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»Application of Henna

When applying henna to the skin it is important to follow some important guidelines to get the best colour and to enable the henna to take properly to the skin.

Preparing the skin
How to work with a pre-mix tube
How to work with a cone
Application of lemon and sugar
Once the henna is dry
Henna and different parts of the body
Henna reacts with the heat of your body
Wrapping henna to darken the colour
How long does henna last?
Tips and Pitfalls

Always make sure the skin is oil, lotion free especially in the summer be careful of fake tan and suntan lotion, which will block henna taking to the skin .

If any of the above lotions are on the skin , wash with soap and water.

If the skin is clear of the above oils, through experience I have not found it necessary to wash the skin .

It is not necessary to apply oil to the skin such as Eucalyptus Oil , Clove Oil or Mustard Oil with pre-mix tubes as each tube contains enough oil contained already within each tube .

Each tube of PRIDE henna pre-mix paste contains 1:4 part Eucalyptus oil to the finest henna powder . In addition each tube contains a mixture of tea , coffee , lemon and sugar to darken the henna paste .

All tubes have a one-year shelf life plus, although you may find this is an underestimation. However, once open the henna will day by day lose its strength of colour , so in-between use it is important to keep in the tube refrigerated.

Unscrew the plastic lid of the henna tube . Reverse the lid and pierce the end of the cone with the lid. Screw on the plastic Applicator Nozzle and with a pair of scissors slowly cut away a fine hole for the henna to pass through.

Each tube contains 30grams of the finest henna paste . This is ample henna for over 100 tattoos ranging on size from small to large.

You will need:

2 x pre-mix cones
plastic bag
elastic band

The problem with the henna pre-mix cones is that the outer coating is metal based and sometimes it is difficult to work with. If you are working for hours on end, your hand will feel the build up of pressure and you will feel tired and willing to give up!

The best method for any henna artist is to make your own cones . From experience, the henna powder to paste mixing process is time consuming and often seemingly for unknown reasons the strength of colour per batch can vary greatly. Therefore working with the pre-mix paste but through a cone in my experience is the best option.

You will need 2 x 30gram pre-mix tubes . I work with an imported plastic bag 8andrdquo; x 10andrdquo; which has a very fine seal along the edging of the plastic. The finer the edging of the plastic seal the better. The henna will drop onto the skin without curling around the edge of the plastic. If your plastic bag has a heavier edging then it is advisable to trim this down.

Fold the bag down, so that the henna falls only into one corner only. Try to keep this process clean so that henna paste is not wasted. Leave the henna at the top of the cone where the elastic will be later fastened or your hands will soon be very dirty!

Cut the end of both cones at the reverse end and gently squeeze into one corner only.

Once two tubes have been emptied, gently squeeze all of the henna into one corner and fasten tightly with an elastic band. It is always best to double over the elastic band so that you do not need to repeat the process so many times. Ensure that the cone is stiff on all sides. This will help you to hold the cone much more easily.

As the henna is used within the cone , the cone will become soft. Keep pushing the elastic band down to tightens the cone . Ensure that this process is done over a tissue to avoid henna squirting out and ruining clothes.

Once your cone is finished the steadiest hand is needed to cut the end of the cone . It is important to start with a small cut and work up. If the hole is too small, there may be too much pressure from your hand on the seam and the cone may split down the sides. If you cut the hole too big the henna will come out too thick and you will find intricate designs impossible. The size of the hole is personal preference and I would not say that this is the easiest of processes for a novice. Just keep practising and it will come!

Once you have finished working with your cone , remember to keep it in the fridge!

Many henna artists will apply an after care solution of lemon and sugar to the skin to darken the henna . The lemon will react with the henna and moisten the henna . Only when the henna is wet will it be staining the skin , so by re-moistening the henna you will be effectively darkening the colour . The sugar will simply keep the henna sticking to your skin . The more times the procedure is repeated, the darker the henna .

Once the henna is dry
The drying process for henna takes approximately 20-40 minutes, depending on environment and thickness of paste applied to the skin . In the sunlight and in a warm room, the henna will dry relatively fast, approximately 20 minutes. However, if the environment is damp, for example when standing in undercover but it is raining or the henna is applied too thickly to the skin , the process can take up to 40 minutes and sometimes even longer.

I have overheard many a time the comment andquot;I donandrsquo;t want henna on my hands as it will fade quickerandquot;. In response I would normally say that yes, you will wash your hands more often but henna reacts with the temperature of the body and your hands are feet are the hottest part of the body and will hence darken more than other parts of the body . It is true however that your hands are washed more frequently than other parts of the body , so we as a team of artists at public shows explain this and customers therefore normally opt for the tops of the hands rather than the traditional palms.

Henna is a really unusual plant . It reacts with the temperature of your skin , so is not instantly dark brown as some customers assume. Once the henna is dry and begins to flake off, the skin is initially stained an orange colour. This is normal and you should not panic. The brand we sell gives the skin within minutes a bright orange stain, which darkens through the course of the day. Only when you go to sleep does your body temperature rise and your skin sweat, so this is when the henna is changing colour to dark brown. We think itandrsquo;s like the tooth fairy, some things are best waiting for!

We also advise people that going clubbing after a tattoo or other forms of vigorous exercise is beneficial to the tattoo as your skin will sweat and moisten the dry henna and hence re-stain the design .

If you have spent ages on a henna design and you want your tattoo to turn even darker in colour the best method for this is to wrap the skin . By wrapping the skin with a top layer and a layer of air in-between, your skin will stay warm and even sweat. This is very similar to people who have been unfortunate to break an arm or leg and know that hot sweaty feeling under the plaster! The easiest method we find is to carefully wrap the dry henna design with toilet paper before wrapping a second layer of cling film over the top. If you can bare the uncomfortable feeling, then this method is well worth it.

Another method that henna artists talk about is andquot;new skin andamp;qout;. This is a product readily bought at chemists and is used for first aid care. It is a bit more expensive than the handy kitchen tools mentioned above, but well worth the try once you are hooked on henna .

Now as mentioned before, henna reacts with the temperature of your skin , where the tattoo is and how seriously you take aftercare.

  • If you have a very warm skin , the tattoo will develop faster and be darker.
  • If you are in a warm climate your pores will open and the skin will sweat.
  • If your hands and feet are decorated the colour will come up darker.
  • If you look after your tattoo you can keep your design for days longer.
  • If your skin is oily or less smooth the henna will take better.

Whenever henna is applied to the skin , it is important not to wash that particular part of the body until after sleeping, 24 hours if possible.

Iandrsquo;ve often heard people with darker skins say that the henna will not take to their skin and will not show. Sometimes I have customers who compare their colour to their friendandrsquo;s and return the next day to ask me. Everyone is different; everyone has a different skin type and ethnicity. Isnandrsquo;t it good to know that we are not all the same!

If you donandrsquo;t like your design wash often and use an exfoliating cream with a flannel or even spraying perfume to the unliked spot will help to lift the dead layers of skin to reveal new layers beneath.

When applying your henna tattoo , please read some obvious but helpful lines:
  • Caffeine can really stimulate your hand to shake so avoid too many coffees or Coca Colas or other stimulant drinks first.
  • Always sit in a comfortable position so you donandrsquo;t need to keep re-arranging yourself.
  • Always pass the word that henna is a plant and will only give a red to brown stain, which will last from 5-10 days approximately. Henna is never black .
  • Try not to get henna on your clothes, as it is a very strong dye and can ruin clothes. If you have a little accident wash off immediately with soap and water.
  • Never wash the dry henna off your skin . Let the dry henna flake off naturally.
  • When swimming, taking baths or showers apply Vaseline or an alternative oil-based lotion (water-resistant suntan oil is pretty good) to the tattoo , to avoid water contact. This will prevent exfoliation and enable the tattoo to last longer.
  • Test the lemon and sugar mixture mentioned below.
  • Test the wrapping method mentioned below.
  • Experiment on friends and family members.
  • Never let soap or water touch the fresh henna tattoo until after sleeping.
  • When you go to sleep your body temperature rises and the skin sweats, this is when the henna is taking effect.

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