The Makings Of Moon Wedding Henna

Happenings 3 minutes, 47 seconds


IT WAS December 2011, when Munifah Hj Kassim first saw a mehndi — a cone tube filled with henna paste — being used by an artist on her during one of her visits to Masjid India Street in Kuala Lumpur.

Captivated by the swift movements of the artist’s hands, Munifah, who is affectionately known as Mun, started to dabble with ready-made mehndis sold at local convenient stores.

This gave rise to a passion for body art, drawing elaborate patterns particularly on the hands and feet of ladies.

Her noteworthy skills, which started as practises on the limbs of her sisters and mother, were noticed and words of recommendation were passed during various hangouts, at workplaces and social media accounts. This gave birth to Mun’s business: Moon Wedding Henna.

By January 2012, Mun had her first appointment.

And to better her art, Mun began seeking advices from experts like Mehndika Joey Henna in the United States and Syraskins from Singapore through Instagram. Tips were shared but there was one that will be forever embedded at the back of her mind.

“A true henna artist creates her own mixture.”

Moved by the statement, Mun put an end to using imported powders and started making her own traditional henna powder by using henna plants, which is scientifically known as lawsonia genus.

With the help from client-turned-leaf-supplier named Hjh Fatimah, who owns a henna shrub, Mun started growing her own plants with some of the stems given.

“I failed, they wilted!” said Mun as she recalled the first time she tried growing the plant.

This did not halt her desire to produce her own henna powder. With the remaining stems, she gave it another try. This time she was successful; she was able to harvest the leaves to make her own powder: ‘Henna Powder’.

The Brunei Times made a booking and dropped by her home-based studio in Gadong to get a gist of the production.

The lesson starts with Mun drying the leaves under the sun — up to three days or more. Once everything was golden and crispy, she would simply grind them with a blender.

The next step was mengayak. This is where residues are strained using different filters. Leftovers will be grinded or crushed and filtered again, and repeated until they are in powder form.

Mun would then ration the powder into the various packagings using cups. The last touch is to stick a label that reads ‘$10 for 100 grammes.’

Henna artists can then use the powder to create their own paste.

“This (powder) can also be used in the traditional Bruneian dipped-finger-tips ‘pacar’ way,” said Mun.

She added that any residue from the grinded leaves will be kept for pacar.

Mun also said now and then, there are customers who actually buy the ‘Henna Powder’ for medicinal purposes.

“Some people would dye their hair because it is a good way to relax or to aid skin conditions such as anai-anai air,” said Mun.

Meanwhile, for the sake of her customers’ convenience, Mun developed her very own version of mehndis: Moon Maxi, 20g for $7 and Moon Mini, 10g for $4.

To make the paste, Mun mixes ‘Henna Powder’ with a limewater solution, which she explained is a combination of asam jawa, asam kulit, lemon and tea essence.

These are then whisked with a teaspoon of cajeput oil and sugar, which help to create stronger stains and provide moisture to the mehndi.

“If it (paste) is too dry, it (paste on the skin) will crackle and there will be ‘missed’ areas,” said Mun.

Once the mixing is done, Mun creates a tube using 10-inch-by-15-inch plastic sheets. Using her finger to measure one end and a pin, which acts as a stopper, on another, she then rolls the paste into a cone before sealing it.

Customers who buy any of the products will be given an instruction on using and caring for the powder and mixture. This includes a reminder to store henna in a cool place. Mun also said the mixtures expire six months after the brewing process.

On the success of her business, Mun said that while not everything is rosy, it was the support of her clients that pushes her through.

Alhamdulillah, I managed,” she added, “With the support given by people whom I described as loyal patrons from the very beginning.”

For more information on Henna Powder and mehndis by Moon Wedding Henna or its services for bridal showers, engagements and even mandi berlawat (special postnatal shower), check out @moon_wedding_henna on Instagram or call 8613610.

The Brunei Times