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Henna beautification

My Magazine 2022/02
3 min
Henna is a temporary body tattoo using a particular henna dye. The dye is made from a plant called Lawsonia Inermis or Egyptian Privet. It is used to die skin, hair, nails or fabrics.

You can find amazing henna designers in The Gambia who are keen to do any design you wish on your skin.

Henna tattoos are part of traditional beautification. Many girls still practice it today, especially on special occasions and celebrations. Neck, hand and feet tattoos complement the brides' dresses perfectly.

Malick invited us to know more about the life of a henna designer. We visited him at work and were mesmerised by the creation he does. He was taught the art by his superior. He started up as an apprentice at a cosmetic shop then slowly began to learn and practise the art of henna designing for about a year. He depended not only on the skills instilled in him by his senior but also on the knowledge of other experts in the Gambia and watched videos online to be better at his craft. He soon began designing for people independently at the shop where he works today.

Malick uses red or black dye for his henna designs. He buys the mixtures in small plastic bags, which he pinches to create a tiny hole, making a pen for skin beautification. Because their business is still developing, Malik doesn't use the henna designing tools like the syringe.

After drawing the design with the henna dye, it takes a while to dry up. The process is usually sped up with a hairdryer. The dried paint then needs to be washed to reveal the beautiful patterns created.

If your skin is sensitive, you can go for the traditional local henna. It is 100% natural with no chemicals added to speed up the reaction. However, this process might take a day or two to make the dye patterns dark.

You can present your desired style and choice of design to be put on your hand or ask Malick to use his artistic skills to create a unique design. He designs henna for different occasions, whether you are a bride, a birthday queen or attending any festive event.

If you are in the Gambia and want to try a Gambian made henna, you can find Malik at his shop in the Serekunda Craft Market.

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