Video coming soon!
Through my life as a dancer, I noticed something a little odd…
The sheer amount of dancers who have no idea about how to care for and wear bindis.
I’m not talking about the peel and stick sort you purchase at your local Indian grocery store, I’m talking about the large hand crafted works of art savoy crafters make. I suppose the same can apply to the small peel and stick ones as well, however they don’t have the same thickness and fall apart quickly. They’re so inexpensive they’re more of a one time shot sort of thing, but when you’re dishing out ten plus dollars for ONE bindi, well you need to know how to make the most of your money!
The idea for this came to me while I was cleaning and organizing for my big move in May. I realized I had very much neglected my poor collection of bindis and they were in need of some serious TLC. So here we go…Bindi Ownership 101.
1. I want to own a hand crafted bindi. What do I look for?
So you want to own an awesome hand crafted work of art for your forehead? Good for you! Sucking it up and making the investment is a big choice, sometimes it’s hard to suck it up and pay 10-20 dollars for something that sticks between your eye brows.
When purchasing your bindi(s), you need to be sure that it’s going to fit your forehead. If you’re purchasing a large statement piece, you’re going to want to look for a “hinge” as I call it. What I mean by this, is a break in the design usually at the top or bottom that will allow the bindi to bend to the shape of your forehead. This is important, because you want the bindi to lay flat, as opposed to sticking up like an antenna. Shopping on etsy can be a bit tricky when it comes to this. If you really want a huge bindi, look for one that comes in individual parts until you are familiar with how things lay against the slope of your forehead.
To get the most out of your money for your first purchase, think about buying a neutral color or a solid metal piece. Yes, that bright pink sparkly stone one is quite amazing and you can’t stop looking at it…but how many bright pink costumes do you own? Pick out something that’s going to match your current wardrobe, and then build from there. (Although, I’m guilty of building a costume around a bindi.)
2. I’ve purchased my bindi. Now what?
Now you’re going to need something to stick it to your face with.
You have two options for this. 1- Spirit Gum. 2- Eyelash Glue.
I’ll touch on Lash Glue first… I don’t like it. I know a few dancers who swear by it for one reason or another. “It holds better.” “I’m allergic to spirit gum.” “I couldn’t find spirit gum.” I sometimes tend to think the first reason is a cover up for the last. I personally can’t stand Lash Glue for holding anything to my face. It doesn’t hold up well in humidity, and any oil on your skin is going to cause the bindi to plop right off. Even if you’ve cleaned your skin pre-application you’re still going to be making oils through the day, and your bindi is going to fall off. If this is your only option because of allergies, you need to be sure you let the glue dry until it’s -very- tacky. Put a smear on your skin, then on the bindi and wait until both are tacky and stick them together. This will give you the best shot.
Now, Spirit Gum. Yes, it can be a bit tricky to locate offline if you don’t know where to look for it. It’s inexpensive, running from 1-6 dollars for a small bottle. You can find it at any costume store year round, it’s with the make-up or latex FX parts. One bottle will last your over a year. Many bindi vendors also sell spirit gum.
Be sure to do a test patch on your skin to be sure you’re not allergic. It’s not likely you will be, but as I stated above, some people are. I do know a few dancers with very sensitive skin, and they don’t have an issue using Spirit Gum. Even if you don’t have a skin sensitivity, you could still have a nasal sensitivity. For example, my skin takes it fine, but depending on the quality of the gum I can get a headache after wearing a bindi for hours. It’s not bad enough to force me to use Lash Glue.
To use the spirit gum, you’ll need to coat the back of the bindi and set it to dry. While it’s drying, wipe clean the patch of skin on your forehead. You need to apply this to bare skin, no make up and no primer. Once the spirit gum is tacky, press the bindi to your skin, hold for ten seconds, and you should be good to go. Sometimes heavier bindis can take a bit more hold time. For very heavy bindis, you’ll need to apply some spirit gum directly to your skin as well as the back of the bindi (spirit gum bottles usually frown on this). Tap your finger on your skin until it becomes tacky, then stick bindi to skin. Hold for 10 seconds and carefully let go. I have seen some bindis so heavy the dancer needed to lay back while the spirit gum completely dried.
The best time to buy spirit gum is the day after Halloween. Shockingly enough, the bottles bought at Wal-Mart are high quality and don’t let me down! I found prices there as low as 10 cents a bottle post Halloween.
You’ll want to look for a liquid that has the texture of a quality maple syrup. If it’s too runny or too thick it’s not going to work well. It should be an amber to pale gold in color and semi-transparent.
To remove, just peel your bindi off. If in the event it doesn’t easily peel off, pour a rubbing alcohol or an astringent based makeup remover between the bindi and your skin to loosen the adhesive I’ve only ever seen this happen once, and I stand by the fact the person the bindi was stuck to was just being a baby.
Rub the area where the bindi was with your finger tips to ball up the gum, and then clean your skin as you normally would.
3. Can I reuse this?
The beauty of buying hand made bindis is you can easily reuse them as long as you take good care of them! Cleaning and storage is easy.
4. Bindi Cleaning
Cleaning your bindi(s) is very simple and easy. All you need is a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a couple Q-tips/Cotton Swabs.
Simply saturate the swab with rubbing alcohol and start swabbing the gunk off the back of your bindi.
For super gunked up bindis, you can saturate the back of the bindi with the rubbing alcohol and let it set for a few minutes. I’ve even gone as far as setting one face down in a small pool of rubbing alcohol.
You don’t have to clean your bindi after every use, but it is advised to prevent adhesive build up. If you’re like me and have people bumming bindis off you for loaners, you want to lend out a clean bindi, not one with your skin cells stuck to it…although this might have been a key to making people remember their own bindi and stop asking me for mine. Haha!
After you’ve de-gunked the back of your bindi, just let it air dry.
I’ve tried cleaning bindis with other things…Dish soap, Make-Up Remover, Make-Up Brush Cleaner…Nothing works as well as rubbing alcohol.
5. Bindi Storage
If you’ve only a few bindis, storage is quite simple. Many dancers use old mint containers, which I think is an amazing option. You can even glue a small mirror on the inside of the lid.
Now of you’re like me, and just can’t contain your bindi addiction, you’ll need something a little more hard core. What I’ve found that works really amazingly is bead containers found at craft store, the sort that have rows of “tic-tac” boxes lined up inside. One bindi per box all neatly held in the larger box. It keeps your bindis safe and sound. The best part, is these come in multiple sizes!
Some dancers opt to have a decorated box that sits out on their make-up station. I have both a simple plastic box for my medium bindis, and then a decorated box for my small and large ones that wont fit into a tic-tac box.
6. Things you don’t think about.
-Don’t waste money on spirit gum remover. EVER. A bottle of “Spirit Gum Remover” is just rubbing alcohol. You’ll pay twice as much for something in a teeny tiny little container.
-Emergency Bindi Storage. I find my wallet is the best place for a way-ward bindi. Sometimes you just don’t want to wear it anymore, or despite your best efforts, it falls off, stick it in your wallet so you don’t lose it. In a pinch, sticking it to your boob under your bra will work as well. Avoid the nipple area. The warmth of your body will heat the glue back up, and the bra will hold it in place so it won’t go slipping around or falling out.
-For easier removal, remove any wayward brow hairs you may have. Knock out that uni-brow or risk having all those hair ripped out when you pull your bindi off!
My go to shop for hand made Bindis has always been Big Ass Bindis. She started her company long before anyone else in our area was making bindis. http://www.etsy.com/shop/BigAssBindis