Henna: Between Traditional Identity and Female Beauty

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By; FUNMI ADERINTO, Kaduna.
Henna is a type of shrubs with a literal tradition of Henna from Arabic term. It is a popularised shrub from the main plant that has a dying properties; some of the colours of Henna include black, green, red, pink.
Aisha Umar, who is a specialist in beautifying ladies during or before celebrations using henna spoke on the importance of Henna.
Aisha said henna has been part of the sub-continental culture, a timeless customs that symbolises joy and celebration. Most especially in the northern wedding parties, child birth and “Elda” are incomplete without women spotting intricate “Lalli” tattoo on their hands and feet.
She added that wedding are particularly popular occasions for this art, with many wives’ tales claiming that the deeper the shade of a bride’s Henna design,  the more love she will get from her husband.
She stressed that Henna is used primarily as a body colour agent for aesthetic purpose. It is known as a substitute to the more permanent tattoo ink. Henna is used for different purposes such as adornment for special cultural occasions, healing reasons, skin disease and even treat several health problems common among farm animals and household pests.
Aisha said in Nigeria, Muslims have adopted the application of this dye-like skin art just like their Indian counterpart since the coming of age, and it is now common among ladies and adult who adorn themselves in this manner.
Some women in the northern part of Nigeria spot Henna on their hands and feet,  they apply it using “Lalli”, a plant based dry powder which comes out as a brownish colour after it has be dried and grinded.
She said, Henna design is not permanent it can be cleaned, applying kerosene and water after few weeks or month depending on the chemical used.
Henna has negative impact on some individuals other than the pepperish sensation felt after the applications. Its chemicals can cause skin irritation on some individuals. Those who use bleaching creams and those with damaged skin are vulnerable to side effects of Henna application on their skin.

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