Sunday, 16 October 2011

봉숭아 nail dye

Bongsunga (봉숭아), or Garden Balsam, is a plant used traditionally in Korea to dye fingernails, in a similar way to henna. I see a lot of children and young women with this reddish-orange nail dye around the end of summer every year, although I had no idea what it was until someone told me! Last summer I dyed my own nails with the help of my lovely friend's grandma, using fresh flowers picked from her garden in the Korean countryside, but this year I bought a packet of prepared powder from Daiso and did it that way.

Try it at home, kids! Fresh flower method:

1. Find some Impatiens balsamina plants.
2. Pick the flower petals and a few leaves.
3. Crush the flowers and leaves together with some salt. You can use a pestle and mortar.
4. Put the crushed mush on your fingernails and wrap your fingertips up with cling film. Put on plastic gloves to ensure against leaks. This stuff stains!
5. Keep it on overnight, and wash it all off in the morning. Be warned, your whole fingertip will be reddish-orange for a couple of days until the dye fades from the skin.

Packet method

1. Buy a packet of 봉숭아 물들이기 powder.
2. Mix with water to make a thick paste.
3. Spread it on your nails. Try to avoid the skin.
4. Leave for AT LEAST 30 minutes. An hour is better.
5. Wash off and voila!

This method is cleaner and quicker than using fresh flowers, but not half as much fun and the effect is a weaker orange colour.

1 comment:

  1. Indonesia has (almost) the same nail dye technic using one kind of a tree too, named Pacar Air or Pacar Cina Tree. To get this look, we usually use the leaves and the cajuput oil to dye our nails. Pour the little bit of cajuput oil on the leaves and then put the leaves one by one on our nails. Wait for about 1 hour for vivid color and then throw the leaves away. voila, your nails will be as orange as a tangerine :p