Applying the henna paste in a tribal-like pattern takes a very steady hand, demonstrated here by Maisie.You can either use a book of tribal designs or come up with your own creative pattern. [Top right] Maisie Dunbar, this month’s cover tech, and Edwin, our model, pose after the photo shoot. Here he has removed the henna paste and the design is already showing through.

Maisie Dunbar, owner of M&M Nails and Wellness Center in Silver Spring, Md., came up with the idea of doing a tribal henna design on the hand for our “global outlook” cover concept. A nail technician for the past seven years, Maisie’s vision for her salon was to create an escape where clients could receive quality nail care while learning to care for their hands, feet, and total well being.

“Wellness and holistic treat­ments go hand in hand with nail care,” she says. “Getting your nails done should be more than just sitting in a crowded room with the smell of chemicals while someone paints your nails. A manicure not only makes your nails look nice, but the combination of massage techniques and hydrating lotions creates a soothing, relaxing atmosphere.” Even in the midst of our busy photo studio, she gave our model, Edwin, a hand massage before applying the henna and he could hardly keep his eyes open. Maisie performed a spa manicure on Edwin and buffed his nails to a high-shine. She then applied the henna design. (See sidebar for application instructions.) We left the henna paste on to create a more dramatic effect for the photo.

Maisie, whose distinguished clientele now includes Chaka Kahn, Eric Benet, and Revlon Cosmetics, feels that the art of henna is a natural addition to her wellness salon.

Application and Care:

Henna powder (derived from a natural plant) is mixed with sugar, lemon, and eucalyptus oil so that the consistency is thick, not runny, and almost blade in color. The skin is first cleansed with alcohol, and then the henna is applied m the desired pattern. The paste should be left on from one to six or more hours. The thicker die paste is applied, the longer it must remain on the body. Likewise, the longer the henna stays on, the darker the design gets. After the design has dried completely, scrape the paste off the skin and wash the area. The design will continue to darken over the next 24 hours as it reacts with the skin’s natural pigments. Henna designs can last four to five weeks.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.