Every now and then I have a client tell me that their henna stain wasn't satisfactory. Anything from a henna stain that didn't last long, to weak henna stain, or worse, the stain not showing up at all.
There's not one cut and dry answer, to why these henna flukes happen. They just do, and it is due to many variables such as a persons skin chemistry, if the person washes they're hands multiple times a day, if they swim (because the high levels of chlorine in pool water, lightens the henna stain) if you exfoliate or scrub the henna stain. Other reasons could be, if you remove the henna paste too soon, if you remove the henna paste with water, and temperature also plays a role in the henna stain process. If a person tends to have cold hands, feet, it effect the henna stain, or if the temperature is cool/cold in the room your working in.
After your henna artist has done all that they can on their side, as far as henna paste goes and after care advice, etc. It's up to you, the client, to make sure that you do as much as you can, on your side, to get a desirable stain.
So here are the do's and don'ts to taking care of you Henna Stain:
1. Don't Take off henna paste right away! Why? Because if you do, you probably won't get a nice, deep henna stain. Natural henna takes time, it's a natural dye that comes from the leaves of the henna plant, that dyes only the top layer of your skin. So be patient, relax, leave your henna paste on for at least 2-3 hours. But it is best that you leave it on for 6-8 hours if you can.
2. Don't Remove henna with water! Why? Because it hinders the henna stain process. After waiting your 2-3 or 6-8 hour period of leaving your henna paste on, remove your henna paste by gently picking or rubbing it off with your fingers. Don't worry if you have some henna flakes here and there that are still on your skin, they will come of with some oil (more info about this in the "Do's" section). Wait 12 hours (if you can) after you remove your henna paste, to have your henna stain, come into contact with water. And if you can't wait 12 hours, at least apply some oil, i.e. olive oil, coconut oil, coco butter, shea butter, to protect the henna stain from the water. Do this even days after to aid in the longevity of the henna stain.
3. Don't Exfoliate Skin, with the Henna Stain on it, with Scrubs, Loffas, Body Scrubs etc! Why? You shed Thousands of dead skin cells everyday and because henna only stains the top layer of skin, scrubbing it (the skin with the henna stain on it), will negatively effect the longevity of your henna stain.
4. Don't Use Harsh Soaps (Or Any Sops For That Matter) on your henna stain! Why? Because, as stated above you shed thousands of skin cells everyday and since henna only stains the top layer of skin, using harsh soaps dry out your skin accelerating the rate in which your skin exfoliates. So (if your henna stain is on you hands) if you do dishes, wear gloves. And whenever you wash your hands make sure you moisturize them often. Same thing for showering, don't scrub the henna stain directly, and apply some olive/coconut oil/ or coco/shea butter on the henna stain before you shower.
5. No Swimming in highly Chlorinated Water i.e. Swimming Pools! Why? Because Chlorine lightens henna stains significantly. Try to avoid swimming in swimming pools if you want your henna stain to stick around for a while.
1. Do Keep Henna on as long as possible. To insure henna has a long enough time to stain skin properly.
2. Do Keep Henna Paste Wet. The longer the henna paste stays wet, the better the outcome for your henna stain. So make sure you apply a lemon sugar mixture or some type of seal over your henna design to keep it wet. The henna paste will eventually dry, but the purpose behind this is to slow that process down to give the henna more time to do it's job.
3. Do Keep Your Henna Warm. If you are a person that has cold hand/feet etc., make sure you keep your body warm during the time you get your henna done, to even, the hours after you get your henna done and are leaving your henna on to do it's work. Henna needs to be warm to efficiently stain your skin. So if it's cold outside drink some tea or hot coco, get under a warm blanket, turn up the heater, etc. And if it's already warm/hot outside, your good :) but don't have your henna in direct sunlight, as this may effect your henna stain.
4. Do Remove Henna Gently with fingers in a circular motion or by gently picking it off with fingers. And remove any stuck on pieces of henna with olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, or any other natural oils or butters.
5. Do wait 12 hours to have you henna stain come into contact with water. If you can't wait 12 hours, at least apply some oil, i.e. olive oil, coconut oil, coco butter, shea butter, to protect the henna stain from the water. Do this before and after showering and before and after wash your hands (if henna is on your hands). Do this even days after, to aid in the longevity of the henna stain.
At the end of the day, henna takes differently to each person it is applied. Henna is also more than the stain you get at the end it an experience to be enjoyed and shared. I hope this helps post helps someone out there. And happy henna'ing everybody!