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My honest, unauthorized review of the ICNHA HENNA Exam!

Under their terms I will NOT be sharing questions, answers or logins but just sharing about my general experience and take aways from taking this exam. 

I just finished my exam and I decided to sit down and write about it while its still FRESH in my mind! Let us begin!

What the HECK is it? According to their website: ICNHA stands for International Certificate for Natural Henna Arts.  It is a volunteer peer assessment for henna artists to certify they use only natural henna and understand cultural and traditional uses of henna.  

The ICNHA is made up of 4 professional henna artists Jen Schafer, Neeta Sharma, Deborah Brommer, Kim Brennan and one web admin, Sarah Pritchard.  This Certificate neither permits nor forbids anyone to do henna art.  It is a certificate that shows that the henna artist correctly answered a series of questions about basic henna principles. It enables the public to be sure they are in the company of professional and responsible artists.  It is NOT a legal document and is not a license to do henna! 

THE JUICE: This exam has been hotly debated in the henna community for a while..  Many are divided.  And to be honest, I was a skeptic too.  I thought, why should I do this test that doesn’t really mean anything legally?  The certification is not endorsed as such on their website, they are very clear they aren’t a governing body.  There is no legal certification to do henna in the USA. There are other options to take henna courses online like Ash Kumar Academy but he pushes his own branding hardcore.  Also, the general henna client likely has never heard of the ICNHA and probably won’t know what it means. They will, however hear the word "certified” when you tell them or if they ask, and might think your more professional and trustworthy because of it! If you don’t want to say anything, you can print your certificate for clients to see it in your booth! I have actually had henna customers who have gone to a ICNHA certified henna artist before me and they asked if I too was certified.  I wasn’t and was clear I didn’t do the exam but still was professional with my ingredients and application plus insurance so the client trusted me without it!  So you can absolutely still be considered a professional without this certification. 

Super honest time! I procrastinated taking this exam because I was being a wee bit cheap and lazy.  I thought, “Why would I spend time and money (40$) proving that I know *everything* (theres no such thing as knowing everything about henna LOL) when I’m hungry and could buy a weeks worth of groceries with that amount?” I was a little nervous too: what if I had become comfortable with the knowledge I have already accumulated on henna over the past 10 years?  What if I fail and then I feel like a fraud!? (Typical virgoan perfectionist test anxiety!) You need a 95 or higher to pass this 100 question exam so theres not much room for error.   

So what finally made me take the plunge?!  Above all, my absolute obsession and passion for all things natural henna related! I really wanted to see what all the buzz was about, but mainly, I am so committed to natural henna that I wanted to prove to myself & clients that my knowledge was on par with a few other industry professionals.  It gave me an excuse to look over websites and henna resources that I had not read in years.  I analyzed things I hadn’t deeply analyzed before, like the science behind henna & body chemistry, farming practices, environmental impact & exportation.  I delved deeper into the lesser known cultural & religious aspects of henna in Jewish communities for example, and found more information about Ancient henna practices.  I went into this hoping I’d learn something new, and I really did! I learned more than a few things as I poured over the links on their study guide page (in addition to my own research) which is a great resource for ALL natural henna artists! Plenty of artists who have taken this exam also encouraged me, and Im grateful for your support! Thank you! The bottom line is this certification is a step in the right direction for legitimizing henna as a safe art form.  I’m a huge advocate for natural henna and I am on board with anything that is trying to lobby for better regulations and testing of unsafe chemical cones.  Im thankful reputable artists took the time to put this test together to work towards a safer henna community! 

That being said, I have my critiques! I got pretty unlucky and was sent an old form of the test that froze up after every question. I sat in a library for almost 5 hours waiting for questions to load while I sat next to a very pungent smelling homeless man.  I was too scared to close the browser and leave at the risk of failing the test!  I made it to question 36 after losing most of my mind then it finally froze for good and wouldn’t let me complete it.  I emailed the instructor and luckily she responded that day with a new login so I could sign in again and start over with the functional test form! I think the website is currently down as of June 23, 2019 due to web maintenance for this reason, so you are likely to have none of the problems I have experienced once they fix it!

As for the material.. I would have liked to see more questions on different cultural aspects of henna. Without giving away any specific information on questions, I will say some questions were very oddly worded.  Out of 100 questions I already knew the answers to about 90% of it from learning henna mixology, general safety, cultural aspects, essential oil safety and after-care practices etc.  I am mostly self- taught but have been to 2 henna conferences.  At least 3 or 4 questions struck me as bizarre situations that have never come up in my henna practice over my 10 years doing henna.  I studied the study guide page for about 3 hours a day for two days to prepare and be super confident about my answers.  Once the test was working fine I completed the test in about an hour and got a 96% on the written part. That means I passed!!! YEEHAW! Then I sent in pictures of my work and my henna recipe so they are assured I am all-natural.  Once that gets approved I will get my certificate!  

Im proud of myself for following through with this exam and taking the time and care to invest in myself and further bolster and legitimize myself as a natural henna artist.  I would recommend every artist to at least study the information on the study guide.  Definitely take the exam if you are really interested in many aspects and nuances of natural body art & want to set yourself apart! This exam is by no means the final authority on henna art. But I would tell anyone who wants to criticize this exam to try it if they haven’t taken it because how can you accurately judge something you haven’t tried? I did not think this test was easy peasy as an advanced henna artist! This exam doesn’t cover every aspect of henna, but it does a lot to assure that artists are using safe practices! 

Please let me know what you think of my review and tell me your experience, comments & concerns! Feel free to message me & connect on Insta @moonchildmehndi As always, stay curious, question everything, do your own research AND ALWAYS use natural henna! XOXO -MOONY aka Mishelle Wade

ps. really sorry about this terrible font. Its the only font they currently offer for WIX blog as far as I have found. IT SUCKS ASS and gives me a headache to read. Hopefully making it bold this time helps a little... GAH!

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