‘People are excited to have an alternative to wigs or hats...it can be empowering’
For over 3,000 years, people in Asia and North Africa have adorned themselves in henna body art. It’s predominantly used for holiday celebrations, weddings, and as a hair dye, but now a Seattle-area artist has found a therapeutic use for the plant-based paste. For the past six years, Sarah Walters has created beautiful henna crowns for women who’ve lost their hair to chemotherapy.
After losing a her step-feather to cancer, Walters searched for a way to help people struggling with the disease. “I felt very helpless during that time when he was sick,” she said. “So think the fact that I can use my art to be helpful in some way is important for me to be able to give in that way.” In 2010, her mother asked her to make a henna crown for a friend who lost her hair to chemotherapy. Since then, she’s been creating beautiful crowns free of charge.
“Everyone is beautiful, and my crowns simply add to the beauty that’s already there,” Walters told People. “In the same way that you feel a boost of self-confidence leaving a salon with a fresh hairstyle, a henna crown provides a similar experience. People are excited to have an alternative to wigs or hats, and it can be empowering.” Lauren Russell has long-term chemotherapy and regularly sees Walters for a beautiful crown. “For a little bit, people don’t see that it’s because I’m sick,” Russell said. “They see art. And it doesn’t look like just a bald head or any of that. It’s pretty.”