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Posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on May 25, 2002 at 00:20:09:

In reply to: I think similar thoughts occur regarding tattoos posted by txilar on May 24, 2002 at 21:47:58:

Mauritania certainly doesn't seem to suffer from the misconception
that "henna doesn't work on black skin". Thank goodness! Mauritanian
henna is absolutely gorgeous, and last I noticed, the folks are
...mmmmmmmmmm.... DARK.

At the last Indian "night of the henna", 3 women whom I hennaed sat
and fussed that they were "too dark for henna to look nice". (Sound
of Catherine banging head on table). In India, certainly, the caste
system has brainwashed women into envying pale skin like American
women envy big boobs. (Dumb on both counts, IMHO) It truely is a
widely held notion in India that henna only looks "right" on the
lightest skin. To me, this either indicates some serious incompetance
in the henna mixes, or some conceptual problems in the society.
(there's a well-known phrase, "you can be dark and rich, or you can be
light and poor, but if you're dark and poor, you'll never get a
husband"). If the local henna artist is only getting dreamsicle
stains ... of course that will be interpreted as "henna doesn't work
on dark skin". Bad henna doesn't work on dark skin.

Good henna, done right, is gorgeous on dark skin!

I swear ... the only reason anyone should have the impression that
henna "doesn't work" on dark skin is that the local henna artist
doesn't know how to MAKE IT WORK. I hope I can do more, more, more
research on African henna, along with Erfan and Alex, because henna
traditions there are so rich and so unknown here!


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