» Henna Aftercare
Henna looks different on everyone. Body chemistry, temperature and location on the body have a lot to do with how dark the stain will be. Drier skin on the hands and feet stains much darker than the softer skin on the upper arm or back. Henna stains are darkest during the first 7-10 days, and then gradually fade.
The following are some steps you can follow to ensure a nice stain:
» Leave the paste on for as long as possible
It is recommended to leave the paste on at least 4-6 hours or more or try to leave paste on overnight for best results. The longer the paste stays on the skin, the darker the stain will be. Try not get get the area wet for at least 6-12 hours. Leaving the paste on for a full 24 hours is best.
» Removing the paste
Do not use water to remove the paste. Instead, try using a bit of lemon juice or olive/corn oil to remove any residue for best results. It is normal for henna to flake off as it dries, but you can gently scrape the paste off or let it fall off naturally. The design at first will appear as a bright orange stain, which will darken to a brownish-red over the next 48 hours. It is normal for the stain to not be very dark on some skin tones - it takes time to oxidize to it's full color.
» Heat and moisture help
Henna loves heat. The warmer the body temperature, the faster the henna will stain. If you are cold, try drinking something hot before you start. Gently steaming the area while the paste is on also helps and using a hair dryer!
» Wrap it up
Wrapping isn't required but it helps conserve heat and moisture, which can help to make the stain darker. Wrapping also protects bed sheets if the paste is to be left on overnight. I usually put a piece of toilet paper over the design, then fix with masking tape. Do not use cling film as this will smudge the design.
Apply some kind of natural oil or butter after the paste is removed to protect your henna design. A lot of store bought moisturizers contain chemicals that can prematurely lighten the stain, so it's best to use something natural like vegetable oil – especially before bathing or swimming to protect it from the water. Corn, canola or olive oil all work well. Avoid using any petroleum products such as baby oil or Vaseline as they will contribute to the demise of your stain and avoid moisturizers with fruit acids (Alpha-Hydroxyl Acid) or bleaching agents.
» Avoid exfoliation and shaving
Excess washing and friction from clothing will make the stain fade faster. The less you touch the area, the better. Avoid shaving over your henna stain as this removes layers of skin so you may want to shave around your henna stain to keep it looking its best.
Please Note: When tanning, please keep in mind that areas recently henna'ed are 'sun screened' and will not tan. A 'ghosting' effect may occur where un-henna'ed skin will tan and the pattern will not.