This is a close up of my husband's hand. The groom will also get a very small design done as well. The henna plant is kind of grayish-black and you're supposed to leave it on overnight to dry. In the morning, it kind of flakes off, leaving with you a red/orange design. As you can imagine, it's hard to eat or do anything if you have henna all over your hands and feet and this was supposed to be a time of pampering for the bride, so that others had to take care of her (feed her, etc). The longer you leave it on your hands before removing it, the darker it gets. And, I think the saying is the darker your henna is, the more your husband (or is it your mother-in-law?) will love you. I'm not too sure about that one, so if there are any Indians out there reading this, please correct me!
Since I had both a Hindu and Christian ceremony, I didn't want the super traditional, really intricate henna that most brides get. I thought it would look odd with the white wedding dress. Here's a pic of my henna.
And, here's one of the traditional henna that Indian brides get.
But this post is about my henna hair dyeing experience. It was kind of similar. This gray-black blobby mud like stuff is applied to your hair. Then, it gets wrapped up with cotton and plastic wrap and you are told to leave it on as long as possible. The hairdresser wrapped a scarf around it so it didn't look too odd. I forgot to take a pic of that. There is a smell to henna - but it's not the toxic, fumey smell of regular hair dye, which is nice.
I left it on for about 8 hours and just before I washed it out, this is what it looked like.
Jeff was scared, very scared...It took 2 shampoos and a lot of rinsing to get the henna out, but when it was out, I was pretty happy. It's a subtle red sheen to my hair. Nothing too artificial and you can't really tell unless I'm in certain light, which I like. Plus, my hair feels really conditioned and is not stripped.
So, if you live in Honolulu, definitely check out henna if you want an alternative to regular hair dye/highlights.