Henna crowns offer an alternative to wigs and hats, which can be especially welcoming during warmer seasons

The art and tradition of using all-natural paste from the henna plant to create temporary henna tattoos goes back to ancient Asian and Middle-Eastern history, but there’s a small group of artists that has taken this ancient art form and given it a new, modern – and healing – purpose.

Sarah Walters, the creator of Sarahenna, is one of these modern artists.  She gives chemotherapy patients intricate crowns created by henna.

Using a hairless head as a canvas, she hand-paints captivating designs onto the scalp to create henna crowns (sometimes called henna caps).

“I have always known that I wanted a way to help others in a meaningful and tangible way,” Walters explained.

“It was something I looked for throughout my life.

“My stepdad passed away of multiple myeloma (a rare cancer of the plasma cells) on Nov 23, 2004, exactly 5 months after his diagnosis. It was a difficult time that further reinforced my desire to find a way to help in whatever way I could.

“When my mum asked me to do a crown for her friend who was fighting cancer in 2010, I was excited about the opportunity. After that, I knew I wanted to make them accessible to anyone who had lost their hair during chemo.”

And so chemo patients who are experiencing hair loss are able to come in, relax and feel pampered for an hour, and leave with a beautiful henna design on their scalp that will last for up to two weeks. Walters creates one-of-a-kind crowns for each customer based on any inspiration photos they bring and/or their personalities.

Cancer Support Map

For those who have lost their hair to chemo, henna crowns offer an alternative to wigs, scarves and hats, which can be especially welcoming during the summertime.

Walters is not the first artist to provide henna crowns for cancer patients. Henna Heals is a global community of artists who create henna crowns for people experiencing hair loss. What started as a small group of advocates and artists in Toronto, Canada, founded by Frances Darwin in 2011, has grown into a worldwide network and resource organisation.

As part of the creative service provided, Henna Heals also take portraits during and after the henna is applied.

“The only people who get portraits taken are celebrities and models now,” Henna Heals founder Darwin said. “It’s empowering for someone who’s not used to feeling beautiful to be captured like this. The photo itself is also part of the healing process.”

You can read more about henna below:

What is henna?

Henna is a shrub which grows in the desert regions of Africa, the Middle East, and India and has many uses. The fragrant flowers are used to create perfume, and the leaves are dried and then turned into a fine powder that’s used for dying clothes, hair dye and temporarily dying the skin — henna tattooing.

henna past to make henna crowns
Henna paste

Is henna safe to use?

Henna crowns are not tattoos and involve no needles or pain.

Allergic reactions to natural henna are extremely rare.  Henna plant material contains naphthalene, also found in mothballs, aspirin and fava beans.  People who are allergic to naphthalene should not be exposed to henna.

Walters is also mindful of her cancer patients’ treatment so she only uses completely plant-based henna.

How long will the henna crown last?

When first applied, natural henna paste is a dark brown. After it dries and flakes off, it leaves a light orange stain on the skin that eventually darkens into a terracotta colour. The stain will last about two weeks and fades as your skin naturally exfoliates.

10 beautiful Henna Crowns on Instagram:

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¿Les gustó la idea de las “Coronas de Henna”? . Si están en Caracas pueden escribirle a @henna.alenna @Hennaccs o a @Rosimartemehndi. . Eso sí, hagan su cita por la mañana. Necesitan dejar que la pasta de henna se seque por lo menos unas 8-12 horas. Cuanto más tiempo la dejen, más oscuro será el diseño de henna. . Mi segunda recomendación es que se consientan ese mismo día y se tomen unas bellas fotos para el recuerdo. Vayan a un sitio lindo y pídanle a un amig@ o familiar que les tome las fotos. ¡Merecen sentirse dignas, hermosas y llenas de confianza! . Una corona de henna tiene el poder de transformar, de empoderar, y hasta puede ser una manera de eliminar el estigma a la pérdida del cabello. . Foto 1: @tmkhenna Foto 2: @sunny_henna_stockholm . #HennaCrown #coronadehenna

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