Practiced for over 9,000 years, henna has become an international staple of fashion as well as a symbolism of celebration. With its beautiful and intricate details, it can be applied almost anywhere on your body. You can also let your creativity take hold and come up with your own henna designs by learning the process! Seem hard? Don’t worry, here are a few of the basics to get you started.
What You’ll Need
(Can produce up to 75 small patterns)
Fresh Henna Powder, ¼ cup or 20 grams – You can get this online here or at your local Indian or Middle Eastern grocery store.
Lemon Juice, ¼ cup – Can be found at H.E.B., Walmart or basically almost all grocery stores and even some Walgreens!
Essential Oils, 1½ teaspoons – These oils help your henna darken on your skin. You can choose from Lavender, Geranium and Cypress. Other oils that somewhat darken henna are Neroli, Pine, Juniper, Thyme, Rosemary and Majoram.
Clear Bowl, Plastic Spoon and Plastic Wrap – For mixing and storing the henna paste.
Henna Cones – Will help you apply the henna paste and, with a steady hand, will produce your very own designs.
In the Mix
- Henna reacts to an acid, which brings out the dye we use for beautiful designs. Use your bowl to pour the henna powder and ¼ of the lemon juice. With the spoon, stir the paste into a consistency with no powder or lumps remaining. It should appear similar to mashed potatoes.
- Next, add 1½ teaspoons of your choice of essential oils. This will assist in bringing out the deepest dye possible out of your henna powder. Continue stirring until that mashed potato-like consistency is smooth and silky.
- After you have the consistency right, cover the paste with plastic wrap. Make sure to get all the air pockets out.
- Let the paste sit like goldilocks. Somewhere not too hot, yet not too cold. The temperature should be around 75° to 85° Fahrenheit. The dye should be ready in about eight to 24 hours.
- We specified a clear bowl because it’s much easier to see if the dye has been released when the top of the bowl is much darker than the bottom. When it is released, check its consistency. If it’s too thick, it will be hard to squeeze the paste out of the cone. If it’s too runny, the designs will bleed. Add more lemon juice to adjust the consistency to a smooth and creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt.
- Put your paste in your henna cone and let your designs roam free!
Some people have a preference of letting the paste naturally flake off. Others will seal the dried paste to create heat for a better stain. It’s recommended leaving on the paste for six or more hours. The longer henna paste is in contact with your skin, the more the dye will soak in, resulting in a better and longer-lasting color. Your great design will last 10 days to two weeks! To completely remove the henna, use olive oil. Soak a cotton ball and rub it on the tattoo, allowing oil to penetrate into the skin for at least 10 minutes.
Dye-ing to Try It
Now if you still want to stretch your creative juices but are a little on the master disaster chef side, don’t worry! There are some great ready-made kits available, so all you have to do is decide where you want to fabulously decorate. No commitment and pain free? Yes, we’re already ordering our henna powder at the office. Shh, don’t tell our boss! Once you get the hang of it and start seeing those great designs flow freely, you’ll never want to stop!