Top Instagram henna artist Azra Khamissa launches ‘non-toxic’ formula just in time for Eid

Dubai-based henna artist Azra Khamissa launched her own non-toxic henna product. (Instagram/@dr.azra)
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Updated 21 May 2020

Top Instagram henna artist Azra Khamissa launches ‘non-toxic’ formula just in time for Eid

DUBAI: In the two years since Azra Khamissa began dabbling in henna, the Dubai-based creative has drawn thousands of admirers to her Instagram page with her contemporary henna designs — and landed gigs with high-profile brands including Gucci, Fendi and Nike. So it’s no surprise that Khamissa is now launching her very own henna product, “Azra.” 

Azra is billed as “entirely natural” and comes packaged in a sleek, transparent cone that’s compact enough to fit in your purse. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Unlike many henna formulas, Khamissa’s new namesake product is, she claims, completely non-toxic with a whittled-down ingredient list that consists of just four key elements: High-grade henna powder sourced from India, a blend of essential oils, water, and sugar. 

“When I first started practicing henna, I would buy cones from a local salon near my house. But whenever I would ask the salesperson what the formula was, they would say they didn’t know,” Khamissa told Arab News. “Naturally, I wasn’t comfortable using something on my skin if I didn’t know what was in it, especially since I use henna so frequently. The fact that I couldn’t find a chemical-free product anywhere showed that there was a serious lack.” 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She began sourcing natural henna from Pakistan, but the COVID-19 pandemic — and subsequent lockdowns — made purchasing henna from overseas virtually impossible due to factory shutdowns and shipment delays. So, with a string of projects pending, Khamissa decided to take matters into her own hands.

Following a couple of failed attempts at making her own henna, Khamissa staged an Instagram Live session in which she revealed that she didn’t know how to successfully make her own formula. Coincidentally, one of the viewers knew how to make henna from scratch and offered to teach Khamissa how to make her own. “We had a chat, I ordered some high-quality ingredients and made my own henna,” she said. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Since the product’s debut last week, the first run has been flying off the shelves. Priced at $5 a cone, the formula sold out within 48-hours. As for what’s next? “The plan is to launch minimal, contemporary henna stickers,” Khamissa revealed. “I’m hoping to collaborate with a lot of local artists to create them.”

Azra Khamissa’s top henna tips

- Always practice your designs on paper first. None of us are experts at things when we first start out. 

- Don’t be afraid to use a pen on your skin first, so you have an idea of where to use your henna.

-With natural henna, you have to keep it on longer to get a deep, pigmented color. Apply it before bedtime, and remove in the morning. 

- Always store natural henna in the freezer. In the fridge, it’ll last around a week, in a freezer it’ll last four-to-six months. When you want to use it, just defrost it for 15 minutes. 

- Use tape for beautiful, clean lines. 


Moroccan actor Youssef Kerkour receives BAFTA nomination

Youssef Kerkour is nominated for Best Male Comedy Performance for his role as Sami Ibrahim in the comedy series “Home.” (Instagram)
Updated 04 June 2020

Moroccan actor Youssef Kerkour receives BAFTA nomination

DUBAI: Moroccan actor Youssef Kerkour has landed a nomination for the 2020 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), the academy announced on Thursday, after the awards were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The actor, who grew up in Rabat, is nominated for Best Male Comedy Performance for his role as Sami Ibrahim in the comedy series “Home.”

Kerkour, who is also known for roles in “Dracula,” “Redemption,” “Criminal” and “Marcella,” took to Twitter to thank his supporters. 

“Thank you all for your lovely messages this morning. It is a tremendous honor to be nominated in such stellar company,” the 41-year-old actor said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

La famille MAISON @channel4 #home #season2

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The series, created by British writer and actor Rufus Jones, follows a middle-class London family who find a Syrian asylum seeker named Sami (Kerkour) hiding in their luggage while returning from holiday in France.

Kerkour’s tweet also paid tribute to Jones. 

“I must however say that there is a name missing IMO (in my opinion). That name is Rufus Jones. His writing will give you nominations,” he wrote.