When women lose their hair after chemotherapy, they try to come to grips with losing their crowning glory. Hair loss is challenging, both emotionally and physically. Women wear hats, scarves, and various chemo caps to cover their bare heads. More and more women are turning toward the ancient art form of henna to transform their bare heads into stunning works of art.
Henna has long been associated with enhancing beauty of women who use it to adorn their bodies, most commonly hands, and feet. Henna is also used to color hair in countries such as Pakistan, India, Morocco, and Arab countries.
An artist was asked to paint henna designs on pregnant women and she came up with the idea of henna crowns to enhance the women’s beauty during the stressful time of coping with cancer. Henna crowns are painted on women’s bare heads using it like a blank canvas. Intricate designs are painted using herbal henna. Although it is called henna tattoos, there is no pricking with needles involved as in regular body tattoos. Instead, the henna is painted in intricate designs on the bare head. The tattoo can last up to two weeks during which time the woman feels confident, beautiful, and adorned. Women use henna to tattoo eyebrows also.
Frances Darwin’s Henna Heals is one such venture that makes female baldness both acceptable and fashionable – a sort of fashion statement for the woman fighting cancer. Their noble mission of restoring beauty to women in times of stress is laudable. Their mission statement is “We want to empower you. We want to help you feel beautiful, and give you the confidence to be a walking work of art.” The powerful words “walking works of art” remind women that each one of us is unique and beautiful in different ways.
Henna crowns are safe and applied by trained artists. The crowns are temporary and awe-inspiring. The crowns give the women an opportunity to feel lovely in a unique way.
Here are some questions we asked cancer survivor, Lisa Sloat, who has crowned her head with henna tattoos:
1. What prompted you to use henna tattoos as opposed to wigs, scarves, etc.
I had been wearing scarves, and then I saw an article on a friend’s page about another survivor having a henna tattoo on her head. I figured everyone was staring at me when I was wearing bandanas or hats, why not give them something else to stare at.
2. What did it do for your self-confidence when morale may have been low at the time of losing hair?
When my friend did the Henna Tattoo, I felt empowered. I was bald, but my head was beautiful. It gave me the confidence to go places without covering my baldness.
3. How did your family and friends perceive it? Did they encourage you?
Everyone loved it. I was getting attention about my head, but it wasn’t the identifying me as a cancer patient attention that I would get when I would wear a bandana or hat. It was like I got a new hairdo, and everyone was complimenting me on it. My hair was just starting to grow back, so I shaved it again to have a smooth head for the henna.
4. Would you recommend it to other survivors?
I would definitely encourage other survivors to have it done. I felt empowered and beautiful once it was done. Getting the Henna Tattoo on my head was comforting and healing.
5. How did you hear about it?
A friend of mine had posted a link about it on his Facebook page. My friend who did the tattoo had also seen an article on it through someone else on the same day and she contacted me.
Find a Henna Artist in our Directory.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Sloat