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Beautiful Henna Crowns Bring Confidence And Joy To Women Experiencing Hair Loss

05/13/2014 08:36 am ET | Updated May 13, 2014

One organization is using all-natural ingredients and artistry to help women coping with hair loss.

Henna Heals was started by Canadian photographer Frances Darwin in 2011 as a small group of volunteers in Toronto, and has since grown to a community of 150 artists worldwide. Those artists use safe, temporary dyes to paint intricate designs on their clients' heads -- after about two weeks, the henna designs fade away.

The organization offers professional henna "crowns" and photography services as a way to empower and heal people experiencing hair loss, and to help them feel beautiful and confident.

"For me, Henna Heals is a passion project," Darwin told The Huffington Post in an email. "I strongly believe in the power of art."

Many of the women who use Henna Heals, including all those pictured below, have alopecia, a non-life-threatening, autoimmune disease that results in partial or total hair loss. Some other women who use the service are experiencing hair loss as a result of chemotherapy treatments.

"This now is just one more empowering move, really, to just sort of become comfortable with who we are," Karen McKinney, who got a henna crown with her daughter, says in the YouTube video above.

"The application of the henna felt very therapeutic, not unlike having a massage," Jana Buhlmann, a Henna Heals client, told HuffPost. "My sense of self was very strong afterward: I was compelled to take selfies until the stain faded."

Check out the beautiful henna crowns in the images below:

  • Model: Maygan S.; Design: Henna Vibes; Henna: Olivia Darwin; Photography: Katerina Shaverova; Make-up: Christopher Mooyer; Styling: The Eye of Faith
  • Model: Jennica G.; Design: Biljana Kroll; Henna: Kyla Austin; Photography: Katerina Shaverova; Make-up: Christopher Mooyer; Styling: The Eye of Fait
  • "I've met women who didn't know they had alopecia, until suddenly they lost all their hair in a matter of weeks," said Darwin. "It can be a traumatic experience, and these women are bald for years, or perhaps for the rest of their lives, and often undergo painful treatments (injections in their skull, for example) before they start to accept their situation, and themselves."
  • Model: Diana C.; Design: Hennafication; Henna: Joanne Rumstein-Ellis; Photography: Katerina Shaverova; Make-up: Christopher Mooyer; Styling: The Eye of Faith
  • Model: Ashlyn M.; Design: Dana Webb; Henna: Noofa Hannan; Photography: Katerina Shaverova; Make-up: Christopher Mooyer; Styling: The Eye of Faith
  • "In my line of work I’ve spoken with several women with this condition who are constantly assumed to have cancer (if they choose to walk around without a hair piece, that is)," said Darwin. "It’s difficult to constantly deal with the stares, pity, and even good intentioned comments of people saying 'you're going to be alright'. Alopecia is not life threatening."
  • Model: Ana-Laura G.; Design: Sara's Henna; Henna: Tarquin Singh; Photography: Katerina Shaverova; Make-up: Christopher Mooyer; Styling: The Eye of Faith
  • Model: Karen M.; Design: Henna Planet; Henna: Tarquin Singh of Henna Heals; Photography: Katerina Shaverova; Make-up: Christopher Mooyer; Styling: The Eye of Faith

For more information about Henna Heals, check out their Facebook page and Twitter.

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Eye Art by Tal Peleg
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