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Friday, July 30, 2010

How to Apply Henna

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How to Apply Henna

The duration of the stain and the depth of color depend on the area of body chosen and length of time the paste remains on your skin. Henna will produce the best stains on hands and feet, wrists and ankles, while designs on upper arms, chest and back will last the shortest amount of time. Mehndi generally lasts 7 to 10 days.

Scrub skin with soap and warm water to exfoliate then rub area with alcohol to remove any lotion or natural body oils.
If the skin has any sunscreen or lotions on it the henna won't soak in evenly.
You may want to practice drawing some simple shapes and patterns on a paper towel before you move to the skin.
The henna begins to stain immediately so if you make a mistake wipe it off right away. If you are uncomfortable applying henna freehand, draw a design on your skin using a waterbased marker or pen then trace over it with henna. This will help you to apply the henna more quickly and with fewer mistakes.

Slowly apply even lines of paste by gently squeezing the applicator bottle or mylar cone. Rest the weight of your hand on your little finger to help maintain a steady line. Your line of henna should be smooth and have a consistent width for the most attractive results. The applicator tip should not touch the skin but should be held just above the skin so the line of paste lays down in a nice round line like a rope.

Fresh henna paste is only good for a few days once mixed, however, if you freeze the paste it can last for several months. Wrap the left over henna paste tightly and keep in the freezer until you are ready to use it on another day. Just pull it out of the freezer and let it defrost for an hour at room temperature, you are now ready for another application.
Please remember that only natural red-brown henna is safe for your skin. Black henna may have chemicals added that can blister and scar the skin as well as cause long term damage to your body.


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Tape or Seal Henna Paste

20-30 minutes after the paste is applied the henna will lose its shine and be dry to the touch. Treat the area gently as the paste is fragile and has a tendency to flake off.
You have several options of how to treat the henna as it dries; bandage with medical tape, wrap with tissue and a layer of plastic wrap, or apply a coat of lemon and sugar to seal the paste to the skin.

Tape Henna paste after the design is applied for PERFECT STAINS

The wraps keep the area warm and creates slight perspiration on the skin to re-moisten the paste. Remember to keep the body warm by sitting near a fire or holding a heating pad to the area, heat makes a better stain.
  • Sealing with Medical Paper Tape Use medical tape on firm areas such as hands, feet, legs, wrists, and ankleS
This is the absolute best way to protect your design and keep small details in place perfectly while the dye soaks in over the next 6-8 hours. You must use medical paper tape as it is porous and allows air to circulate to the the paste allowing for the best results. This type of tape is hypo-allergenic and has a low tack so there is no pain when removing the wraps later.
tape henna paste
When the henna paste is dry to the touch and has lost its shine, carefully wrap the area with overlapping strips of medical tape in 2-3 inch pieces.
Press the tape directly over the henna paste. As long as the paste has had a chance to dry there is no risk of smearing or smudging your design. The tape will hold the henna precisely in place and prevent staining of carpet, bedding and clothing.
The tape holds every bit of paste precisely in place and is very sturdy, you can even put shoes or clothing on over the tape and go about your day without smearing or ruining the design. Remove after 6-12 hours, or overnight.
seal henna pasteIf desired, slide a sock or nylon over the tape to hold everything together and prevent the edges from peeling back or getting caught on clothing or bedding.
henna and tapeAfter 6-8 hours remove the tape. Most of the paste will come off with the tape. Any remaining bits of paste may be removed by rubbing a bit of lemon juice or vegetable oil on the area. Avoid water for the first 24 hours for the best stain possible.

    Lemon and Sugar Sealant is perfect for bendy or soft parts of the body such as stomachs, backs, shoulders, and upper arms.

    To prevent the paste from drying out and flaking off too early , mix 1 teaspoon sugar with 3 teaspoons lemon juice. Gently dab a bit of this solution on the design once or twice using a q-tip or cotton ball. This lemon sugar mixture will create a protective 'glue' between your skin and the henna. Be careful not to over saturate the paste as designs can run and bleed together. Apply juice 2-3 times. Flake off after 6-12 hours, or overnight.
  • Tissue and Plastic Wrap for hands, wrists, arms, feet, and legs

  • Carefully wrap the dry paste with a piece of tissue and secure it firmly with a piece of tape. Wrap the tissue with one layer of plastic wrap or slide a sock on over the tissue to hold everything together. Remove after 6-12 hours, or overnight
Leave the paste on your skin for as long as possible. We recommend 6-12 hours. The longer the henna paste is in contact with your body the more dye is able to saturate into the skin resulting in a deeper and longer lasting color.

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Steam Henna for Extra Deep Color

For those dye-hards that want an extra dark stain, just before you are ready to remove the paste and wraps hold the area over steam for 10 minutes. A pot of boiling water or tea kettle works well. The extra heat and steam help to deepen the stain color. 

Remove the Paste After 6-12 Hours

After the paste has been on your skin for 6 - 12 hours it is ready to be removed. Peel off any tape or wrappings and scrape off the paste. Using a paper towel and vegetable oil (corn, olive, canola) or lemon juice, gently rub off the dried henna paste if it is sticking to the skin.
Do not use water to remove the paste, it can ruin the stain.

To remove any last bits of tape residue use a little finger nail polish remover.

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AFTERCARE of Henna Stains
How to Maintain Your New Henna / Mehndi

Once you have unwrapped and removed the dry henna paste you will see an orange-yellow stain left on your skin. The stain will deepen into a richer reddish-brown tone over the next 48 hours.
The final color will depend your skin and body chemistry with darker colors appearing on the hands and feet. You should try to avoid contact with water as much as possible during the first 24 hours after paste removal as water can interrupt the oxidization and darkening processes of your henna stain.
These simple steps will protect your design and help it to look its best:

  • It is best to avoid water for the first day. If you need to wash the paste off your skin try using a bit of lemon juice or olive/corn oil to remove any residue instead of water for best results.
  • Rub your henna/mehndi with natural vegetable oil before bathing or swimming to protect it from water. Corn, canola, or olive oil all work well. Avoid using any petroleum products such as baby oil or Vaseline as they will contribute to the demise of your stain.
  • Avoid excess rubbing of the area. Keep in mind that frequent washing, soaps, petroleum products (sunscreen, Vaseline, baby oil) and the rubbing of clothing and shoes on the design will cause your henna design to fade more quickly.
  • Avoid shaving over your henna/mehndi stain. Shaving removes layers of skin so you may want to shave around your mehndi or henna stain to keep it looking its best.

How to Remove the Henna Stain

Henna stains last on average 7-10 days, gradually fading comletely away. Some areas with thick or calloused skin may show portions of the stain for up to 2-6 weeks. There is no way to completely remove a fresh henna stain, but you can speed up the demise.
The henna dye molecule soaks into and stains the top layers of your skin cells. Everyday new skin cells move to the surface replacing older cells including those that are stained with your henna design. Unfortunately, you must wait for your bodies natural processes and normal wear and tear on your design for it to fade completely.
There are things you can do to speed along the demise of a henna stain:
  • soaking in the shower, bath, pool or jacuzzi
  • scrubbing or exfoliating the skin.
  • chlorine can help to remove the stain as well so a dip in the pool may speed up the fading process
  • whitening tooth paste scrubbed over the stain may help as well
Some chemical agents may remove some of the stain as well. These include hair straightener, contact solution, or a weak solution of bleach and water. These are very harsh on your skin and NOT RECOMMENDED as removal methods


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What Color is Henna

When you first remove the henna paste the stain will be an orange-yellow color. Watch your new mehndi change from yellow-orange to a deeper reddish-brown (depending on your skin) over the next 48 hours. The dye will oxidize and mature over 2 days, becoming darker and richer in color. You should avoid contact with water as much as possible for the first 24 hours. The henna dye molecule is hydrophobic and won't deepen fully if exposed to water.

Natural henna will always leave a stain in the range of orange/red/brown, however, the exact shade can vary. Darkness varies with each person's body chemistry, the area of body chosen, and the length of time the paste remained in contact with the skin.
Natural henna will never dye your skin purple, pink, blue, or black. Any henna that dyes your skin a color other than reddish-brown has chemicals added that are not clearly healthy or safe. Black henna may have chemicals added that can blister and scar the skin as well as cause long term damage to your body. Please use only safe and natural brown henna.

The longer the paste is in contact with your skin, the darker the color and the longer lasting it will be. It will last the longest, 1-3 weeks, on thicker, dry skin such as hands and feet, and will fade more quickly, 3-10 days, on thinner skinned areas such as arms, chest, and back. As your skin exfoliates and regenerates your mehndi will completely disappear.

To obtain the best possible stain apply the paste to hands and feet, keep the area very warm, and leave the paste on at least 6 hours.

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Where does henna stain best?

These five photos were all taken of the same person to ensure accurate and consistent results. The henna paste was made using Jamila henna, lemon juice, and sugar with essential oils added to darken the color. The paste was left on the skin for 4 hours during a warm afternoon. The henna paste was removed and matured or darkened for 48 hours then photos were taken.
henna on feet stain dark
FEET
The top of the feet produce very rich and even stains that will look perfect for 10 days then begin to fade. The edges of the feet produce very dark, nearly black stains on occasion, that can take up to 3 to 6 weeks to fade entirely.





henna on ankles stains well

ANKLES
The ankles are a popular choice for bands or little flowers and produce nice even stains. Not as dark as the feet or hands, it still results in a lovely deep shade and long lasting stain.
henna on hands
HANDS
Henna applied to the tops of the hands always gives wonderful dark results lasting 9-10 days and then fading away. Stains on the fingers and knuckles will be 1-2 shades darker than the center and last a bit longer. Moving up to the wrist and lower arm stains become distinctly lighter and fade more quickly. Don't forget about the palms, incredibly dark colors.
henna on arms
ARMS
Henna applied to the upper arm remains fairly light, roughly half as dark as hands and feet. Arms never achieve a rich dark color and they fade more rapidly, maybe 7 days.
henna on back stains poorly
BACK
The lower back and shoulder or chest result in rather wimpy color. The designs will fade very quickly, 5-6 days. The skin in these areas is too thin to absorb much dye. To make matters worse, these areas are also rather oily wich can cause the stain to fade out in a hurry.
Natural henna will always leave a stain in the range of orange/red/brown, however, the exact shade can vary. Darkness varies with each person's body chemistry, the area of body chosen, and the length of time the paste remained in contact with the skin.

The longer the paste is in contact with the skin, the darker the color and the longer lasting it will be.
 It will last the longest, 1-3 weeks, on thicker, dry skin such as hands and feet, and will fade more quickly, 3-7 days, on thinner skinned areas such as arms, chest, and back. As the skin exfoliates and regenerates mehndi will completely disappear.

Natural henna will never dye skin purple, pink, blue, or black. Black henna may have chemicals added that can blister and scar the skin as well as cause long term damage to your body. Any henna that dyes skin a color other than reddish-brown has chemicals added that are not clearly healthy or safe. Please use only safe and natural brown henna.