Mixing henna is a lot like mixing cake batter. Each henna artist has a recipe of their own with slightly different ingredients, but generally has the same outcome at the end of the day. Mixing my own henna was such a struggle, so for as long as I remember, I'd purchase pre-made cones from other local henna artists (who I know only mix with all natural organic henna powder) and focus on the art. If you want to make it as a henna artist though, relying on other artists for henna cones may not be the most efficient way to go. So after a year's worth of trial and error, I finally found the perfect recipe that works for me! And because I want to save you that year's hassle, here it is :)
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
Natural Henna Powder
Essential Oil (of choice)
FROM STARVING ARTIST TO FULL-TIME HENNA PRO
STEP 1: Place 4 tablespoons of your henna powder in a bowl. My preference is Rajasthani powder.
WHY HENNA POWDER? You MUST MUST MUST use all natural organic henna powder. If it's not natural, you're jeopardizing your skin or whoever you apply the henna to.
SUBSTITUTES: None. It HAS to be natural organic henna powder.
NEED ORGANIC HENNA POWDER?
STEP 2: Add 2.5 teaspoons of sugar.
WHY SUGAR? Sugar allows your henna to stick to the skin. The longer the henna paste stays on your skin, the darker the color stain. Sugar prevents your henna from cracking when applied on skin.
SUBSTITUTES: Some artists choose to use molasses or brown sugar.
STEP 3: Add 2 teaspoons of your chosen essential oil. My preference is Tea Tree.
WHY ESSENTIAL OILS? The essential oils enables the oxidation process for your henna.
SUBSTITUTES: You may also use; Lavender, Eucalyptus, Geranium.
STEP 4: Add distilled or purified water to consistency. Generally you want to add 3 tablespoons at a time. (I usually reach my preferred consistency at 15 - 18 tablespoons).
WHY WATER? Your henna mix needs a wet component to fuse it all together.
SUBSTITUTES: Other artists choose to use; Lime Water or Lemon Juice.
STEP 5: Mix it all together. My mixing usually takes up to 10 - 15 minutes to try to get rid of as many lumps as possible. If you're stuck with a few lumps, don't worry about it. We'll fix it later.
WHY MIXING? Isn't it obvious :)
SUBSTITUTES: You can use a spoon, mixer, immersion blender or whisk.
STEP 6: Cover your bowl with a saran or plastic wrap.
WHY COVERING? You don't want air seeping through interrupting the oxidation process.
SUBSTITUTES: You can cover it with foil, plastic bag or a lid.
STEP 7: The oxidation process takes time. You'll need to wait 6 - 10 hours before it's ready to use.
SUBSTITUTES: Instead of waiting aimlessly, do something productive. Or even call your mother (she probably misses you!)
STEP 8: Uncover your henna and start mixing again. Small tip, you'll know it's ready when you scrape the top layer off to the sides and realize it's slightly darker than the bottom layer. This is called dye release. Mix your henna thoroughly to make sure there are no lumps left. You can add water, no more than 1-2 teaspoons, to thin it out.