Make sure you choose your henna well. It must be:
- Fresh – always check the date if buying off the shelf
- Body Art Quality – referred to as BAQ
- Finely sifted – no dirt, grit or sticks in the powder!
- Pure – must contain no pesticides or chemicals
- Consider colour – while all henna stains a reddish brown, different regions do produce subtle differences
2. Prepare 48 hours in advance
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.
3. Gather your supplies
For every 100g of henna you will need:
- 250ml bottle of lemon juice, or equivalent in fresh lemon juice (but buy two bottles just in case)
- 30ml bottle or 6tsp 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 to two tablespoons of Glucose powder available at chemists or icing sugar
- Cling film (Saran wrap)
4. Cover up The mix can be messy and can stain anything it comes into contact with so make sure you cover all surfaces, yourself and wear gloves. If you do spill some make sure you wipe it off immediately.
5. Follow your recipe carefully
- 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 might not need a whole bottle of lemon juice, you might need more than one bottle. 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. Some henna powders need a lot more lemon juice than others.
- 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 30ml 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 tablespoon full 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 table spoon 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.
If you’d like to place an order or have any questions about henna please get in touch here Hennacat