Henna is an evergreen shrub that grows in hot, dry, middle-eastern climates.
The leaves of the henna plant are dried and then ground into a fine powder.
Interesting factoid: The fresh dried leaf powder is much the same color as the background of this page. (olive or bright green)
This powder is then sifted and mixed with lemon or lime juice and sugar to make a paste.
Interesting factoid: The acidic citrus juice helps to release the staining pigment from the leaves and the sugar makes it sticky so it will stay on the skin longer.
After the paste has rested for several hours, other *NATURAL* ingredients are added to aid the staining process.
Our artists use any combination of the following: whole cloves, dried hibiscus flowers, coffee, black tea, lavender, patchouli, clove, eucalyptus, ginger, teatree, cajeput, or terpineol essential oil.
Essential oils are chosen for their stain enhancing abilities as well as for their scents. If you have a known sensitivity to any of the above, the henna paste can be made without that particular ingredient(s). Please inform your artist well in advance so that she may make a paste that suites you.
The henna paste is either put into a small plastic bottle with a small applicator tip, or into plastic "cone" bags of various sizes.
Interesting factoid: mud can be applied with anything from a tooth pick to a paint brush.
The skin is cleansed with alcohol to remove any dirt or oil, and the prepared paste is then drawn on.
Complex patterns can be transferred to the skin or the designs are drawn free hand by the artisan.
After the design is applied to the skin, a sticky liquid made from lemon juice and sugar is applied to the paste to keep it from flaking off as it dries. The paste should remain on the skin as long as possible, and be kept moist and warm during that time.
Wrapping the area in gauze, toilet paper, or plastic wrap will help to keep the paste on the skin and warm.
Heck NO! Henna paste is very cool and soothing.
The scent of the essential oils combines with the natural aroma of the henna and can be quite therapeutic.
If you have a preference for a certain scent, your artisan may be able to mix a special paste just for you.
Remember - the paste is only being painted on the surface of the skin, no needles are used.
How long the henna stain lasts is up to you. The longer the paste stays warm on the skin the stronger the stain will be and the thicker design lines will appear darker than thin, fine detail designs. Different areas of the body stain better than others, and the skin's condition also plays a role. Henna stains best on the palms and soles where skin is the thickest, and when the paste is kept moist and warm. Thin skin areas stain less intensely.
Protecting the stained area after the paste is removed is important as well. Avoid soaps and cleansers, long soaks in any liquid, and be sure to moisturize twice a day. (we recommend Mona's Body Butters)
With great care, your design can last more than a month but average stains last about two weeks.
Not very well. Henna stains several layers of skin cells, so the stain fades as these cells are naturally shed. Use of soaps or cleansers, not moisturizing, or soaking in a long bath or pool will speed the cell shedding process and fade your stain more quickly though.
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