There are many fas­ci­nat­ing wed­ding tra­di­tions across the African con­ti­nent and one of the most stun­ning­ly beau­ti­ful is cer­e­mo­ni­al hen­na.

In Kenya, the bride is bathed in san­dal­wood oils and hen­na is applied to her limbs. This pho­to, from Nat­ur­al Geo­graph­ic, is of a hen­naed Swahili Bride in Kenya;

A Swahili wed­ding is filled with rit­u­als designed to beau­ti­fy the bride and height­en the sens­es. Before her wed­ding, Fati­ma has designs drawn on her limbs with twigs dipped in hen­na.


In Nige­ria, apply­ing hen­na is con­sid­ered to be an inte­gral part of the wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny and said appli­ca­tion typ­i­cal­ly lasts 2 weeks, serv­ing as an indi­ca­tor of the couple’s love. The hen­na is also said to bring good luck. While the bride has the hen­na on her hands, she is not oblig­at­ed to do house­work and is pam­pered as the new bride in the fam­i­ly.

Hen­na’ is an art form that has been trans­formed from tra­di­tion­al adorn­ment to fit into the cur­rent fash­ion trend; it is made from herbs, which means it is all nat­ur­al. The pow­der is extract­ed from a ‘hen­na’ plant, where the leaves are dried and ground­ed into a fine pow­der. This pow­der would then be mixed with water, euca­lyp­tus oil, tea, cof­fee, and lime and then applied on the body. ‘Hen­na’ is used to cre­ate tem­po­rary tat­toos main­ly on the hands and feet of a woman. Peo­ple usu­al­ly choose areas that are vis­i­ble — the palm, arm, feet, wrist or around the navel. There are dif­fer­ent designs and pat­terns that can be intri­cate­ly dis­played on a woman’s hand.

























Gor­geous! For even more designs, check this video;

Leave a Reply

24 Comments on "25 Stunning Images of Traditional Kenyan and Nigerian Bridal Henna Tattoos"

Notify of

Mix with black tea. Not the tea leaves, but boil the tea leaves and use that. The black­er the tea, the dark­er the tat­toos. The less bit­ter the tea, the lighter the tat­too. But yu have to let the paste (hen­na and tea mix) sit for sev­er­al min­utes.


reg­u­lar hen­na doesn’t show on our skin


These are actu­al­ly real­ly unsafe, “black hen­na” designs which are not nat­ur­al or authen­tic. Hen­na is nev­er black nat­u­ral­ly and unfor­tu­nate­ly a lot of coun­tries now use this “black hen­na” (actu­al­ly PPD) as a “tra­di­tion­al” method when it is not at all the orig­i­nal plant.


I think they might have used indi­go, which is nat­ur­al and black (it comes in pow­dered form like mend­hi). A Niger­ian woman told me this. Indi­go is safe to use but it doesn’t last long like hen­na (the green pow­der)… How­ev­er “black hen­na” does have harm­ful chem­i­cals (PPD) which are added to it.


I thought that at first too but indi­go is not near­ly that dark, it nor­mal­ly shows up blue on the skin… There could be oth­er things added to make it dark (safe or unsafe), but it’s def­i­nite­ly not pure hen­na


Beau­ti­ful black women. The tat­toos are very artis­tic and cre­ative

All Shades

Ayyy Hausa women rep­re­sent!!! I enjoy find­ing arti­cles like these. It goes to show that hen­na is deeply root­ed in many African cul­tures. It isn’t only in South Asian coun­tries like India.


This is to say that most west­ern cul­ture like­ly orig­i­nat­ed from Africa.


Oh My Lord! These ladies are Gor­geous!

Hakim Hasan

This is Kenyan..

s lynn

Actu­al­ly that is a PART of Kenyan cul­ture. The swahili who are Kenyan based at the coast of Kenya do Hen­na tat­toos. We have 46 tribes in Kenya, the Maa­sai you’re show­ing are only a tiny part of our cul­ture.

Hakim Hasan

We both agreed on this but the only prob­lem is that this is a false rep­re­sen­ta­tion of that cul­ture.

Hence­forth it looks more Hin­di than Kenyan. I have friends form Kenya and they are laugh­ing there ass­es off at this.

s lynn

I’d like to see these Kenyan friends of yours as they haven’t lived among the Swahili & clear­ly don’t know their cul­ture! Hen­na tatoos are tra­di­tion­al­ly used among the Swahili & have been used for cen­turies. Hen­na is also used in neigh­bour­ing Ugan­da, Tan­za­nia & Zanz­ibar. I used to pick the plant in Mombasa(some peo­ple grow it) and we’d dry it and mix it with tea to use on skin. Hen­na has been used for years! Some old­er women in the coast of Kenya even mixed it with black tea to hide gray hair & this has been done for years!

Philly Jawn



Nige­ria is made up off many dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups. Hen­na is most­ly worn by North­ern Mus­lims but it’s pop­u­lar­i­ty is slow­ly increas­ing in the south.

Jenee Smith

why is their hen­na dark­er?


It looks like ppd (a dan­ger­ous chem­i­cal hair dye) it’s actu­al­ly very wide spread and not many peo­ple know that it is unsafe. They use it because it gets a quick, dark stain that can­not be achieved with true hen­na. Even in african coun­tries and india, ppd use is becom­ing com­mon.

Varah Potter

THAT’S SO COOL! Gosh I wish I had things like this in my cul­ture.


These women are so beau­ti­ful. I love the hen­na tat­toos and thought it was only Indi­ans did this. Well I learn some­thing new every­day.


I thought the same. I’m glad I learned this tid-bit of info.


This is soooooo beau­ti­ful!!!


this is beau­ti­ful. African women and black women in gen­er­al are beau­ti­ful!


“In Nige­ria, apply­ing hen­na is con­sid­ered to be an inte­gral part of the wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny and said appli­ca­tion typ­i­cal­ly lasts 2 weeks, serv­ing as an indi­ca­tor of the couple’s love. ” Actu­al­ly, hen­na appli­ca­tion is com­mon prac­tice in the North­ern part of Nige­ria. Regard­less thanks for pro­mot­ing our cul­ture.

African Naturalistas Products
African Naturalistas Products

Exact­ly. I was going to say exact­ly that. I have nev­er seen a bride with hen­na before, even though I have lived all my life in Nige­ria. And that is because it is only com­mon in the north­ern part, among the Hausa tribe and few Mus­lims. Any­way, after see­ing these pic­tures, I think I will use hen­na dur­ing my wed­ding even though I am nei­ther Hausa nor mus­lim