Teens learns about henna at the Southington Library

Teens learns about henna at the Southington Library


SOUTHINGTON — Traditionally beginning more than 3,000 years ago, henna was first performed on the mummified bodies of the ancient Egyptians.

Lauren Grover, Henna artist and owner of Paisley Peacock Body Arts, immersed herself in the henna culture for 23 years.

“Henna spread from North Africa to India and then to the Middle East. Although most commonly known for its presence in Indian culture, henna first started being used on the nails of the soon to be mummified Egyptians,” said Grover.

On Wednesday, Grover gave a presentation to teens at the Southington Library, providing them with background information as well as henna of their own.

“All the programs here are really cool, you get to learn and experience things that you normally wouldn’t be able too, like henna,” said 14-year-old Carissa Cayer.

The henna process begins with the henna plant powder mixture. It is important to note that all henna starts in green or brown form. Products such as black henna are not pure and contain chemicals that can blister the skin.

“I am very particular on how the henna powder is shipped and packaged from India. It gets shipped by air so then it doesn’t sit on a ship in the Indian sun for hours and lose its potency. I then mix the powder with apple juice and some essential oils. All artists have their own mixture,” said Grover.

It was made clear in the presentation never to go to a henna artist who can’t tell you what is in their paste. That usually means the mixture contains harsh chemicals or is store bought and the contents are unknown.

“The paste gets mixed and then sits for a little while. This allows for the cell walls to break down and the dye chemicals start to come out of the cells. This is when you use the paste, once the dye is all the way out it will no longer pigment to skin,” said Grover.

The hour and a half library program allowed for Grover to create body art on 20 teens.

“We have a teen advisory group where we meet and discuss new program ideas. Henna was brought up and after some searching we were able to book this highly requested program,” said teen librarian Julie Rio.

Henna lasts on the skin for approximately two weeks.

“Since it pigments the skin it is specifically allowed for Muslims and Jews because they have to be clean to pray, and with henna they are able to wash over it and not fear it will wash away,” said Grover.

For more information on henna visit paisleypeacockbodyart.com.

adavanzo@record-journal.com 203-317-2424

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