Preparing for your henna appointment
To ensure you get the darkest, longest-lasting stain possible:
- Exfoliate up until 1-2 days before your henna. Henna works by dyeing the top few layers of your skin, and it seems to stain best when there is just a couple of days of skin buildup.
- Depending on where you plan to have your design applied, it may be helpful to remove any hair on the area before your appointment. This helps the henna paste to achieve full contact with your skin and ensure an even stain.
- If you are having your palms or feet done, you may need to plan for someone else to be your driver for the day.
- On the day of your appointment, keep your skin clean and oil/lotion-free. Oils and lotions will interfere with the henna stain.
- Schedule spray tans for after your henna is applied (ideally, at least 24 hours later).
The first 24 hours:
Para mejores resultados,
- Mantenga la pasta sobre la piel durante 4-6 horas, después raspe suavemente para retirarla
- Evite el agua durante 24 horas
- La Henna se oscurece durante los próximos dos días y tiene una duración de 7 a 10 días
- Leave the henna paste on for at least 6 hours, and no more than 12. It's traditional to leave it on overnight (if the design is done in the evening), and this gives great results! The longer the paste is on your skin, the deeper the stain.
- Heat helps intensify the stain, so keep your skin warm while the paste is on and through the first 24 hours. In the cooler months I like to cover the design with tissue and then place a heating pad over it for a few minutes at a time. A space heater works well too, but try to avoid drying out the henna too much. Small doses work great. Note: Avoid perspiration on the area of the henna design while the paste is still on, because the henna may become runny and ruin your design. That means you shouldn't wrap your design in anything that isn't breathable (such as plastic wrap).
- When you're ready to remove the paste, scrape it off with your fingernails or a credit card. Do not use water to wash it off! Use a little olive oil or lemon juice to remove any stubborn pieces.
- Avoid contact with water for 12-24 hours - delaying exposure to water will help maximize the darkness and longevity of your henna stain!
- The color will initially be orange (may even be nearly invisible on darker skin tones); and matures to a rich, dark red-brown over about 48 hours. Here is a good example of the process.
- In addition to fresh, high-quality henna and proper aftercare, body chemistry plays a part in the intensity of your stain. If you tend to "run warm" or if your skin is more alkaline, you'll usually get a better stain. Some medications, such as birth control pills, can actually inhibit the stain. Additionally, certain parts of the body will stain better than others. The thicker skin of hands and feet will produce the strongest color, whereas the back of the neck and face tend to stain very lightly and fade more quickly.
A well-cared for design will last about 2 weeks. One week of strong color, and another week of fading. Ultimately, it depends on how quickly your skin exfoliates. These tips will help to prolong the stain.
- Avoid scrubbing - instead, wash gently and pat dry.
- Avoid petroleum-based products, such as Vaseline, baby oil, sunscreens.
- Avoid pools, hot tubs and Jacuzzis (chlorine and other chemicals can speed the demise of your stain)
- Frequent showering, bathing and swimming will all cause the henna to fade more quickly.
- Avoid overexposure to soaps and use natural products as much as possible, such as castile soap. These are gentler and less-exfoliating than other products. When using cleaning supplies, use gloves (though the friction of the gloves can also cause some stain demise - it's better to avoid cleaning if possible :) )
- Protect the design with a natural oil such as olive or coconut oil each day, as well as prior to bathing.