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From the moment I knew that I was going to lose my hair, I wanted a tattoo! 

I also knew that I did NOT want it to be permanent and I did NOT want it to hurt!

My close friend Jen, Artsy Chick, is a career artist and painter and has had a successful career as a union scenic artist/painter for film and television. My husband Tobin and I lived in close proximity with Jen and her husband David as neighbors in NYC. Now, having the move to LA in common, all four of us have become very close.

I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer just as Jen and David were literarily on the road form NY to LA. I have many great friends here in LA already but I was very glad that they were moving here, too. Since the moment they got situated they have been loving and supportive to both Tobin and me. 

During a visit, shortly after I started chemo, Jen and I were talking about the ramifications of my baldness. We both agreed that my naked head was a blank canvas crying out to be adorned. I was already SICK of NEEDLES and knew a real tattoo would be dangerous because of the possibilities of infection. We agreed that a Henna Tattoo would be perfect. I was still sick enough that sitting up was hard to do, never mind researching the Henna idea. Jen, however, was immediately on the case. She researched Henna, patterns, recipes, sources and mysticism until she was sure she had an approach that would work.

The art of Henna has been used as a natural way to decorate the body for at least five thousand years throughout Africa, India, and the Middle East.  There was a confusing amount of raw information to weed through.  We both became fairly obsessed until Jen found a recipe that made sense. All the ingredients were 100% natural and that sounded perfect to us.

The Henna paste that we used was made out of the crushed powder of the Henna plant, mixed with essential oils and lemon juice. It had to be made 12 or more hours ahead of time and different parts were added at timed intervals. It took some considerable organized planning but we were determined to give try it. (We certainly wish we had found the Earth Henna Body Painting Kits sooner!)

The most creative and enjoyable part of the adventure was designing the pattern and then figuring out how to transfer it to my head. We did some research into primitive body painting designs from African, Turkish, Indian and Arabic sources. The first one we designed was based on a Moroccan image that we elaborated on to make it larger, a little more modern and whimsical. It was so interesting to read about the meanings behind each of the old traditional designs. They were infused with poignant messages of good; healing, happiness, fertility, abundance and more...

The first design we created for my head was so close to what I had imagined I wanted that I kept it on through most of my first set of bald days. Once I realized how much I loved having it on my head and enjoying the reactions from loved ones and strangers alike - I was hooked. The positive Karma inherent in the tradition of the Henna was clearly affecting me.

The process brought Jen and I closer as we went through it every other week. Eventually I realized that if I could re-trace the design before it disappears, almost anyone could do it for me. Even a guy's guy like my friend Kramer. I have lots of fun memories of a variety of friends and family tracing my baldhead with the Henna paste.

Everyone around me enjoyed it. It took people off guard and it made them smile. When they smiled at me I couldn’t help but smile back. Especially with children. In fact, one of my favorite moments was when I had some dark Henna paste drying on my head and I was sitting out back by our pool. I looked up and noticed two neighbor kids on the top of the jungle gym in the next yard. They stared over the fence at me.  Brandon hollered, “Hey, is that a tattoo?” I assured them that it was but it was only temporary and they were in awe. I got closer so they could see it better and realized as we laughed and talked about why I had no hair. Rather than being freaked out or put off by my strange new look they were drawn in and I was now way up on the neighborhood COOL meter.

The great thing is that I can run around without a hat or wig and with the Henna on my head I don’t feel like I am naked, or sick, but rather like a chick with a keen sense of style!

Lets start a trend!

Get your own Chemo Chicks Head Art Transfer Stencil!



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