Get a good dark henna stain by following these henna best practices. Understanding the science or the “why” behind henna and henna rules will lead to dark henna color and spectacular henna stains!
The henna mix that was used.
Use quality henna product! Fresh mixed henna that you mix yourself will leave better, longer-lasting color than pre-mixed henna. Try our Super Simple Henna Recipe for a tried and true recipe for great henna color. You must allow sufficient time for the henna paste to release its dye when mixing your own henna.
The cleanliness of the skin being hennaed.
The lawsone in henna permanently bonds to the protein in skin cells. Oils, lotions, sun block, and sweat are all barriers that will prevent the henna from bonding with the skin cells and will result in a lighter stain.
The part of the body being hennaed.
Thicker skin stains better than thinner skin. The more layers of skin available for staining, the darker and longer lasting the henna stain. Palms of the hands and soles of the feet stain the best. The further away from these areas you get, the lighter the henna tattoo stain.
How long the moist henna is in contact with the skin.
The longer you leave the henna paste on the skin, the darker and longer lasting your color, because it stains more layers of skin cells. As the skin cells exfoliate away, there are still layers of stained skin below them. That’s why your henna stain will last longer if you leave the paste on longer. Keep henna on for a minimum of 4 hours, but the longer the better!
Body temperature is a HUGE factor in releasing henna dye.
People with higher body temperatures typically get better stains. Warm skin cells expand because they are trying to release heat. Cold skin cells contract because they are trying to hold in heat. This means when you are warm, there is more surface area to stain and more room for the dye in the henna molecules to penetrate the skin cells. You can add heat by using a wrap.
How the dried henna is removed.
Do NOT use water when removing the dried henna paste. It will stunt the oxidation of your stain (the process of the henna stain darkening). The paste should be gently scraped off, and any stubborn bits can be removed by gently using olive oil or lemon juice.
How well you care for the henna tattoo.
Water should be avoided for as long as possible (12-24 hours is the goal). Avoid anything that will exfoliate the skin (chlorinated water, salt water, household cleaners, face wash, smoothing lotions).
Remember, after the henna paste is removed, the henna is not at its full color. Henna starts off orange and comes up to a brown/red color over time. Henna will continue to cure in your skin releasing dye molecules for 24-72 hours after henna paste removal.
Don’t judge the color until day three.