About getting henna and photos

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Getting Started With SarahKate (SKB)

Welcome to my information section where I do my best to provide clear, relevant information about getting henna from me, SarahKate Butterworth (SKB). If you have a question that isn't answered here, please feel free to contact me directly and I will do my best to answer. This first section is dedicated to how to get started with SarahKate, so you can make your first Henna appointment.

Henna tattoos are a wonderful way to mark an important event ~ birthdays, weddings, pregnancy, birth ~ or simply fun to wear to a gathering, like  Burning Man or a women's full moon gathering. Start by thinking about your special event that you want to celebrate and plan the timing. Henna tattoos take 2 or 3 days to peak, so if it's for your birthday, get the henna tattoo done 3 days before your birthday celebration. Contact me to hold your date. After you settle the timing, see what kind of designs you like so you can start day-dreaming about your design and the symbols that are important to you. Keep images on your phone, on pinterest, printouts, whatever works for you ~ or just tell me your vision ~ I love to create art and I enjoy the challenge of combining elements I've never combined before.  
 Henna is the world's oldest cosmetic ~ people have been dying their hair with henna for over 8,000 years in Africa. The tradition that most people know about, bridal henna, was started in India about 2,500 years ago. This tradition involves the bride in ceremonial dress, relaxing as her hands and feet are adorned in henna, with designs that are intended to bless her. One of henna's medicinal properties is that it is soothing to the nerves and simply feels SO GOOD. The henna paste smells good to ~ like the eucalyptus oil I include the recipe. Another wonderful aspect of wearing this kind of temporary body art are all the compliments you will receive every time you are near others.  
 A few times a year I will ask for models for my art projects, and these models must pass a list of requirements, including being photographed for time-lapse photos of the art and video. Because of all the extra things models do for me, I give them a discounted henna rate. If you would like to be a model, please contact me and I will let you know when the next round of modeling dates open up.  
 I have a studio in my home in NE Boulder, Colorado that I create my art in. There is a comfortable chair for you to recline in the privacy of my painting studio, and there are an abundance of silky things for you to wear in my photography studio. I also travel to women's homes for events & private pamperings. There is no travel fee if you live within 10 miles of our home.  
 I would be happy to come to your home. There is no travel fee if you live within 10 miles of our home in NE Boulder, CO. Women will lay on their bed for henna or recline on their couch or other favorite chair. I'll bring the mats I need to support my painting and adorn you in the comfort of your home.  
 Yes I do. I would be happy to print one out and mail to you, or send you an email version of the gift certificate. These can be fore henna appointments or products on my website, such a files or prints.  
 Henna appointments usually last 2 hours, including the time it takes to talk through a design, paint it on your body, dry it and then photograph you in silks.

FAQ - Your Appointment

This single best thing you can do to prepare for you appointment is to spend time on this website and other sites about henna, getting excited.


 1. Nails (optional) If you are getting on your hands and feet, they will be in the photos.  We all have differing degrees of pampering and self-care so be aware your hands &/or feet will look lovely with the henna at its peek.  Some of my women get a manicure or pedicure (a day or more *before* the henna appointment is best). Avoid paraffin dip as they can repel the henna stain for up to 3 weeks afterwards.

2. Skin Prep:  Avoid wearing any lotion the night before your appointment and the day of your appointment on the skin where the henna will be applied. Some lotions build a film over your skin that will prevent the natural dye from the henna paste from absorbing into your skin fully. You want  your skin to be thirsty for henna! It’s important to wash before your tattoo to remove any dirt that may be on the area to be tattooed, but avoid an excessive scrubbing - that can remove the layers of skin that the henna would have absorbed into. The idea is to allow the henna to sink into the skin through as many layers of skin as possible so it can create the darkest stain.

3.  What to wear ~ Depending on where on your body you are getting your henna, For pregnancy, if you just want your belly adorned, you’ll simply roll up your shirt (avoid white or very light colors). For henna that covers your chest, it’s easiest to have a shirt that’s robe-like to put on afterwards, or a tube top that you simply roll down for painting and roll up afterwards, or simply bring a piece of fabric 3 yards long for me to wrap around you. After I’m done painting you, the henna will take a few minutes to dry (5 to 15min) and then you’ll be able to get dressed.  For pregnancy photos, I find we get the best photos if you are just wearing pants/skirt and a bra (I can hide straps, if you have a strapless bra or are comfortable with no bra what ever you like best). I have a huge collection of silks for dressing up, but of course you are welcome to bring your own things if you wish. For breast feeding photos, you’ll remove your shirt and bra and I will tie a skirt around your waist, right over whatever pants/skirt you are already wearing.

4. Make-up I do take photos right after I’ve applied the henna, before you get up out of the chair. So it’s best to arrive with your hair brushed, any makeup you want already applied. 

 5. Allergies/Health Concerns  Henna has been safely used by women for thousands of years, my henna recipe is about the same (minus camel urine) as our sisters before us. I have never had anyone have a bad reaction to my henna. That said, nothing is 100% safe, trust your intuition, ask your doctor if you have any concern at all.   Please let me know if you have allergies and if you like I can put a small dot on you, to see if you have any reaction.   I value your safety & health above all else.  

6. After the appointment:  Traditionally, women wearing henna are given the additional pampering of not having to do any housework ~ at least the day of the appointment while the henna is still fresh. Try to set up your day to be relaxing and if needed get a friend/family member to help with the evening housework, or order dinner out to avoid cooking and cleaning. The henna paste needs to sit on your skin for 4 to 6 hours, and the less you move the better.  

 I have a private studio in my home where I adorn women and photograph them in my professionally lit photo studio. I also travel to women's homes for events or private pamperings, and there is no travel fee if you live within 10 miles of our home in NE Boulder, CO.  
Yes, I am happy to travel to your home, and there is no travel fee if you live within 10 miles of our home in NE Boulder, CO.    
   This depends on where you are getting your henna tattoo. For pregnancy, if you just want your belly adorned, you’ll simply roll up your shirt (avoid white or very light colors). For henna that covers your chest, it’s easiest to have a shirt that’s robe-like to put on afterwards, or a tube top that you simply roll down for painting and roll up afterwards, or simply bring a piece of fabric 3 yards long for me to wrap around you. After I’m done painting you, the henna will take a few minutes to dry (5 to 15min) and then you’ll be able to get dressed. It's best if the clothes that touch the henna aren't white or very light colored, they may stain. These stains can usually be removed by laundering.    
  Avoid wearing any lotion the night before your appointment and the day of your appointment on the skin where the henna will be applied. Some lotions build a film over your skin that will prevent the natural dye from the henna paste from absorbing into your skin fully. You want  your skin to be thirsty for henna! It’s important to wash before your tattoo to remove any dirt that may be on the area to be tattooed, but avoid an excessive scrubbing - that can remove the layers of skin that the henna would have absorbed into. The idea is to allow the henna to sink into the skin through as many layers of skin as possible so it can create the darkest stain.  
 Yes, that's fine, I'll have an extra chair set out.  
 You may, but please also bring child care for your child(ren). When you are covered in wet paint your child may not understand that s/he mustn't touch or pick at the henna, so you'll need someone to cover for you. You friend/partner/mom can watch your little one(s) in our living room while you are painted in the studio. I really love to see children participate in photos, and they are absolutely welcome then.  
 The henna paste looks very dark when it dries, and when it comes off the skin will be dyed a light orange. The natural dye will oxidize over the next 2 or 3 days and reach a peak color. This is when it will look it's best. It may hold this dark color just one day or several days before exfoliating off your skin.  
 1 to 3 weeks, depending on where you got your henna (palms stain darkest) and how long you kept on the paste and how long you went without getting it wet or washing it.  

Creating A Design

Creation of the design going on to you, is an important part of the whole process.  I really enjoy collaborating with my ladies to create some really beautiful and original designs.  Often they have a design or parts of a design in mind when they arrive.  We then sit down in my studio for a few minutes, sharing, looking on line, sketching till we come-up with an idea you'll like and that's where I start doing my thing.  The interaction, imagination and insight I get while collaborating with my clients, is a real highlight of my work as a Henna Artist.

 I've been doing henna for over 10 years now and often I just start and spontaneously "doodle" away. The henna patterns are like different fonts to me, and I love incorporating new styles & symbols. Often I look back on paintings I've done and create line drawings that are inspired by the original art (not a copy). I often look at these images I've drawn to bring in new, inspired elements.  
 Yes, each tattoo is unique, created with your artistic vision in mind.  
 Yes, I would love to hear your ideas. You can simply tell me all about it and I will do the research to pull it all together, or you are welcome to research yourself ~  women send me links,  show me images on their phone or bring printouts, whatever works for you. Women say things like, " I want a flower like this, but leaves like this other photo, and I just love to feel of how this 3rd photo flows..."  
  Yes I love Pinterest! You are welcome to follow my boards and use them to help pick out the elements you wish to include.  
 Yes. I love to look back on the art I've painted and draw inspired designs.  

About Henna tell-me-more

Thought to be the worlds first cosmetic, henna has healing properties in addition to dyes which surely attracted those early henna enthusiasts. Women were adorning each other with henna since the Bronze Age as part of social events and holidays.   Henna is a flowering plant that can grow 20 feet or more, prefers the climates of Northern Africa & Southern Asia. Henna leaves are dried, sifted and powdered to made the base of the dye.  Read more ...

 Yes, it's the same plant but henna for tattoos has been finely sifted so it can be squeezed through the small opening of a henna tip.
 Henna is the world's oldest cosmetic! For 8,000+ years Africans have been dying their hair with it. The mummies in Egypt had henna painted on their toenails 5,000 years ago. Bridal henna, the most well known tradition, began in India 2,500 years ago. The part of henna's history that I find most interesting is it's use to bless and protect women during pregnancy and right after birth. The Berber Culture of north Africa have been honoring women in their 8th month now for an untold number of generations. The mama-to-be is massaged, dressed in ceremonial clothes, and hennaed with beautiful, protective symbols. Traditionally, women are hennaed on their hands and feet.  She sit on the ceremonial seat and there is a feast in her honor. And then right after she gives birth she is taken care of, secluded in a special tent where she can rest and bond with her baby. The women in her community bring her food and cover her in henna that is intended to bless and protect her and her child. After 9 days she emerges from the tent and is greeted by her community to celebrate her baby's naming day. She lifts her baby up to the sun to receive it's blessing and is embraced by her community. When I read about this, I felt so inspired to do this for women here now, in our modern society, in whatever way they wanted to receive it.  
 NO! Nothing is 100% safe. That said, pure henna is as close to absolutely safe for most and has been used for thousands of years as proof. I have adorned hundreds of women and seen only a small handful who had a minor reactions (the skin gets red and is itchy for an hour or two, then the sensation fades) ~ but this was most likely due to a reaction with the eucalyptus oil, not henna. Pregnant mamas should check with their doctor, especially if they are high risk or have anemia, to make sure they aren't allergic to it ~ if you are allergic to fava beans (a G6DP definciency) you shouldn't have henna. If you've already had henna and been fine, then you can have it again.  
 Never. Black henna is henna with added chemicals to make the stain darker, however these chemicals are dangerous & smelly. I only use pure henna, eucaliptus oil, lemon juice and sugar in my recipe.  
 No, I don't add any indigo. I only use pure henna, eucalyptus oil, lemon juice and sugar in my recipe.  
  No. I only use pure henna, eucalyptus oil, lemon juice and sugar in my recipe.
  I only use pure henna, eucalyptus oil, lemon juice and sugar in my recipe.   
 The natural dye molecule in henna sinks into your skin as the paste sits on top of your skin. The longer you leave on the paste, the deeper the natural dye can sink in, going into layer after layer of skin. When you remove the paste you will see the tattoo is very light orange. Over the next 2 or 3 days it will oxidize and darken in color. Keep your tattoo oiled to slow exfoliation ~ that is how the tattoo will fade away.  
 The actual henna powder that I use does have a faint earthy scent. When I mix it with eucalyptus oil, it smells wonderful!    

Getting Photographs

When your henna is at its peak color (normally 2 or 3 days), it's time for pictures.  The photography portion of a Henna Pampering is often the best part,  and many of the women I see who opt for a photo package, are so happy they did, even before they see their photos because its so much fun!!!  The photo package includes taking photos outside, YEAR ROUND, even women who are naturally cold, find posing outside in the winter, surprisingly comfortable and exciting.  I encourage clients bring their families (including your family pet, most often a dog), because even with the kids, your husband and a dog, the center of attention is still YOU, and along with you everyone else we will be photographed.  Depending on which package you selected, you'll get a certain number of photos to purchase in your private gallery, which I have finished in Photoshop and are print ready in various sizes.

I don't mind photos taken that are documenting the event, as I'm painting or photographing you. However, beyond that, I am not comfortable with someone else photographing my art work in my studio or while out on a photo session.  
 That is what we call it, I charge a reasonably small fee for studio & outside photography time and for the time I spend on Photoshop, starting at $50.
 Yes, I would be happy to come to your home. My dear husband Rob is also my amazing grip (lighting assistant) and he will come to help create the perfect backdrop and light to photograph you.  

 

 Yes, what a great idea!   My dear husband Rob is also my amazing grip (lighting assistant) and he will come to help find great scenery and light to photograph you.  

 

 Yes, absolutely! It's best if they wear neutral colors, though I have all kinds of dress up for girls to wear too.  

 

 Yes, though your dog will  need to stay in your car for the in-studio portion of your photographs. Please bring a leash for your dog as we walk the trial.  

 

 

 If you are pregnant, I would love to include you in my volumes of art honoring pregnancy. If you are breastfeeding, I'd love to include your photos in my magazine or upcoming breastfeeding book. If I've photographed you with your mom & daughter, you can be in my publications on 3 generations. I may start another art project and include you, just ask! Of course, if you want your photos to be private, that's fine too. You don't have to be in any publications.  

 

 Yes, I would love to. Creating books is something I've been doing since I was a child, it's a passion. The book can be a soft cover (like a magazine) or hard cover (like a coffee table book).  

 

 Yes, I have all the photos I took of you (if I photographed you after 2012). If it was earlier than than, I still have some photos ~ the best from the shoot, that you can buy.  

 

 You can buy prints or files, both are available in many sizes.