Having henna applied is so exciting, whether it’s to mark a celebration, or just for fun, I love the process!
Henna’s dye molecules are small enough to enter the skin’s surface. Through oxidisation, these molecules turn from a bright orange to a deep brown colour over 48 hours, and stay there until they’re exfoliated away. This process takes about a week or two, depending on how often the area is washed, which is why henna stays on the skin for roughly this amount of time.
So, here are my top tips on how you can get a beautifully rich, deep henna stain:
1. Start fresh
Wash the area for the henna to be applied; removing oils and lotions from the area means there’ll be nothing resisting the dye molecules moving through the skin.
2. Seal and repeat
Once the henna is applied, keep the paste on the skin for as long as possible - up to 12 hours if you can! The henna is active whilst the paste is damp, so once it’s dried, apply a layer of sugar and lemon sealant. This will keep the henna paste damp, and act like a glue, so the henna stays on your skin for longer. I love to sleep with henna on, and when I seal it, it is mostly still there in morning!
3. Stay warm
Fun fact: Henna is a cooling agent. It’s common for the area to feel cold once the henna is applied, so it’s even more important to keep warm, not only for your comfort, but also for the stain to develop. Some customs include standing by a lit stove warming henna’d hands!
4. Keep it dry
When you’re ready, preferably after a good few hours after the henna has been applied and dried, you can remove the henna paste. However, remember to always flake it off, or let it fall off itself - never wash it off… (That’s a massive no-no in the henna world!) This is because water reduces the chances of a dark stain. Revel in the newborn henna stain that is atomic orange!
Once the henna paste is off, moisturise the area to reduce the rate of exfoliation of the skin, especially in the first 48 hours, while the henna stain matures from a beautiful bright orange, to a sumptuous deep mahogany!
Henna stains differently on different areas of the body, as well as on different people. It’s common for it to stain strongest on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; this is because the henna dye has more skin layers to penetrate. The arms and legs also often see a good stain. Other body areas, such as the back and neck, can achieve great effect, but this will depend on your aftercare practices and body temperature.
Don’t forget, The Henna Boutique has its own aftercare kit, so you have everything you need to nurture your henna. It comes with full care instructions, a sugar and lemon sealant and an exclusive aftercare balm, made exclusively for us, with organic coconut oil, shea butter and mandarin! What's not to love!
So there you have it, my tips for a beautiful henna stain… Happy henna’ing!
Henna photo credit: Wallingford Portraits and Weddings