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.
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.”
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.
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.