should go have a trial to get peace of mind of the mehndi colour unless they have been recommended by a bride who have used the artist before.

A pre-wedding consultation would help the bride to see the work or style they would be getting on the day rather than relying on the artist to apply from their own accord.

Brides should have waxing done before mehndi is applied on them as otherwise the mehndi will be waxed off with the hair!

You must have spent a lot of hours with brides and their families over the years, have you picked up any advice on wedding planning in that you can pass on to us?

It’s always good to start planning at least a year in advance and close each chapter as it finishes. Bridal exhibitions, word of mouth and the internet is a good source to get the contacts you may need. It’s best to have a budget in mind to start with as weddings can be over expensive!
Khilna Shah, Mehndi Creations

(0044) +7944004299


1 Comment

  1. nice mehndi designs.wonderful article i am daily visitor of your blog,keep it up the great work

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