How to Make and Apply Henna Tattoos
Henna tattoos are pretty popular among women, especially younger females. They are a fun temporary tattoo that stains your skin and fades away over a period of up to three weeks.
Henna is actually an ancient art that many cultures and civilizations have taken part in. It has been used to adorn the bodies of young women during social and holiday celebrations since the late Bronze age. Henna was used by many groups where henna grew naturally, such as the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Zoroastrians.
In many cases, favorite horses, donkeys, and salukis had their hooves, paws, and tails hennaed.
Celebrations where henna was used include some of the following:
- Battle victories
- Births and birthdays
Henna has been used in most celebrations and instances that have joy, as it has been seen as a blessing and sign of luck, joy, and beauty to adorn the henna imprint.
Before You Get a Henna Tattoo
Before you get a henna tattoo just make sure that you know what is in the henna paste. A reputable artist will be able to tell you all the ingredients, so if the artists isn’t sure or mentioned unfamiliar ingredients, you’ll want to find somewhere else to get your henna tattoo. Typical ingredients in the henna paste will include henna, sugar, lemon juice, and essential oils such as pine.
Ask the artist how long the henna tattoo will last and what color will it be when it's finished.
If the artist says that the henna tattoo will last less than a few days, it is neither henna or black henna, but more than likely a body paint. Henna tattoos last up to three weeks.
If the artist tells you that the tattoo will be black, you do not want the tattoo because it is black henna which contains para-phenylenediamine, which is a chemical used in black hair dye and can lead to mild to fatal adverse affects, but if he says a red-orange orange color or that the tattoo will fade from red/dark brown to orange, then it's authentic henna, and is safe.
If you want more information about the safety of henna tattoos, you should check out Are Henna Tattoos Safe?
Make Henna Paste for Tattoos
Get everything prepared about 24 hours before you are ready to apply the henna paste.
- Fresh henna powder- 1/4 cup
- Bottled or fresh lemon juice-1/4 cup
- Sugar- 1/2 teaspoon
- Essential oils- 1.5 teaspoons
- Mix henna powder with lemon juice and stir until there are no lumps or dry powder remaining. The paste will have a consistency of mashed potatoes.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap against the mixture so that there are no air bubbles.
- Let the bowl sit in a warm place (75-85F) for about 12 hours so that the heat has time to draw out the dye so that it will stain your skin deeply.
- After 12 hours, unwrap the bowl and add the sugar and essential oil and stir. The mix will be lumpy to start, but keep stirring until the mix is smooth and silky.
- Cover with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap against the mixture to eliminate any air bubbles.
- Let the bowl sit in a warm place (75-85F) for about 12 hours, so that the dye is further drawn out and to the top.
- After the 12 hours, you henne dye is now ready to be used.
Note: Fresh henna has a hay or spinach odor and is an earthy green/ khaki color. If the henna powder is a lime green color, there is added dyes to the powder. If the powder is brown with no scent, then the powder is stale.
Store unused henna powder in sealed containers protected from light, air, and moisture, in the freezer.
Henna Tattoo Designs
How to Apply Henna Paste
When applying the henna paste to your skin, you want to make sure that you have properly cleansed your skin in order to get the best stain. You want to consider that the feet, wrists and ankles will produce the longest lasting and best stain, while the upper arms, chest and back have the shortest lasting stain, typically lasting about 7-10 days.
You want to scrub your skin with an exfoliate and warm water, and then use rubbing alcohol to ensure that the skin is clean. If you have sunscreen or lotion, the dye will not soak in, so you want to make sure that you have all-natural skin.
When applying the henna paste, you want to gently squeeze the applicator bottle or cone, resting the weight of your hand on your little finger to help maintain a steady line. You want a smooth line with a constant width. Make sure that the applicator tip does not touch the skin, but is held right above it, so that the paste lays down in a rounded rope shape.
You can add body glitter and rhinestones to and around the henna paste. Generally, the glitter till adhere to the pattern until the paste is removed.
If you have found that you have made too much paste, you can put it in the freezer, where it will last a few months. Just make sure that you wrap the paste tightly with plastic wrap over the bowl. When you're ready for another application, just defrost the paste for about an hour at room temperature.
And, always remember that authentic, natural henna is safe for your skin, but any henna that leaves a black stain will have chemicals added, which can cause mild to severe damage to your skin and body.
After a few hours, the paste will dry and begin to flake off, to ensure the best stain, you can cover the henna (once dry by before flaking) with medical tape, tissue, plastic wrap, or by applying lemon and sugar (1tsp sugar:3tsp lemon juice) to seal the paste. With any of these methods, the paste will start to flake off about 6-12 hours later, which will give you a much deeper stain.