by PRIYA MULJI.
THE popularity of henna designs has remained despite fashion trends changing over time,
and demand globally is stronger than ever.
Top henna artists are getting more creative with their designs and helping turn the ageold
tradition into an art form. One of those doing these eye-catching creations is Leicester-
based Hina Pancholi. Eastern Eye caught up with her to talk about the latest designs,
top tips, key advice and more…
What first got you interested in henna design?
I remember doing a summer GCSE art project based on henna designs. I’ve always been a creative person, studying art at GCSE and ALevel. I loved how henna art has endless combinations of pattern and designs. Growing up, I got asked to do henna for family and enjoyed the process of it being a part of celebrations.
What is the number one tip for finding a good henna artist?
Key indicators of a good henna artist would be from word-of-mouth or recommendations.
You can search platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to see their work.
Ensure the artist has a decent amount of images of their work so you can get a feel for
their style as each one will have different designs they are comfortable working with.
What is the key advice once you have found a henna artist?
The key advice would be to contact them as early as possible with as much detail about the
henna service you want. Henna artists appreciate as much information they can get before
putting a quote together
This includes things like date of the booking, service required, location, amount of henna
you need done and the intricacy. It’s always handy to send your chosen henna artist pictures of designs you like the look of, whether it is their own work or images found online.
What designs are most popular?
There have been a few most popular designs in 2018. The ‘mandala’ design, which is an intricate circular design usually in the centre of the palm. The ‘jhumka’ design based on tassel-style Indian jewellery.
Other popular ones are floral and vine netting, and floral inverse negative design.
What is your own favourite design?
My favourite for a long time has been the ‘mandala’. There are so many different ways to
re-create an intricate mandala and it can look so elegant in the middle of the palm, tops of
hands and also on the feet.
It is such a versatile design that looks absolutely stunning, especially on a bride. There is
also a symbolic and spiritual meaning behind the mandala – signifying unity, harmony and
being at one with the universe.
Where do you draw inspirations from as a henna artist?
Most of my inspiration is drawn from work of other amazing henna artists such as Bharathi
Sanghani and Divya Patel. I am always scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest for the
latest designs and things that catch my eye.
I also find inspiration from travelling to places like Marrakech, Thailand and Dubai,
using influences from different styles of intricate architecture. To be honest, there’s inspiration all around, whether it is fashion, nature or architecture. Design is omnipresent!
What is a good tip for taking care of henna after application?
Try your best to avoid covering dried henna in bags or anything unbreathable if you choose
to keep the design on overnight. That is a massive no! Bags increase hand temperature,
which creates extra sweat and subsequently the henna design moving and smudging.
The best thing to do is to either not cover at all, or to use something breathable like Mefix tape or toilet paper. Also avoid water contact for at least 24 hours after you have removed
your dried paste. Water prevents the oxidation process needed to get a dark stain. Keep hands/feet warm and well moisturised for two-three days after removing your paste.
Good aftercare is so important after spending money, time and energy in having your
henna done in the first place.
Have you ever had any funny henna design requests?
I’ve had a few weird and wonderful henna design requests. I’ve been asked to henna the
face of Hulk, the Breaking Bad logo with initials of the bride and groom, a T-Rex and a
Which celebrity would you love to create a henna design for?
I would love to create a design for Deepika Padukone. She has been a favourite Bollywood
star of mine for a while. With her and Ranveer Singh yet to be hitched (very soon I hope) you never know, I could end up doing her bridal henna! Never say never!