Henna Art is now available on Saturdays!
What is Henna?
Henna is a paste made from the leaves of an ancient Middle Eastern shrub that has been used for over 5000 years to stain and leave beautiful designs on the skin. It was originally utilized by desert people for the cooling effect it has. Initially, as the stain faded away, it left patterns on the skin’s surface which led to the idea to make designs for decorative purposes. Henna has been widely used in the Middle East ever since. In the ancient Egyptian times mummies wore henna designs and it has been documented that even Cleopatra herself used henna for decorative purposes.
How does henna work?
The dye found in the leaves of the henna plant begins to work when it is mixed with a catalyst to make a paste. Essential oils are added to further dissolve the dye. This paste is then applied to the skin, and over several hours the dye is absorbed into the surface. When the paste is removed the design remains. Because the henna bonds with the keratin, areas where the skin is thicker (more layers of keratin), the stain is deeper in color and will last longer. This is why henna is often done on the wrists, palms, ankles, and feet, where the skin is thickest.
After the henna paste is applied to the skin, it should be left on for 6-8 hours to produce the darkest and most long lasting stain. During this time it is best to apply a sealant or sugar water to the henna to keep the paste moist. Heat is also a friend of henna, and warming your henna design with the paste still on your skin will help in achieving a dark stain. After this time, peel off the dried design with your fingers (olive oil will assist this process) to reveal the orange stain underneath. Do not use water to remove the paste. Try to avoid any direct contact with water on the design for the next 24 hours, as it will interfere with the oxidation process. You can keep the stain coated with olive or baby oil to create a barrier. The stain will mature to a burgundy or chocolate color over the next 2-3 days. Depending on the area of placement and how much the area comes in contact with water, a henna tattoo can last anywhere from 1-3 weeks. It will not wash off, but slowly fade as the surface layer of skin wears away and is replaced by new unstained cells.
Before your appointment:
Exfoliate your skin the day before or day of your appointment for the best results, and avoid exfoliation immediately after. If you have an exact design or design idea for what you would like done you are more than welcome to bring in reference pictures.