Hennacat Experiments 1 – Simple henna test to compare two henna powders
This article shows you (step by step) how to carry out a simple henna test to demonstrate the difference between two henna powders. The test shows you how to compare stain, and reminds you to take notes about ease of mixing and application etc.
1. Blind trial
If you want to be very scientific about this henna test, ask a friend to label your samples A, B C or 1, 2, 3 and to not tell you which is which. They should keep details of which henna powder relates to which code. At the end of the testing you can work out which hennas you have tested. In research this is called ‘blind’ testing and removes any bias from the test – e.g. unconsciously treating one sample better than another.
2. Adding a control sample of henna
You can use your regular henna brand as a ‘control’. The idea of a control is that you are able to dissociate your henna samples experience from any exterior influences that might impact on the henna stain.
Essentially, this means you would prepare and test your own regular brand of henna at the same time. The benefit of doing this is that it will help you make a judgement about how the other sample hennas stain on you, in comparison with your regular brand that you are more familiar with.
The control will also help overcome issues with ambient temperature, what beauty products you’ve used recently or any other environmental considerations. You’ll be able to compare the henna samples with what is ‘normal for you’ rather than ‘normal for other people’.
If you don’t have your regular henna to hand, that is not a problem at all, don’t worry about it, you can still do this henna test.
3. Use your usual mixing procedure, or this recipe.
This is a recipe for you to follow which works well for these henna powders in the UK / Europe. Feel free to follow your own recipe if you prefer. The key is to ensure that you treat all your powders equally.
4. Recipe (if using)
The procedure for this henna test is simple.
You will need
- 25g of henna powder A
- 25g of henna powder B
- Two glass bowls
- Two spoons
- Lemon juice
- 10ml of cajeput, tea tree or lavender essential oil
- Two pieces of toilet tissue
- Cling film, or saran wrap
- A couple of small ‘weights’ for the dye release test
- Put each henna powder in a separate bowl and mix with enough lemon juice to get to your usual ‘Mashed potato’ consistency. Make sure you either use a separate spoon for each mixing, or clean your spoon thoroughly between mixing. When mixed, cover tightly with the cling film, making sure to press the cling film down on to the surface of the henna.
- Place your piece of tissue paper on top of the cling film and then wrap the bowl again. Place your weight (it doesn’t need to be big or heavy) on top of the second layer of cling film.
- Place the henna somewhere with a reasonably consistent temperature (in my test it was a cupboard at which was 68 F)and leave for 24 hours.
- Check for dye release by unwrapping the first layer of cling film and turning the tissue over. It should be stained with the characteristic orangey henna colour. If it hasn’t released dye yet, leave it a little longer.
- Add your terps, 1 x 5ml of either Lavender, Cajeput or tea tree. Feel free to use your own
- Re-wrap your henna and leave for a further 24 hours.
- Cone up your henna and test it.
5. Different Tests
5.1 Test Dots
You can photographs test dots with the corresponding letter or number code for your henna on some of the following:
- Upper arm
- Lower arm
- Back of hand
Feel free to cover yourself in test dots! Just make sure that each test has either ‘a’ or ‘b’ next to it so you know which henna is which!
5.2. Henna Test pattern
You can do an example of how the henna stains change over time. Take photos of your pattern at the following stages:
- Immediately after application
- When henna paste initially comes off
- 24 hours after application
- 48 hours after application
- 72 hours after application
6. Questions to think about and your conclusions for your henna test
- Could you describe the recipe you used?
- What terps did you use?
- Overall which henna was darker?
- Overall which henna did you prefer?
- Could you describe the colour tones of henna powder A on you? i.e. plum tones, red tones, orange tones, yellow tones, etc.
- Could you describe the colour tones of henna powder B on you? i.e. plum tones, red tones, orange tones, yellow tones, etc.
- Did you like the texture of the henna paste that you got from using these henna powders? If you preferred one to the other, please tell me which one you preferred from a texture point of view.
- Do you think that one or both of these henna powders would suit people who want to dye their hair with henna?
- Would you recommend henna powder A to other henna artists?
- Would you recommend henna powder B to other henna artists?
- Would you recommend henna powder A to beginners?
- Would you recommend henna powder B to beginners?
- Would you be willing to take part in further henna powder tests?
It is a great idea to write up your results for future reference, and to save any photos that you take.
If you would like to test some different henna powders, why not buy some from the hennacat henna shop?