This is the recipe that I used to get the good henna colour shown below in a larger size than elsewhere on the website:
- Dot number 1 (top dot), central spiral and first circle of small petals in the centre of the flower = Hennacat Bohemian Blend Henna (coming soon)
- Dot number 2 (second dot down), and two outer circles of smaller petals in the centre of the flower = Hennacat Organic Rajasthani Henna
- Dot number 3 (third dot down) and outline of the large petals on the outside edge of the flower = Hennacat Yemen Henna
- Dot number 4 (fourth dot down) and line and dot in the middle of the larger petals on the outside edge of the flower = Jamila Henna
- Dot number 5 (bottom dot) and spiky bits on the outside edge of the large petals = Hennacat Super Sojat henna – no longer available
Very important to remember: In order to get good henna colour, you need to begin preparing your henna approximately 48 hours before you intend to use it. If you don’t give henna time to release its dye, or if you leave it languishing for too long, you will not get vibrant long-lasting stains. hours.
In addition to henna which you can buy from my shop this recipe uses things you will usually have in your home and ingredients that you are likely to find in your local supermarket, or a combination of your local grocery and local chemist shop. Please read this recipe carefully before embarking on mixing your henna so that you understand the process, and are able to get a good henna colour for your effort.
20g of henna will make: 2 – 5 cones
For every 20g of henna you will need:
- 100ml bottle of lemon juice, or equivalent in fresh lemon juice (but buy two bottles just in case)
- 6ml or 1 and a quarter tsp of Cajeput essential oil
- Glass bowl, or a cheap plastic bowl you don’t mind getting stained
- Metal spoon or a cheap plastic spoon you don’t mind getting stained
- One half to one tsp of Glucose powder available at chemists or icing sugar
- Cling film (Saran wrap)
- A warmish place
- Additional sugar and lemon juice for lemon sugar seal
- Cotton wool balls
- Cotton gauze
- Micropore tape or elastoplast tape
- Carefully pour about 90% of the henna powder into your bowl.
- Gradually add the lemon juice, gently working it in to the henna. You should end up with a mixture which is similar to a thick mashed potato consistency. You are unlikely to need a whole bottle of lemon juice for just 20g of henna. However different henna needs different amounts of liquid. This is because henna is a natural plant product, similar to wine in that different harvests, from different places, impart slightly different characteristics to the henna.
- Flatten the surface of the henna and then cover the henna tightly with a layer of clingfilm, then cover the bowl tightly with two or three further layers of cling film.
- Leave the bowl somewhere warmish, out of draughts, but not too hot. I usually leave my henna to brew on top of the fridge where it is very gently warm.
- After 12 hours if it is warm, or 24 hours if it is cool, remember where you left your henna, retrieve it, and scrape your spoon once across the surface. You will see that the exposed surface is browner, and the henna underneath is greener. In some henna pastes this difference is very noticeable, in others, it is much less noticeable. Now give it a stir. You should notice that the texture has become smoother.
- Carefully add the 6ml of your essential oil. Stir until it has fully incorporated into the henna mixture. You may require slightly more or less oil according to your preferences.
- Then add half to one teaspoon of glucose powder or icing sugar. And stir until it is fully incorporated into the henna mixture. You will notice the mixture becomes smother and glossy. If you feel your mixture isn’t smooth enough, add another half to one teaspoon of sugar. The sugar helps the mixture stay moist, but if you add too much sugar it will slide about on your skin.
- Adjust the thickness of the mixture by adding in more henna powder or more lemon juice. Here you can add in the henna powder you kept back if you wish. You are aiming for the texture of yoghurt, or in baking terms ‘soft peaks’. The henna mix should not clump to the spoon, nor should it be too runny. ‘Milkshake’ texture is too runny.
- Leave for another 12 hours if it is warm, and 24 hours if it is cool.
- After 12 or 24 hours, scrape the top of the henna again and check that there is a colour difference and then give it a final mix through.
Your henna is now ready to put into cones and use!
Lemon sugar seal – for sealing nearly dry henna paste and keeping it ‘stuck’ to your skin instead of the henna paste flaking off.
- Carefully dissolve 2tp of sugar in 2 table spoons of lemon juice. You can do this either in the microwave for 30 second blasts (use a glass bowl etc) or in a small pan on the hob.
- LEAVE THE SYRUP TO COOL FOR AGES!!!!!! Whatever you do don’t try to put the lemon sugar on straight away, boiling sugar syrup is really hot and will scald you. It is meant to stick to your skin so you will have volcanically hot syrup stuck to your skin if you get it on you.
- When the syrup is cool, dab it on to the nearly dry henna pattern carefully. You don’t want to lift the henna paste off.
Wrapping, to help keep the sealed henna in place
- Un-roll a cotton wool ball (yes I thought they were balls of fluff too, but they are actually rolls) and fluff it up slightly. Press gently onto the henna pattern so it sticks to the henna design.
- If your design is big, cover the whole design with a piece of gauze and tape the edges down – this will prevent the cotton wool from dropping off.
- If your design is small you could tape directly on to the cotton wool.
Once sealed, and wrapped, you should leave the henna in place for at least 12 hours to get the same kind of colour that I did in the images above. I usually aim to leave the henna on overnight when I am sleeping to minimise inconvenience.
After 12 hours, remove the wrapping and gently remove the paste with lemon juice, rinse briefly with water and then watch the stain darken over the next two days. Your henna should reach the peak dark colour at around 48 hours after application.
Videos of the whole process coming soon!
If you have mixed too much henna you can put your paste in the freezer for long term storage or the fridge for short term storage. Make sure you wrap it well in a freezer or fridge proof container. The potent essential oils will add an odour to your food if you don’t wrap it well.
Why not buy some henna and have a go?