Body painting with a grey or white paint made from natural pigments including clay, chalk, ash and cattle dung is traditional in many tribal cultures. Often worn during cultural ceremonies, it is believed to assist with the moderation of body heat and the use of striped patterns may reduce the incidence of biting insects. It still survives in this ancient form among Indigenous Australians and in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as in New Zealand and the Pacific islands. A semi-permanent form of body painting known as Mehndi, using dyes made of henna leaves (hence also known rather erroneously as "henna tattoo"), is practiced in India, especially on brides. Since the late 1990s, Mehndi has become popular amongst young women in the Western world.
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