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All the pictures of cute painted baby bumps for Halloween reminds me of henna bellies. I thought I would share some tips for getting henna on your bump (these tips can also work for painted bellies too!).

What is Henna?

Photo by Robert Stokoe from Pexels

Henna is a red-brown paste dye used to color skin, hair and nails a red, brown, or orange color. Henna powder comes from the Henna plant, Lawsonia inermis, that grows in Asia and Africa. It can reach 12-15 feet high, has a large stalk and white flowers. The powder is made from ground dried leaves of the plant. The paste can be made by mixing the henna powder, lemon juice and a dash of sugar. 

Why a Henna Belly?

Taking the time to have your pregnant belly decorated with a henna design is a great way to relax and appreciate your own body. Close your eyes and enjoy the effleurage touch of the dye on the skin of your growing belly. It’s a time for you to turn your focus inward, reflect on you, your baby, and how your body is creating a new life. 

When should I schedule a Henna Belly?

You can have your belly decorated at any time! Whenever you choose to celebrate your pregnant body. Traditionally, people wait until their belly is larger, around six to nine months, but the excitement of a new pregnancy can also be a fabulous time for henna decoration. 

Where should I have my belly decorated?

You can have your belly decorated with henna in the privacy of your own home in a quiet, comfortable place, during your baby shower surrounded by your closest family and friends, or during a blessing way ceremony. Wherever you feel the most comfortable, calm, loved and supported. 

What is the process?

  • Henna belly art can be a long process. Depending on the complexity of the design it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to hours.  
  • Bathe before your appointment to ensure the paste can be left on as long as possible.
  • Choosing a comfortable location for yourself is key. 
  • Make sure to have refreshments handy and let your artist know whenever you need to take a break. 
  • Choose a design. Pick a design that really resonates with you. One that brings you joy. Sometimes artists will have designs for you to choose from, or you can find or create your own. 
  • The artist will draw the design onto your skin with the henna paste in a cone-like tube, moving around your body. 
  • The paste dye will have to dry before you can move so it does not smudge. Drying can take 15 to 45 minutes depending on the thickness of the lines. 

How do I care for my Henna?

When your henna design is dry, it will go from a shiny, wet look to dark, cracking lines, you will be able to move and even cover it with clothing. If the paste is still wet it could stain fabric. 

Keep the dried henna paste on your belly as long as possible (4 to 12 hours) . This allows the dye to soak into your skin and create a darker design. You can wrap your belly in food plastic wrap for sleeping to not get any dried flakes on your sheets. 

To remove the dried henna paste you can use your fingers, a soft bristled brush, or a dry cloth; and stand in a dry bath tub to rub the paste off your skin. Once all of the dried paste is removed you can then rinse the flakes down the drain. 

Without the dried paste your design will look light orange. Over the next couple days your design should darken to a red-brown color. Although, skin on a pregnant belly is thinner and the dye doesn’t have much to soak into, so sometimes the designs stay a nice orange color.

The resulting dyed design should stay on your skin for a duration of a week to three weeks, fading with time. The amount of time a henna design lasts depends on henna design thickness, washing, and skin regeneration. 

I have this Henna Belly, now what?

The final step of embracing a Henna Belly is usually to have pictures taken! Enjoy the art and your body during this exciting time. 



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Doula, Community Manager

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