So... what is henna? How long does it stay on? Do you have black henna? or white henna? Wait - I have to leave it on for how long?
Henna is truly a lovely art form and has an amazing history. If you'd like to know more about the history, check out read this. It has really gained popularity (in a mainstream American way) over the last couple of years.
Since I started working with henna, I have gotten so many questions about it! After talking with a couple of friends that also do henna, I realized that most people don't know much about the process... This post is to (hopefully) demystify the process of henna tattoos and answer any questions you might have.
(In this post I won't be going into detail about how to make your own henna or how to apply henna but I can certainly go into those details in another post if people are interested. )
So without further ado, here are the 5 things I think you need to know before you get henna:
1. Henna is applied as a paste and needs to dry and "cure" on the skin. The henna paste is made from crushed plant material from the henna plant. It is usually squeezed on to the skin through a cone or bottle with a small opening. It's best to leave the henna paste on as long as possible but it needs at least a few hours. Overnight is great. Once the henna paste is removed, you have a lovely stain left behind.
2. There is no such thing as white or black henna. These are manipulated products and sometimes contain harmful additives/ingredients. Most henna products you can purchase pre-mixed usually have chemicals, dyes and preservatives to make them last longer. These ingredients can irritate the skin and cause burns and rashes. Real henna is a dark green-black when it's applied as a paste. It leaves behind a stain that's a bright orange color and the color deepens to a brown-burgundy. The color of the end result varies depending on the way it's mixed and your natural skin tone. If you're looking for henna-style designs in different colors but don't necessarily want it to stay on for days, try body paint.
Here's a few images that illustrate the process of henna:
3. Your skin needs to be clean and dry before henna paste is applied. This means no lotion or oil on your skin before you get henna applied. This also means you should keep the area dry while your henna paste is "curing" so no showers, working out, swimming etc. for a few hours after your henna is applied. While your henna paste is drying and "curing", depending on the location, you don't want to go to the gym, play video games, take a shower, etc. Pretty much, you want to relax and stay dry/cool. Water and oil will break down the henna design and make it fade faster so use sparingly after your henna - especially in the first 24-48 hours.
4. Henna will last anywhere from 5-14 days. How long depends on your skin, the henna paste used, and how long it stays on the skin. It also shows up darker on the palms of your hands and the bottoms of your feet.
5. Henna is gorgeous and can be used pretty much anywhere! You can use it on your hair or skin and you can do all kinds of designs with it. There are lots of traditional designs from different cultures. These vary greatly depending on the culture but they are all gorgeous. I love henna on hands, feet, pregnant bellies, backs, and shoulders. It's also pretty cool on a bald head. So go get some henna done! It's awesome and so much fun!
Get in touch with any questions or to schedule a time to get henna!