This post takes you through everything you need to know to look after your henna design and achieve a dark stain. At Tiara Mehndi we only use henna sourced from reputable suppliers and stain test all of our paste before using it in bookings.
To ensure that the henna can stain the skin properly it is best to have clean hands free from any oils or moisturiser as they can create a barrier between the henna and your skin. Exfoliating your hands prior to application is also helpful! It is also a good idea to have your nails painted before application. As the nail polish will prevent the henna from staining your nails. It also looks better in photos! Any hair removal on the areas to be hennaed should also be done prior to application.
Co-operate with your artist and try to stay still as this will help them to apply the henna as neatly as possible. Otherwise there isn’t much you can do during application to help the stain, as the drying is when the dye sinks in. Heat does help the stain to take to the skin and develop. So staying warm during and after application is beneficial to gaining a deep and rich stain. Depending on the size of the design, the mehndi paste can take around 30 to 45 mins to dry. It is best to let the henna dry naturally. Sitting by a heater can help, but please do not use a hairdryer as this prevents the dye from taking as well.
This is the important bit. The longer you leave the henna on the darker the stain will be! For bridal henna especially we recommend keeping the henna on for around 6 to 12 hours to ensure a dark stain. If you are a guest or not to fussed about how dark the mehndi is 2 hours will get you a nice brown stain, however never keep the henna on for less than 1 hour.
Once the henna is dry there are a couple of things you can do to help keep the paste on and encourage a better stain. One of the most common things to do is apply a lemon/sugar solution to the dried henna. The lemon helps the stain develop and the sugar acts as a glue to keep the paste stuck to you. You can also wrap the design in medical tape to help keep the paste on and not have little bits everywhere. However if you are using this method the henna needs to be bone dry, so that the design keeps its definition. You also cannot apply the lemon/sugar solution if you are wrapping your design. It is one method or the other. The traditional wraps of clingfilm or plastic bags can work, but the hands need to be wrapped in tissue to help stop the design from smudging when the hand gets sweaty. I would generally avoid this method.
Removing the Paste
Once the paste is ready to be removed it is best to scrape the paste off. Please do not use water as this will stop the stain from darkening. If the paste is not scraping off easily, soak the design in olive or coconut oil (or any skin friendly oil) for 10 mins and it will help the henna come off. Once the paste is off keep your hands moisturised with a natural moisturiser such as oil and avoid water for the next 24 hours. Washing up gloves will be your new best friend!
Avoiding water for the first day will help your stain to develop fully. Also moisturising your hands and avoiding exfoliating the stained areas will help the stain to last as long as possible. At Tiara Mehndi we use natural henna which takes 48 hours to reach its peak stain. The design will be a bright orange as soon as the paste is removed and will change to a dark brown overnight. If the correct aftercare is followed the stain will keep getting darker for the second day too. However it is important to remember that different peoples skins does stain differently, also different parts of the body will stain differently. Generally arms/ backs/ legs do not always stain as dark as hands/ feet. This is normally due to different body temperatures and differences in skin thicknesses.
Looking after your henna can be difficult, but that beautiful stain is worth it!