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Henna Tattoo Facts Plus 80+ Designs That Will Inspire You to Get One

By Jason Hamilton / February 12, 2019
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Getting a tattoo is probably one of the biggest decisions that you will make. This is due to the fact that they are permanent plus it also has some other downsides. Fortunately, there’s henna tattoo.

Tattoos are great. You can use them to inspire or encourage you, to show a bit of your personality, represent your life battles, etc. Besides that, it can even accentuate your body, especially when you got the right tattoo placement. However, it has its disadvantages too. One of which is the views of other people.

The permanence of the traditional tattoo is one of the factors that make people think even more than twice before they get a tattoo. This is because while this body art is gaining more and more popularity over time, it still doesn’t sit well with other people. In some cases, there are several people who find it hard to get a job because of their tattoo.


Many people feel daunted of getting a tattoo because of the pain that it will cause as well. Some people pass out during the process because of too much discomfort. We don’t want to scare you but, yes, it can be that painful. There are even those who just opt to stop the process because they can’t stand the pain. It’s understandable, though, because who wouldn’t get scared of needles that will prick your skin? Luckily henna tattoo is invented.


Getting to Know Henna Tattoos

henna tattoo

A woman adorned with henna and metallic temporary tattoos on her hands, chest, and forehead (Source)


Henna tattoos have a rich history. To start off, the henna tattoo is a kind of body art that is temporary. It is placed on the body using a dye that came from the henna plant where it got its name.


In ancient times, people use it to dye their hair, fingernails, and fabrics. The ancient Romans, Iberians, and Egyptians were the first ones who used henna for cosmetic purposes. People from some parts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and South Asia used henna as part of their cosmetics too. But among those places, India is the first country to make use of the said plant’s dye for body art.

The use of henna tattoo started when Indians from the deserts of India began covering their hands and feet with the henna plant’s dye. This is because the colored paste helped them cool down. People then started creating intricate designs instead of just liberally applying it on their skin. They also started associating their designs with different meanings. Not long after, brides started to decorate their hands and feet with the said dye as a part of their wedding ritual and called it “Mehndi” (also spelled as “Mehendi”).



bridal henna tattoo

An Indian bride wearing henna tattoos on her hands as part of her wedding ritual (Source)



Today, people from all parts of the world have adopted the ancient way of tattooing using the henna plant. Even celebrities like Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Vanessa Hudgens, Kylie Jenner, Rihanna, and many more artists have tried getting a henna tattoo. Since it rose to popularity in the US in the 90s, people now have a wide variety of designs to choose from – from abstract images to even cartoon characters.

beyonce henna tattoo hand

Beyonce wearing henna tattoos on her hand in her music video, Hymn, featuring Coldplay (Source)

Henna Tattooing Process

The henna tattooing and dye making process is not that complicated. However, it might require more time than you’d expect. To begin the process of henna tattooing, of course, you’ll need the dye first.


Even during the ancient times, people let henna leaves to dry first. When it completely dries, they would crush it into a fine powder. After that, they would use several techniques to make it into a paste then it can be applied on the skin as if frosting a cake.


henna paste

A paste made from the henna plant and several essential oils (Source)



Today, it’s still somewhat the same process and you can even do it on your own. However, with our technology, you won’t have to wait long and exert much effort to pick its leaves, dry and powder it as you can already buy powdered hennas in stores. Once you have the henna powder, you can mix it with lemon juice and other essential oils like eucalyptus, brewed herbal tea, or even coffee. Once you’ve mixed them, just let it sit for 24 hours then you can use it.


Henna Tattoo Pain Scale


henna tattoo process

A henna tattoo is placed at the back of the hand (Source)


The level of pain that a tattoo could cause us is what concerns most of us the most. That’s why many of us carefully think of our tattoo’s placement and design. But for a henna tattoo, it should not hurt at all. This is because there’s no needles and piercing involved. Hence, you can place it even on the parts of your body without thinking of the discomfort that it could cause because there’s actually none at all. Despite that, you should still be careful as there are henna tattoos these days that could cause skin irritations.

The Cons of Henna Tattoo

All good things have an end. The same goes for henna tattoos. While it did have a lot of advantages, henna tattoos also have its downsides.

One of which is its lack of permanence. A henna tattoo only lasts from 7-10 days on average. On the other hand, it will fade faster than that when placed on the hands. Although it is also an advantage, the constant application process can be quite disappointing, especially when you want a highly detailed design. Plus, such the constant application process’ cost could add up over time.

You also need to follow an aftercare procedure. In this way, you can increase your henna tattoo’s longevity. However, the level of commitment that henna tattoos require could tax you.

Unlike permanent tattoos, traditional henna tattoos don’t have a lot of colors to choose from. In fact, you’ll only have 3 options: brown, orange-brown, and reddish brown. Sometimes, this could limit your design options.

Henna tattoos could also cause skin irritations, especially for those who have sensitive skin. Don’t get us wrong but henna tattoos are much safer back then. In fact, the pure henna, the natural dye from the henna plant, is rarely a skin irritant. However, today, some people mix it with an artificial dye called paraphenylenediamine (also known as PPD). This fastens the drying and darkens the ink’s color. But could cause negative reactions on the skin. It could make your skin red, irritated, and swell.

Common Henna Tattoo Designs

Henna tattoos may have cons too but no one can resist the beauty of having it on the body. If you understand the downsides of having a henna tattoo but still sees the beauty of it in spite of the disadvantages, here are some of the henna tattoo designs that we suggest.


According to tantric yoga traditions, the Sahasrara is the seventh primary chakra. Its common design is that of a lotus with an array of colors added to the petals. However, since henna tattoos are commonly black, Sahashara hennas are more bland and simple. Still, this design follows a symmetrical style through and through.

The vortex at the center of the Sahasrara represents the center of one’s spiritual connection to the divine and yogic teachings. It gives people the ability to connect with God, deities or the universal consciousness.


A Sahasrara henna tattoo on the collarbone to the shoulder cap

A big Sahasrara henna tattoo on a man’s upper back

An image of Sahasrara along with the other chakras placed on the inner forearm


Another image of Sahasrara along with the other 6 chakras placed on the back

A Sahasrara drawn on the inner side of the wrist


A henna tattoo of a Sahasrara also placed on the arm

A Sahasrara henna tatatoo covering the whole head of a woman


The peacock henna tattoo design can be interpreted in a number of ways and it depends on what the artist emphasizes on during the session. If the artist puts more focus on the entire figure of the bird, then he is most definitely using the design to represent the grace and beauty of the peacock. If there is a huge emphasis or detail on the peacock’s feathers, the artist might be using it to represent the purity of the soul of the tattoo wearer.


A big intricately designed peacock henna tattoo on the back


A peacock henna tattoo at the back of the hand

An elegant peacock henna tattoo also placed at the back of the hand


A peacock henna tattoo with simpler details of vines and flowers

A peacock henna tattoo in brown, orange-brown, and reddish brown dye

An image of a peacock on the inner side of the forearm


An intricately detailed henna tattoo of a peacock covering the whole hand


Another common design that is used for henna tattoos is the butterfly. Its representation and meaning are fairly simple as it represents rebirth. The reason behind it is that butterflies are the second stage of the caterpillar once it undergoes massive changes through metamorphosis. This henna butterfly tattoo design is perfect for people who have changed for the better.

Three butterfly henna tattoos on the right side of the ribs


A henna tattoo of a butterfly on the shoulder blade that extends to the top portion of the shoulder


A butterfly and flower henna tattoos at the back of the hand

A combination of butterfly and flower henna tattoos on the foot

A closed-winged butterfly henna tattoo placed on the back of the left shoulder

Another closed-winged butterfly on the upper part of the arm

An intricately detailed bridal henna tattoo of a butterfly on the hand


In Mendi art, the eyes are used to represent the reflection of the evil eye which turns all evil wishes against the owner back onto the gazer. It is basically a spiritual form of protection for the wearer.  The eye henna design is typically seen during weddings or during major milestones in a person’s life. The eye serves as a faithful and comforting companion for people who are moving onto the next phase of their journey.

An eye henna tattoo on the inner side of the wrist

An eye henna tattoo with images of a moon and a sun on the palm

An image of a lotus and an eye tattoo morphed together

A henna tattoo of Legend of Zelda’s Sheikah eye at the back of the hand

An orange-brown henna tattoo of an eye on the palm

A henna chest tattoo of a lotus with an eye in the middle

An image of an eye in brown and orange-brown henna dye

An image of an eye surrounded by various symbols placed on the bicep


Henna practitioners see the snake or lizard design as a symbol for people who are seeking enlightenment in their lives. It is the perfect tattoo for people who are working towards changing themselves for the better but are still on the process of understanding what it really means to be as such. The snake tattoo is more common than the lizard tattoo though as it is more versatile and it when wrapped around the forearm, it can look pretty elegant despite being simple.

A Mehndi-inspired henna tattoo of a snake on the hand

A hand henna tattoo of a snake adorned with leaves

A combination of a flower and snake henna tattoo placed on the inner side of the forearm

Snake henna tattoos on the fingers and on the forearm

An image of a snake in reddish brown henna placed on the inner side of the forearm

Snakes, leaves, and roses combined as a henna tattoo design for shoulders

A small snake henna tattoo placed on the inner side of the wrist

Vines and Leaves

Popular during weddings and other events that celebrate the union of two entities, the vines and leaves henna design is used to represent devotion and vitality. The design is both elaborate and simple while being versatile all at ones. Some tattoo artists add flowers or other unique items to the vines to make it more personal. Like the snake tattoo, the vine and leaves design can be made to wrap around certain body parts for extra finesse.

A henna tattoo of a vine inked around the wrist, extending down to the middle and ring finger

A reddish brown henna tattoo of vines and creepers on the calf that extends down to the sole

A henna tattoo of a thorny vine on the foot

An orange-brown henna tattoo of a vine placed on the ankle

A simple vine henna tattoo on the hand that’s easy to do even on your own

A beautiful vine henna tattoo matched with beads and line work

A henna tattoo of a vine with big swirls added with violet glitters


The flower is seen as a symbol of pure joy and happiness by henna tattoo artists. Standard flower tattoos are often preferred as they can be made more lively using vibrant colors. However, with henna tattooing, flower designs are black and plain much like any other in the category. Despite this, it is still a good and elegant design to have temporarily inked on the body.

Henna tattoos of vine and flowers on the hand with nice dot work

A long henna tattoo of different flowers placed at the back area

A big flower and vine henna tattoo covering both the upper and lower leg area

An intricately detailed flower henna tattoo on the upper part of the arm

An elegant henna tattoo of a flower on the palm

A combination of rose and vine henna tattoo inked on the bicep

A reddish brown henna tattoo of a flower on the palm

Henna Tattoo Placement Ideas

It’s easy to thoughtlessly place a henna tattoo on our body because, for one, it’s cheap. It’s also doesn’t hurt at all so it’s okay to place it anywhere in the body. Plus, it’s not permanent so if you don’t like your henna tattoo’s placement, you’ll just wait for a few days then you can have a new one in a different part of your body. However, we still recommend to carefully think of its placement. Hence, we listed a few popular spots where you can place your henna tattoo.

Back of the Hand

The hands are the most popular spot for henna tattoos. This is because when it began in India during the ancient times, it is where many people started spreading henna dye.

A beautiful elegant henna tattoo of flower buds at the back of the left hand

Beautiful henna tattoos at the back of the hand in orange-brown and dark brown ink

A highly detailed henna tattoo at the back of both hands used as bridal tattoo

Another bridal henna tattoo in reddish brown ink at the back of the hands

A little bit simpler yet elegant henna tattoo at the back of the hand


Most of the time, henna tattoos at the back of the hand are extended down to the wrist. But there are also designs that are heavier on the wrist but becomes more simple as it reaches the fingers. There are designs that are placed solely on the wrist as well.

A pretty henna tattoo placed on the inner side of the wrist

A flower henna tattoo at the back of the wrist that extends up to the pointing finger

A classy henna tattoo of a flower with lace details at the back of the wrist

A yin yang tattoo made with henna with added details that resemble petals

A dream catcher on the inner side of the wrist


The palms are also a good spot for henna tattoos. Many people opt for this area mainly because it’s much easier to take a photo with it. Plus it’s also one of the most noticeable placements as we often use our hands.

A beautifully detailed image of a lotus on the left palm

Henna tattoos on both palms with designs inspired by tribal patterns

A henna tattoo on the palm that extends down to the inner side of the forearm

A highly detailed henna tattoo of a flower in orange-brown ink

A henna tattoo of a sun and moon that looks like a permanent tattoo

A spiral henna tattoo design with vines reaching the fingers

An image of a bird placed on the palm


The feet are also one of the spots where the ancient Indians used to commonly place their henna tattoos. For that reason, it’s also one of the most popular spots to place a henna tattoo even until today.

A henna tattoo of a flower covering the entire top area of the foot

Henna tattoos on the inner sides of both feet extending up to the big toes

A big detailed mandala henna tattoo on the left foot

A teardrop-shaped henna tattoo in reddish-brown ink on the right foot

Small henna tattoos on the inner side of the heels


The head is not a common spot to place a tattoo for ordinary people. But for cancer patients, it is. This is due to the fact that it can help them cope with their hair loss brought by chemotherapy. If you’re inspired by them, here are some designs for you.

A henna tattoo with floral patterns that extends down to the name with an added inspirational quote

A head henna tattoo of different flowers adorned with lace patterns

A henna tattoo on the head with bigger floral patterns

A henna tattoo with different patterns in reddish-brown ink

An elegantly designed henna tattoo that stretches down to the upper portion of the shoulders

While it has its cons, henna tattoos still have many pros. Why don’t you consider getting a henna tattoo today? Have you found the right design for you? Tell us in the comments below.

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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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