This Pakistani Henna Artist Invented This New Form Of Henna Art That Has Gone International

By Haadia Paracha | 12 Mar, 2017

Meet Sara Vazir.

Full-time mommy of one and the founder of Sara’s Henna, a unique henna art service capitalizing her passion since she was seven years old.

Source: @sarashenna Via: Instagram

Sara was born and brought up in Karachi for the first ten years of her life, after which she moved to Hong Kong along with her family. Continuing to pursue her education until ending up in the UK for further education. Pursuing Art foundation, at first, then exploring Visual Communication. However, soon after, she realized she wasn’t being challenged enough and didn’t quite feel inspired. She eventually switched courses and finished with a degree in Events Management & Travel and Tourism. She decided to start her henna business in Hong Kong almost 8 years ago.

Speaking to MangoBaaz about her love affair with mehndi, Sara shares, “I learned henna tattoos by watching my mum from a very young age.

She used to do very traditional henna for brides, and back then there were no henna cones, so I remember watching her use toothpicks, dipping them into the henna paste and applying the henna onto the hands and feet of the brides. This method would take her around 8-9 hours, but her art was absolutely beautiful. Since I have always enjoyed sketching and doodling, I picked up this exotic art of henna quite fast, and practice then brought it to the level that it is today.”

Source: Sara Vazir

Opening up about what seems like a labor of love, Sara says her love for travel is rooted in her deep appreciation for different cultures.

“I’m one of those few people who love change, and love learning about different cultures, so I embraced each experience in each different city with an open mind and made the absolute most of it, and I think it’s this multi-cultured background that has largely shaped me to be the person I am today.”

Source: Sara Vazir

I feel like turning this hobby into a business wasn’t as much of a struggle, as it was to try and break through the expectations of “what an 18-year-old SHOULD do”.

Sara tells MangoBaaz being able to pursue her dreams wasn’t a walk in the park.

“Being a Pakistani, Muslim girl from a very conservative family can be extremely restrictive and limiting in terms of the paths that your life can take. Trying to break out of the “good Muslim girl who needs to get married at 18” and wanting to have my own career was the bigger struggle. Something that caused tension in my household on a daily basis. However, I stood strong to what I wanted. I hated when people in my family would say, “Oh ya mehndi, that’s just her hobby. Nothing serious” and it pained me to see that they just couldn’t understand what henna or my business meant to me.”

Source: Sara Vazir

Pioneering the art of white henna, Sara has since been challenged more often than not.

Source: @sarashenna Via: Instagram

“White henna is not natural mehndi. It’s a form of body art that I termed “Henna” due to the designs we can create with it. It’s made using FDA approved ingredients such as medical adhesives and body paint. It’s completely safe for the skin. Designs take around 10 mins to apply, and 5 mins to dry. After drying the paste stays on top of your skin as it is for anywhere between 1-3 days depending on the placement of the design. It’s waterproof however comes off with rubbing and scrubbing.”

Source: Sara Vazir

“My business is what has kept me strong in the face of all personal adversities that have come my way in the last few years. When things hit rock bottom in my personal life, I put in even more of an effort, my heart and soul into my art, and accomplished more in that dark period than ever before. Henna is the only thing that kept me sane! Once I start henna-ing, I can just lose my worries and my stress in the fluid flowing patterns, and it gives me that short escape from reality that is much needed sometimes.”

Garnering over 90,000 white henna tags on Instagram, Sara contributes white henna trend blowing up to having worked with Dubai-based mogul, Huda Beauty.

“Back in Hong Kong, I always got a lot of western brides who loved the concept of Henna art but never wanted the stain to last that long. I created White Henna art for them around 4-5 years ago, with the idea being that they would still be able to enjoy the intricate art of Henna for their wedding day, and wash it off at the end! However, it only caught on once I applied it in Dubai for the beauty mogul Huda Beauty, early in 2015. I think there was something extraordinarily beautiful about the contrast of the White henna with dark/ tanned skin that just appealed to the UAE audience and soon created a global trend.”

Since then she has been experimenting with a variety of henna art.

Source: Sara Vazir
Source: Sara Vazir
Source: Sara Vazir

On a lighter note, we asked Sara to recount a funny story from all her years of delving into henna art.

“Henna always puts me in extremely awkward, funny situations… especially when hennaing brides! The things that I’ve seen/ had to do range from taking brides to the toilet, to pulling out their contact lenses from their eyes, and feeding them.
I think the funniest one to this date remains when I used to Henna at my university in Loughborough. We used to have a lot of music festivals, ad I would always get asked to set up a henna booth. Needless to say, I would have a lot of random drunk people come and try to get a henna tattoo… so once this group of guys came to my stall, and asked me if I would henna a huge Emo teardrop on their friend’s face – knowing full well that henna lasts for up to 2 weeks!! I, of course, said no thank you. These guys persisted and started pooling in money for me – just so I could henna their drunken friend’s face! Within minutes, they had pooled in about 500 pounds! I looked at all that cash, seeing as I was charging only 3-5 pounds per tattoo, I looked back at their friend, and had a momentary judgment lapse thinking all that cash just for a teardrop, yeah why not? But then my morality got the better of me and I had to call the guards to shoo them away from my stall!

Lesson learned, never to henna at a drinking event ever again”, she chuckles.

Follow Sara’s whimsical henna art here.

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