Polynesian Henna… Round 5!!

Polynesian Henna… Round 5!!

ROUND 5!! Five incredible Henna artists from around the world have made it to the semi-final round of this International Henna competition by the Henna Intensive and retreat, challenging and pushing themselves beyond their limits for a chance to win the amazing grand prize of a FREE ticket to the Annual Henna Conference in CALIFORNIA!!! WHO will it be? Well – this depends on you!!

Theme for Round 5:

Polynesian Henna!

Needless to say – I knew nothing about this style of henna – as I’ve never done it before!! I’ve seen and tried some Maori art.. but never ventured into Polynesian designs as they always looked super complicated! So once again, I have been challenged and pushed to learn something totally new. This round however, was so much more intense than any of the others before – as I only saw the theme early Tuesday morning and had exactly 48 hours to research, understand, come up with a concept, find a model + studio, and execute the idea!! So here goes my journey through Polynesian Henna!

Polynesian Henna by Allibee

Tues 9am: Wake up, and jump up and down from joy when I realize I have made it in the top 5 for the competition and have made it through to Round 5!! Check out the theme… uh oh…. WhAT is Polynesian Henna?!

11am: While eating breakfast, start researching on google and am completely bowled over by Allibee Henna’s incredible Polynesian henna work!! Check out one of her awesome Polynesian Art above! Freaking out now!!

12pm: While researching, I find this: “Polynesian art is characteristically ornate, and often meant to contain supernatural power”. Instantly inspired & buzzing with the word ‘Supernatural powers’.

2pm: Frantically Reach out to models/ photographer/ MUAs I know, & get super excited when I managed to get my absolute favorite fashion photographer in Hong Kong: Matryosha on board!

3pm: I’m now scrounging in my address book for studios and models, desperate as I get turned down by everyone due to Typhoon 3 (crazy bad weather)& a working day! Starting to lose hope…

Polynesian Henna sketches


4pm: We find an amazing Makeup Artist: Kohl Kreatives –  and we start bouncing crazy out of the box – ET like ideas for the shoot!! with Aanchal convincing me to skip the male models and instead turn a girl into an out of this world/ supernatural being with my henna designs!! LOVE IT!

5pm: Keeping in mind that I’ve not yet even started to design anything & still have NO idea what I’m actually going to henna.. I start doodling and learning about the theme! Super fascinated by all the symbolism in this style! And once I learn the symbols, I realize I can break down any design…

6pm: Quickly shove all my rough doodles and sketches ( see above) into my bag and head out in the insane rain and thunderstorm to meet the photographer and the makeup artist for a brainstorming session!

7-10pm: Have an incredibly charged & intense brainstorming session with Photographer and MUA and we leave the meeting super excited for the next day, having found a model as well as a studio space for our shoot!!

Midnight – 4am: I actually start designing and putting concept to paper! Idea: Run with the idea of a supernatural being – bordering between death and the life-after! All depicted through the use of Polynesian Henna symbols, dramatic body art/ paint, and photography!

Final sketch

Wed 9am: Wake up to Typhoon 8 warning!!! Which means everything is shut for the day including some public transport!! Shoot meant to be at 11am… and we end up postponing till 2pm hoping that T8 will cease by then…

2pm: Typhoon 8 still in force, but my team is incredible and relentless and decide they will still help me out and the shoot must go on!! We all make our way to the studio in the crazy storm with wind howling, and umbrellas blowing everywhere!!

4-5pm: We are still struggling to put the bald cap on the model’s head!! And we have been at it for an hour… cutting, glueing, sticking… lol definitely a sight to see!!

6pm: Cap is on, model is bald and we’re painting away with layers of white paint, foundation and green eyeshadow! Hehe model is looking more and more like something out of a Sci-fi movie now!!

8pm: Model is finally unrecognizable and ready to be hennaed!! I keep my templates in front of me and start working layer by layer on her crown, stopping occasionally for the photographer to take shots!

Polynesian Henna concept to execution

10pm: We no longer have a girl sitting in front of us… but a Polynesian goddess of Death possessing Paranormal powers!! I bow down to my professional model, Jessie Lam for being so still that I felt like I was hennaing a mannequin!!

11pm: We finally eat our first proper meal of the day after which Jessie spends a good half hour in the shower scrubbing all the paint and henna off her face, while Aanchal runs off home to edit the photos!!

Midnight: Arrive home and start editing photos and putting together these storyboards while I wait for the final photo from Aanchal!! I’m exhausted but so charged from the adrenaline of the shoot!! LOVE the way it went!!

Midnight – 2am: Aanchal frantically works on 1 final photo while I work on a complimenting photo for the final Pinterest entry! We need these photos to WOW, Dazzle and blow your minds away!!

2am: Photos are ready and up on Pinterest for voting!!! Do they inspire a ‘WOW’ from you?? If so…


Polynesian Henna by SarasHenna

Round 5 Polynesian Henna side pose

I am so incredibly grateful for my fantastic team for pulling this off and enabling me to create this Polynesian Henna Crown/ Shield. I have never in my life done something as extra-ordinary as this before and would have probably never have thought to if I hadn’t been challenged and pushed by Aanchal and the Henna Competition!!


Aanchal Wadhwani from Matryoshka: Photographer and Creative inspiration/ direction

Trishna Deswani from Kohl Kreatives: Makeup & Body Paint Artist

Jessie Lam: Professional Model and muse!

My wonderful friend for the use of his studio apartment as our studio for the day!!

Now even if I don’t win this competition… I won’t be upset because I feel like I am learning and growing as a Henna Artist week by week due to this competition and it’s given me the chance to collaborate with such incredibly talented people!! I LOVE IT!! The adrenaline, the pressure, the challenge and the rewarding satisfaction of a concept well executed within such short time-spans! BUT — fingers crossed we make it to the Final round and I get to create one more extra-ordinary work of Henna Art!!:D



  1. Mush Panjwani says:
    August 17, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Long post… but what a story! Motivation 101! Proud of you, Sara!

  2. Blume Bauer says:
    August 18, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Sara, this is just a fantastic read! I love how you wrote hour by hour, it was so fun and I could feel the excitement and pressure all at the same time while reading it. Bravo!

  3. Isabella Vasco says:
    August 18, 2013 at 6:53 am

    You are the best hennaya !!! You are a winner. Suerte guapa

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