6 People Who Chose Henna Tattoos to Decorate Their Bodies and Express Themselves
Henna has a rich history spanning over 5000 years in Pakistan, India, Africa, and the Middle East. Originally used for its cooling properties in hot desert regions, a paste made from henna was applied to the palms and soles. Later on, henna’s temporary staining effect led to its widespread use as a decorative art accessible to people from various socioeconomic backgrounds. And it wasn’t long until this form of art became popular amongst the western world and our favorite stars.
1. Lupita Nyong’o and her head tattoo.
When the acclaimed actress was invited at a musical opening, she decided to pay homage to the Pakistani culture. Apart from wearing a traditional sari and beautiful jewelry, she also decided to decorate her bald head with henna tattoos. She contacted an artist she already knew, and they decided to move forward with the design. “Sabeen had NEVER designed for a head before. I had never done such a thing before either. She suggested ’jagua’, a natural dye from the jagua fruit of South America that would be dark enough to give good contrast to my dark skin.”
She continued “It takes about 24 hours for the dye to really show up. And when it came in, in FULL CONTRAST the next day, I was simply MOVED. It was beautiful. It was bold and elegant; it had a point of view. We had not played it safe, and it had paid off. And I had found a new way to express myself without hair.”
2. Eurovision winner, Loreen, and her Moroccan tattoos.
Loreen possesses a truly remarkable image, with noticeable tattoos gracing her hands. Or at least that was the image during the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. And these tattoos hold a deeper purpose for Loreen as they serve as a means to convey a beautiful message to the people of Morocco.
“These are henna tattoos. Few people know that my roots are from Morocco. I come from nomads who lived in the Atlas Mountains. My people are Berbers. These tattoos are part of my culture. Women do them to look beautiful. This is a deep tradition. I want people to feel included in my show, so that my people from there also feel included.”
3. Rihanna’s famous hand tattoos.
Rihanna’s tattoos are known for their perfection. A few years ago, she made a change to her tribal Maori tattoo near her thumb, which she got in New Zealand. She opted for an exquisite mandala design that now covers her entire forehand and wrist. Inspired by Indian henna art, this abstract motif was carefully crafted by Bang Bang and Cally-Jo, who flew to the Dominican Republic for the project.
4. Paris Jackson’s Haitian tattoo.
The red henna-like design on Paris Jackson’s upper right arm depicts a Vodou symbol. In Haitian Vodou, each spirit, known as a “loa” or “lwa,” has its own unique “veve,” which is a drawing traced on the floor with powder during rituals. Paris’ tattoo represents the veve of Erzulie, the goddess of love.
The veve design subtly incorporates symbols of a heart, a mirror, and a fan, which are all associated with this loa. Erzulie embodies feminine grace and beauty and is considered the most human-like of the loas.
5. When Beyoncé decorated her baby bump with henna.
When Beyoncé was about to welcome her twins, she celebrated by having a shower. The venue was adorned in vibrant African-themed decor, featuring lounge seating areas, floor pillows, and rugs. Beyoncé, proudly displaying her prominent baby bump, shared pictures from the event. She wore a skirt and bra combination and had a henna tattoo covering her growing belly.
A henna tattoo artist was present at the party to offer designs to the guests. The henna tattoo on Beyoncé’s bump incorporated three significant symbols: the lotus, representing transcendence, growth, light, and beauty in Indian tradition; the dots, symbolizing new life, growth, and fertility; and the downward-facing triangle, symbolizing female energy and femininity.
6. Tan France honoring his Pakistani heritage.
Tan France, the fashion expert from the popular reality makeover show Queer Eye, often pays homage to his Pakistani heritage by adorning henna designs on his hand during the show and in his Instagram posts. Specifically, he sometimes showcases mandalas in diverse styles on the back of his left hand. Mandalas serve as a means to spiritually connect with the universe and promote peace and equilibrium.
There are so many artists around the world that do a masterful job at tattooing and flowers seem to be one of the most popular themes. Can you imagine though what some of the most famous tattooed celebrities would look like without their designs?