Re: Moroccan henna...

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Posted by Patricia on May 24, 2002 at 01:47:17:

In reply to: Re: Moroccan henna... posted by Lateefa on May 23, 2002 at 23:43:46:

Black henna done in the Marrakesh/Essaouira area is almost always the
shnadr (ammonia salt)/cement/water mix. The artisans call it "argile"
(clay) however it really doesn't contain clay at all. It smells nasty,
as you can imagine.

Shnadr and cement are bought at the hardware store. I have heard of
the weeping wounds (in the shape of the henna design, according to one
person who saw them) but they aren't a common result.

As others have mentioned, the paste is caustic. Some of the artisans
apply vaseline to their hands regularly to keep from developing
construction-worker-like rough skin. Another technique artisans use to
keep from developing black hands (from henna) is to wash them each
evening in diluted javex. That sounds hard on the skin, but it's
followed with vaseline or hand cream and doesn't seem to produce

The famous black hair dye henna is just beginning to be used in the
area I worked in. When I left last fall, it was still very uncommon.
Some artisans knew about it but rejected it because it produced messy,
thick designs. I expect that many will eventually take it up however
if customers keep asking for it.

Artisans are looking for a one-step black henna process **because
customers are asking for it**. Several are experimenting with
traditional processes (walnut gall and l-hdida -- ferrous oxide, I
think -- comes to mind, and there were a few others), but haven't been
successful in producing something comparable in color to the shnadr



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