Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Getting Ready for Eid: doing your own henna---and making Eid decorations out of styrofoam and glitter

Okay, so usually in my Omani family, someone does my henna for Eid. Or I pay a salon in Muscat to do it. Why?: Because I have always been utter crap at it. But this year, I decided to get serrious. I watched youtube for tricks. I asked my mother-in-law to buy me good Omani henna pre-wrapped in a tube (do not wrap your first henna in a tube yourself---and do not buy cheap henna from the grocery store or Rameez ect...). What I have discovered is the good henna makes all the difference. These tubes did not cause me a nightmare squeezing out the paste like I usually have. Getting good henna, that is step number one.

Step number two is being patient and properly preparing the items you will need. For me, I need

1.) a small dish of water, pins to poke the tube of henna if it clogs up,
2.) cotton-tipped q-tips which I use for removing extra henna or cleaning up mistakes
3.) one tissue to blot the henna tube if it clogs
4.) and a box of tissue standing by for major mistakes
5. a pair of scissors for intially opening the henna tube
6.) a thing of scotch tape for making the tip of the henna tube smaller if it gets stretched out
7.) a nice mat to do henna over to keep the mess contained
8.) once the henna is dry, lemon juice, to make the stain last a day longer and go a tad darker (Henna on me tends to go very orange and the lemon juice makes it a nice brown shade---I never use black henna as it is a dye and not actual henna and can cause allergic reactions and scarring depending on your skin type).

When I start, after cutting the tiny tiny hole in the tube, just big enough for the pin to close it, I usually squeeze a little henna out on the tissue to get it going. If it doesn't flow in thin neat lines, I keep trying or admit that my henna tube or henna sucks and give up. Thankfully, the henna my MIL bought from a store in Al Hamra or Bahla in the Interior works perfect and this only took a minute.

I suggest practicing drawing designs on yourself (or coffee filters) before a special occasion to get good before things like Eid and weddings come up, or try on places no one will see (legs, feet, ect). I used my daughter as an experiment. Surprisingly, as much as she loves to have manicures, she hates henna, go figure...
When doing henna on myself I usually start with the hand I am not regular with, as it is the hardest. I do my hands one at a time, and wait for each to dry completely before starting on the next hand, simply because it avoids the chances of smearing while drawing with the tube.

Henna DOES stain the nails, until the nails grow out, so avoid getting stains on the nails or use nailpolish to prevent henna getting onto the nails if you don't like having orange nails for over a month. While the henna stain of Omani henna generally lasts anywhere from 3 days to a week on skin before fading, nails last longer, usually until they are grown out. Omani women have a special henna just for nails, if they want to get that dark brown/reddish shade with henna, they don't use the henna from the tube for skin.

Mistakes I wipe immediately with q-tips and tissue. I usually do my henna a day or 2 days before an event, to make sure the henna is nice and dark, and minor errors fade.

Tips I learned from you tube are using pins to scrape up small ammounts of henna from a line for a shading effect, or using a lightly moist q-ip to partially blot a thick line. This makes a kind of shading.
 My henna takes an hour to dry usually for hands, and longer for feet. After that I pat the design lightly down with lemon juice and leave for another half hour and then scrape of the lines off. That's all my tips. If you have any more, feel free to make suggestions in the comments box of this post:)
To distract my daughter during this process, I gave her cut-out hands to scribble away on. I am a bad mother, so even when she started just drawing on herself with the markers, I was like... meh, she's having fun, who knows if those are non-toxic or what?
Another thing we did, but didn't finish this year, was carve out letters for Eid Mubarak out of stryofoam. We planned to coat them with white glue, douse them in gold ribbon, then hot glue-gun ribbon bows on the back to hang them from the wall... however... we ran out of gold glitter... so maybe next Eid the finished DIY project will be available for blogging purposes;).


Dalz R said...

I apply a coating of vicks or vasline to get my daughters henna to darken.

Try it out next time.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Dalz R: I have wedding coming up, so I'll definately try that, jazaks;)

Heather Duncan said...

That is amazing that you managed to henna yourself! I can't even so winged eyeliner so I am very much in awe of your henna.