crafts

Cancer Patient’s Scalp Is Completely Transformed By Gorgeous Henna Tattoo

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

The practice of decorating the skin with henna is one that goes back for thousands of years.

The dried leaves are crushed and mixed with water to form a paste, and then intricate and flowing designs are drawn onto the skin.

When the paste dries and is rubbed off, a rich brown stain is left, temporarily, on the skin.

Traditionally, it’s used in India and the surrounding regions for special occasions, and over time, it’s also been adapted into other forms, some on the body and others elsewhere, like on hand-drawn accent walls.

Sarah Walters is bringing this ancient art form into the modern day with a beautiful act of kindness. The Bothell, Washington-based artist provides services for weddings and special occasions like any stylist, setting up appointments and taking payments.

But when it comes to women who have lost their hair to chemotherapy, her services are completely free.

Sarah creates the swirling, floral designs on her clients’ bare heads, providing ornamentation on something that many women may feel insecure or ashamed about, giving them the chance to feel beautiful, like walking pieces of artwork.

[H/T: KENS 5]

Sarah Walters, along with her sister Rebekah, provide henna body art to clients near Seattle.

Her clients include all kinds of people, from brides wanting some traditional designs for their big day to people looking for a little design but who aren’t ready to commit to a real tattoo.

She also provides services to women who have lost their hair to chemotherapy, drawing intricate “crowns” on their heads — all free of charge.

Henna, or mendhi, has been used in India for centuries as a way to decorate the body.

The paste, made from ground-up leaves, leaves a semi-permanent stain on the skin that lasts about two weeks.

For her work, Walters blends traditional and modern styles.

“It does satisfy that creative urge,” she says of creating the crowns. “But when it’s also something you’re doing for someone else, benefitting someone else in a positive way, and when it can be a gift you’re giving them, that’s a great feeling.”

One of her clients, Lauren Russell, is on long-term chemo and has had three henna crowns from Walters.

“It’s almost like when you get a haircut and you leave the salon,” Russell says. “You’re really satisfied and you know you look good. It’s that feeling, kind of being pampered.”

“For a little bit, people don’t see that it’s because I’m sick,” Russell adds. “They see art. And it doesn’t look like just a bald head or any of that. It’s pretty.”

The designs last about two weeks, and fade with wear and washing.

These crowns are also personal for Walters, who lost her stepfather to cancer.

“I felt very helpless during that time when he was sick,” she says. so I think the fact that I can use my art to be helpful in some way, it’s important for me to be able to give in that way.”

The henna gives confidence and a sense of beauty back to women who may have lost those things due to their illness.

Walters also provides plenty of other henna services, like traditional designs for brides.

Pregnant women are also fans of getting their bellies embellished.

And her designs aren’t always the traditional style, like this tree.

Watch the video below to see Walters create a design on a client in her studio, and check out more of Walters’ work on her website, as well as on Facebook and Instagram.

SHARE this great way of bringing a little beauty into a challenging time with your friends!

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