Mehendi is a small tropical shrub, whose leaves when dried and ground into a paste, give out a rusty red pigment, suitable for making intricate designs on the hands and feet. The Mehendi has a cooling property and no side effects on the skin. Mehendi is very suitable for creating intricate patterns on different parts of the body, and a pain less alternative to permanent tattoos.
The art of beautifying hands and feet with Mehendi has been in fashion for the past 5,000 years and even though the designs fade the art has withstood the impact of change. Now it is not just hands and feet that are decorated, but also neck, arms, back and navel. The intricate and delicate Rajasthani Mehendi designs have been a traditional favorite but it is the thicker and bold strokes of Arabic Mehendi designs which are in consonance with the aspirations of the bold Y2K generation. Traditional Khujaraho or Mughlai designs, marriage scenes of baraat, doli and even images of Lord Ganesha are very trendy in the Arabic form.
In modern popular culture, Mehendi has enjoyed a renewal. Hollywood personalities and Western musicians have adopted and altered the tradition so that Mehendi as a temporary, pain free body decoration alternative to tattooing is now the hottest new trend among women and men. As the trend grows in esteem, so grows the list of personalities that have been seen sporting Mehendi patterns.
Three foremost traditions can be recognized aside from the modern use of Mehendi as a trendy temporary tattoo. Usually, Arabic Mehendi features large, floral patterns on hands and feet, while Indian Mehendi uses fine lines, floral, lacy patterns. Apart from these there is the African Mehendi art which involves bold and large geometrically-patterned angles. Usually, African Mehendi patterns use black henna whereas Arabic and Asian Mehendi is regularly reddish brown.
Also in fashion is shaded Mehendi which plays with contrasts of black, maroon and red. This has not only caught consider of several brides who prefer it for the D-day, but is a favorite with party lovers as well. The colored black outlining is done with a chemical dye and later on the design is filled up with regular Mehendi.
Glitter Mehendi is one more variation quite popular with young generation these days. In this, the traditional designs are painted with the use of gold, copper or silver colored glitters which give a shimmering effect; this goes very well with formal dresses. Tiny crystal granules are also used to decorate Mehendi designs giving a rich effect. Mehendi tattoos are really quite popular among college going girls.