Henna Care & Preparation
Preparing for your Appointment
Henna stains best on clean, dry skin. If possible, avoid applying any lotions or oils to the area you would like to have henna. Henna works by staining the top layers of dead skin cells. For larger designs, we recommend gently exfoliating the area 1-2 days before application. For bridal and other event henna we suggest having your manicure before your henna.
• Leave the Paste on the skin for 6-10 hours or overnight.
• To remove the paste, gently scrape off (a credit card or blunt edge of a butter knife works well) Do NOT wash your henna!
• Immediately apply a natural vegetable oil - olive, coconut, and jojoba oils are just a few that work well.
• Henna Stain will be a bright orange at first and will darken over 24-48 hours to a deep burgundy color! (see photo)
• Avoid water for 24 hours! Henna does not like water!
• Apply vegetable oil, shea butter, or natural vaseline to your design every day before showering. For a dark and long-lasting stain avoid swimming, soaking, and dishwashing!
• Well cared for henna designs will last 1-3 weeks!
(a very brief) Henna History (overview)
Henna, Heena, Mehndi, Mehandi, are just a few of the names used for both the ephemeral body art, which involves staining the skin with a rich burnt orange dye, and the bushy plant where the dye comes from. Lawsonia Inermis, the henna plant, grows in the hot, arid zones across north and east Africa, the Middle East and south Asia. The people of these regions have utilized the plant for its medicinal, sacred and decorative properties for thousands of years. There are mentions of henna use in the Hindu Vedic texts, divined by humans over 3,500 years ago, and findings of henna on Egyptian mummies over 5,000 years old. There are rich historical and modern traditions of using henna for adornment and blessing in Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish religions.
Today’s henna designs involve intricate patterns, most commonly covering the hands and feet. These designs have only become possible with the advent of the henna cone in the 1980s. Prior to this time, henna designs were applied with hands, sticks, twigs, matchsticks, and by smearing the paste over leaves, coins, string or other items to create a resist method design.
Through globalization, and now with the proliferation of the internet and social media, henna artists around the world are able to share their work and inspire each other to push the intricacy and sophistication of the art form further. They are merging design motifs from different cultures and even from different art forms such as architecture and textiles to create a never ending possibility of beautiful body adornment. It is with enthusiasm and deep gratitude that we continue to share in, learn from, and inspire each other's traditions and art forms.
Want to learn more about the rich and amazing art of henna? Follow World of Henna - the first feature length documentary film about the use & cultivation of henna in India. You can also read more extensively on The Henna Page - a resource devoted to the history, traditions, techniques, science and art of Henna.