Shaira “Saira” Halani, who runs a henna, threading and waxing studio out of Class Hair Studio

By Claudie Benjamin

A dragon, peacock or band of intricate lace drawn on your hands, arms, small of your back, base of your collarbone.  What’s your pleasure?  Shaira Halani who goes by Saira professionally, has been working as a henna artist and specialist in threading and waxing for more than a decade. Originally, from South Hyderabad, she, her husband and son moved to New York about 14 years ago.

Saira’s studio, a business in its own right, is located in a lofted space within the Class Hair Studio hair salon at 282 Columbus Avenue.  Considering henna and curious about picking a design, Saira will show you samples of designs from which to choose or you can bring in a photo.  The art has been practiced for hundreds of years in India and other parts of the world.  Saira says that her family as is typical in India, include henna skin painting as part of spa/beauty preparations for weddings and ceremonial occasions.

Saira did henna painting on her niece for her elaborate Indian-style wedding at a banquet hall in Queens. Dressed in an elaborate sari to attend a wedding, Saira’s arms were subtly painted with henna flower petals.  Other family members also had their hands and forearms painted.  Some were delicate, others flamboyant.

A detail of Saira’s temporary artistry

Henna painting has been used for centuries in many parts of the Middle East, Africa as well as in various parts of India.  Saira said that painting pregnant women’s bellies at baby showers is a North American application of the art.  Also very popular in the Upper West Side is henna painting as part of an adolescent’s birthday party celebrations.  Often accompanied by an adult or two, the group will come in bare armed and go away with henna painting galore!

Saira said her clients are mostly women who particularly like the idea of a henna design slightly revealed when some shirt buttons are left open, or designs that take advantage of bikini-wearing opportunities to highlight flowers, bird’s or a partner’s initials on shoulder, back or calf.

Beautifying skin beyond the realm of henna painting, threading and waxing have to do with hair removal that is relatively long lasting and does not damage the skin.  Threading goes deep to pull out the unwanted hair, a few hairs at a time, from any part of the face. Waxing also is long lasting.  It can be done full body or half body. This can be a momentarily painful beauty regimen but its huge popularity testifies to its efficiency and effectiveness!  

Schedule an appointment with Saira: (929) 421-0981

Saira works out of Class Hair Studio

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