Every woman aspires to exude perfection on the day she dons her bridal avatar. And, for her to achieve this perfection, selecting the right vendors is very important. Hiring a reliable vendor is always a tough decision for any bride. While research plays a very big part in selecting a good vendor, asking them the right questions is essential to make sure that both the bride and the vendor share the same vision. Mehendi is one of the most important ceremonies for an Asian bride’s wedding journey, finding the right henna artist becomes quite critical for her.
So, we spoke to a renowned henna artist, Nadine Dafrawy who told us what questions a bride-to-be must ask before finalizing a mehendi artist for her wedding day:
1. ARE YOU USING NATURAL HENNA?
Natural henna is brown in color, which has an essential oil aroma, and takes around 2 – 3 days for its colour to reach its maturity. But, there are still some mehendi artists who use black or chemically produced henna cones. But, brides should understand the probable hazards to the skin it can cause. Black henna has a chemical called p-Phenylenediamine (PPD) that gives the color a tint of black. It is a chemical which is used in hair dye. And, this is the reason black henna (1) it’s cheap and accessible (2) it stains instantly. But, none of that comes close to comparison to putting your health at risk. It causes allergic reactions which can further cause abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness and, in extreme cases, even death.
2. DO YOU MIX THE HENNA YOURSELF?
A quick way to differentiate a skilled henna artist from a beginner is by asking if they make the henna themselves or at the very least, know each ingredient used to make the henna. It could be the cause for alarm if your mehendi artist does not know. This indicates that they are not at the bridal caliber just yet. The best and most experienced artist should be able to easily distinguish what their henna recipe composes of. Much like baking a cake, there’s an array of henna recipes out there, and your artist needs to be fully aware how their henna was made or whether or not they have mixed it themselves.
3. HOW FAST ARE YOU?
Each henna artist’s speed may vary according to experience, skill or even level of intricacy of the design you ask for. But, knowing right off the bat how slow or fast they are, will give you some idea of how much preparation you need for your mehendi application day. This can also be a contributing factor to your decision on whether or not to hire your henna artist, especially for sangeet or mehendi ceremonies. For instance, some mehendi artists may be very fast, but the quality of their work isn’t up to par. Other artists might be slightly slower because they produce amazing work of art. This all falls back on to your priorities as a bride, so it’s important to determine your artist’s level of speed and match that with what you’re looking for.
4. CAN YOU SHOW ME SOME OF YOUR PAST ORIGINAL WORK?
A lot of brides skip this step because they’re usually prepared for the kind of design they want. In hope to take it to the artist to replicate it. You might be missing out on a big opportunity here. Every artist has their own unique style and they would have worked hard over the years to develop it. This gives you a chance to come up with something truly original and sentimental. And, you can even discuss specific elements to be included in your mehendi (like a symbol that means dearly to you, or a silhouette of a city skyline of where you and your fiancée met). Seeing your artist’s past works may trigger ideas and make your mehendi more memorable and special. This is also an indication of how advanced or skilled the henna artist is. It’s easy to produce simple mehendi designs or even recreate someone else’s work. But, seeing in true breath images of some of their original past bridal mehendi work is a whole other ballpark.
5. WHAT ARE YOUR MEHENDI AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS?
While it’s on the artist to create breathtaking work of art with good quality henna (which they should have made themselves), henna aftercare is equally important. Some artists provide a free henna aftercare kit or hand you specific instructions to ensure a dark and rich stain ready in time for your wedding day. Knowing the step-by-step aftercare guides can also affect how you plan your days or any last minute wedding preparations. Generally, it’s best to keep your henna on for a minimum of 6 – 8 hours. However, Nadine Dafrawy suggests to leave it overnight, and avoid any contact with water for the first 12 – 24 hours. Coconut oil or olive oil are highly recommended to apply to your fresh stain to help preserve and enrich it.
To all of you lovely brides, don’t forget to ask some of these important questions to make sure you hire the right henna artist of choice. May your henna be rich and dark to symbolize the eternal love of you and your hubby to be.