The word henna is an all encompassing word referring to each phase of henna usage. Henna is the common name of the plant Lawsonia inermis. Henna also refers to the powder made from the dried crushed leaves of the plant, the resulting paste made from the powder, the art designs, the painted paste design on one’s skin, and finally the resulting stain on one’s skin.
The henna plant is indigenous to northern Africa and southern Asia though, predominantly cultivate in Rajasthan, India. Henna has been used by humans for thousands of years medicinally, as a dye of the skin, hair, nails, and in textiles. Henna is typically applied to the skin as a blessing, for luck, and beautification and is typically part of celebrations in many cultures.
I use only 100% natural ingredients in my henna paste recipe including lemon juice, cajuput, clove, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree essential oils. I use only the freshest, high potency henna powder available with organic ingredients when possible.
Note: I do not use “black henna” and warn against its use as it is a toxic substance that can have serious health implications and lead to scarring. “Black henna” is actually hair dye and is not intended for topical use.
Leave paste to dry being careful to not disturb for 15-30 minutes. While paste is drying it can smear and stain anything it comes in contact with.
Apply “lemon-sugar” solution immediately once paste is dried.
Allow paste to dry again undisturbed for approximately 10 minutes.
Leave paste on the skin for 4-12 hours keeping the area warm and dry. Optional wrapping of the area can be done by carefully applying spread cotton balls, tissue, or socks (over hands or feet) to help protect the paste and keep the area warm for optimal results.
Remove paste by gently scraping with your fingernail. Do NOT use water in paste removal, instead use olive or vegetable oil to remove sticky residue.
Keep the area dry for 24 hours, longer if possible and apply olive oil or vegetable oil several times a day to bring out color and prolong stain.
The stain will first appear bright orange; it will soon darken to red then dark brown. The stain will reach its prime approximately 48 hours after paste is applied so plan accordingly. The henna will remain brown until it fades.
The stain will last anywhere from 1-4 weeks depending on your aftercare, the stain location on your body and skin quality. The hands and feet stain the darkest and your stain can even appear black. The farther you move in towards your body and away from your hands and feet the stain is less effective.
Apply a thick waxy coating of lip balm to area to protect before bathing.
When stain removal is desired simply soak in a warm bath and scrub. Repeat if necessary. Swimming in chlorinated water is also very effective in stain removal.