Henna aftercare is one of the most crucial things to guarantee a dark and vibrant natural henna stain. What to do after henna dries will determine how rich your mehndi will be.
I always say that 50% is accountable to your henna artist and the remaining 50% depends on what you do after your mehndi application.
Obviously, it's important to hire a reputable henna artist who makes their own mehndi cones or are known to source the best henna powder and natural henna.
It's unfortunate to know that there are still artists out there who use black henna - which has serious health implications.
In fact, it's made it to Global News that 20,000 black henna cones were retracted in Canada from a variety of ethnic stores after reports of chemical burns.
So you need to be 1000% sure that your henna artist is using natural henna paste (and is deliberate in staying away from black "mehndi").
You need to follow your artist's henna aftercare instructions to the TEE!
Not only will it allow for a dark brown henna that is rich and vibrant colour but can also be directly affected on how to keep henna longer.
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STEP 1: Keep your Henna for a Minimum of 6 Hours
So how long do henna tattoos take to dry? It's usually about 15 - 20 minutes, but if you want to stay on the side of caution, I'd wait up to 30 minutes (depending on how detailed your henna design is).
It's always advisable to keep your wet henna paste for a minimum of 6 hours.
In fact, I go as far as advising to leave your paste on overnight if you could.
The reason that is, is because you're allowing the skin to effectively go through the oxidation process, prolonging the time for your skin to actually absorb the henna.
STEP 2: Protect your Henna
I know how frustrating it must be when you wanna move around but worried that your henna might flake off before the recommended 6 hours is up.
So you can do 1 of 2 things to protect your henna - just be sure your henna is fully dry before proceeding to those steps.
You can wrap your dry henna in gauze or mefix tape. This protects your henna and helps keep it intact.
Another little hack is to create your own lemon sealant spray (which is 2 parts lemon and 1 part sugar). Mix it together, and either place it in a small spray bottle or dab a piece of cotton in the mix and press it super gently on your henna design.
The lemon sealant helps keep your henna sticky and moist to avoid it from flaking off from your skin.
**IMPORTANT TIP: Don't be too generous with this. You just want to add 2 - 3 sprays. More is not better.
STEP 3: Scraping the Henna Off
When you come to remove your henna, be sure to do so by chipping it off, or by using a blunt knife (or credit card) for the tougher spots.
*DO NOT WASH OFF WITH WATER - nothing will drive a henna artist crazier.
Your henna should be a bright pumpkin orange colour. (The brighter it is, the better).
STEP 4: Preserving the Henna Stain
You want to make sure your henna is well preserved to enrich the colour as much as possible.
You can apply henna aftercare balm, or alternatively any oil like substance that will act as blockage.
Some good alternates include: coconut oil or vegetable oil.
STEP 5: Enriching the Brown Henna Colour
After your balm or oil has been fully absorbed, get a pot full of water and heat it up on the stove.
Place your hand (or wherever the design is placed) on top of the steam.
**IIMPORTANT DISLACIMER: Keep your hand at a safe distance so you don't burn yourself.
Henna tends to get richer in colour when it's in a warm environment.
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ET VOILA! The super dark henna stain you crave for!
Let's recap those 5 super simple techniques for effective henna aftercare instructions.
Keep your henna on for as long as possible (minimum of 6 hours)
Protect your henna by wrapping it up in gauze or mefix tape. Alternatively, you can use a lemon spray sealant.
Scrape your henna off by chipping it away (DO NOT WASH OFF WITH WATER).
Preserve your henna with aftercare balm or other subs like baby or coconut oil.
Apply some steam to your henna to enrich the colour.