What is Henna?
Henna is a shrub which grows in Africa and western and southern Asia.
The leaves are harvested and ground into a powder and then mixed with lemon juice or water, sugar and essential oils to make a paste.
The paste is then put into a cellophane cone and piped out onto the top of the skin in henna designs.
Safety for more information on Henna Planet's ingredients and the safety of natural henna.
What can I expect during my Henna Application?
First wash off any lotions, creams, or oils.
The paste is squeezed out of a henna cone onto the top of the skin.
Most people find henna a relaxing and cooling experience.
Be careful while the henna is wet, it smears easily.
Henna paste takes approximately 20 - 30 minutes to dry. You may need assistance during this time because wet henna makes doing everyday tasks difficult. Be patient while the henna dries so you don't accidently smudge it.
A hair dryer set to cool can help speed up the drying.
Henna paste is dry when it is no longer shiny and is starting to crack and crumble off.
Once it is dry, leave the paste on for 6 - 8 hours, this will give you the darkest, longest lasting henna stain.
Try sealing and wrapping in order to help prevent the henna paste from cracking and coming off for the 6 - 8 hours you have it on.
Why is it a good idea to seal and/or wrap my henna design?
For the darkest longest lasting henna stain, the paste needs to remain on the skin for 6 - 8 hours. However, henna paste tends to crack and crumble off once it is dry. So to prevent this from happening it is best to seal and/or wrap the henna design.
You can seal the henna paste to your skin by mixing up lemon and sugar:
RECIPE: 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1 tsp of sugar. Gently stir the mixture over heat until the sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to cool prior to use.
Dip a cotton ball in the mixtue, squeeze out the excess and dab over the DRY henna. Apply every hour or when you notice cracking and peeling.
OR apply stretchable medical tape. This is best for areas that do not bend plus it allows you to put loose fitting clothing over top.
OR wrap with somthing breathable like a tensor bandage, sock, or old scarf.
Taping/wrapping helps prevent crumbs from getting in the bed if you are keeping it on over night.
How do I get as dark a stain as possible?
1. Keep the henna paste on for 6 - 8 hours.
2. Seal and/or wrap the henna paste.
3. Stay warm and/or apply heat.
Try these tips for using heat to darken your stain.
a) stay as warm as possible by sitting in front of a fire, or out in the sun.
b) bundle up and drink hot liquids.
c) apply heat directly with a heating pad, hair dryer, or steam. Be careful not to scald yourself.
Any source of heat will do.
How do I remove the paste and take care of the stain?
After the 8 hours, remove the paste by picking or scraping it off with paper towel, the flat side of a knife or an old credit card.
The initial light orange stain will darken over the next 2 - 3 days.
Water will inhibit this colour changing process. Do not wash the paste off with water and try not to get the stain wet for 2 - 3 days.
To protect the stain from water, you can apply shea butter, or natural oils such as olive, vegetable and coconut.
Avoid lotions with alcohol and petroleum.
Your henna stain should last 7 - 10 days if you follow all of the instructions above.
Does Henna come in different colours?
Natural henna only comes in one colour: Brownish/Red
Natual henna will stain the body in the following way:
Thick skin = Dark stain ~ hands and feet get fairly dark, especially the palms and soles of feet.
Thin skin = Light stain ~ shoulders, upper arms and backs stain lighter, as do bellies and heads.
Black Henna is a toxic chemical (PPD) that can cause chemical burns on the skin, and the research shows that it can lead to organ damage and even cancer.
For safety it is best to use henna paste that is hand made by a henna artist rather than pre-made packaged cones which are full of chemicals such as PPD, kerosene, lighter fluid etc.
Safety for more information on natural vs chemical henna.
White Henna is very popular these days, and unlike natuaral henna, is an adhesive not a stain. Be sure to use FDA approved white henna products which are safe for use on skin.