Mehndi body art has been practiced for centuries in the Middle East, India and in some parts of Africa. Though generally mehndi is thought of as a woman's forte, men in all the countries have practiced it as well. Mehndi is the art of creating designs on the skin using henna paste. These designs can be applied in different parts of the body. Traditionally mehndi is applied on the hands and feet. Today as mehndi has become popular in the West mehndi is applied on the upper arms, back, around the belly button and on the hands and feet.
Initially henna was applied in these countries to cool the body in the hot summers. Dots are applied on the palm of the hands of both men and women to cool the body. As time passed the users of henna began drawing patterns, which over a period of time became intricate designs that are popular today. The different cultures gave rise to different style of mehndi and different methods of application. Intricate and fine line designs were developed in Pakistan and India. Geometric patterns and designs became the specialty of Morocco. In Africa bold geometric shapes and patterns became popular. Mehndi patterns are applied with the help of gold rods, plastic cones, plastic bottles with tips, syringes and toothpicks etc. Today mehndi art has become a means of expression for the Mehndi artists.