No nonsense ultra reliable simple henna recipe for mixing 20g of henna powder
Very important to remember: For optimum results 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. If the ambient temperature is warm (i.e. middle of summer in the UK), you will need around 24 hours, if it is cool you will need around 48 hours.
(note for henna experts and aspiring experts: I use this recipe for the Jamila 2011 2.6% dye content batch and I leave for the maximum lengths of time mentioned regardless of the season).
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.
20g of henna will make: 3 – 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 bottle or 1 and a quarter tsp of lavender or tea tree 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
- 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 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!
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?