Handful of Henna

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Aftercare | The Henna Process | "Black" Henna and Your Health

How to Care For Your Henna Body Art

Leave the paste on for 4 to 6 hours. Or, wrap it with toilet paper, cover with a sock, and leave it on overnight. Designs not on the hands or feet can be covered with toilet paper and secured with medical tape while you sleep.

When ready, scrape or pick the dry paste off, or rub it off with vegetable oil. Try to keep the area dry for as long as possible -- 12 to 24 hours is best! If you must get your henna design wet, protect it with a wax-based lotion or lip balm. The wax will make it water resistant.

Immediately after scraping the paste off, the skin underneath will be bright orange. Over the next 24 hours, if kept dry, it will get darker and darker. The next morning, you will wake up with a dark, reddish-brown design on your skin! It will fade with exfoliation, so try not to scrub it unless you tire of it.

Note that henna is darkest on the palms and soles of the feet. Designs on the upper arm, back and belly can be 50% lighter in color.

The Henna Process

The following video shows the process of henna application by one of my favorite henna artists, Riffat. Henna goes on as a paste and can be further decorated with glitter, as in this video. The paste is left on for 6 to 8 hours, then both the paste and the optional glitter is removed, leaving a long-lasting design on your skin which fades with exfoliation.

Black Henna and Your Health

Henna tattoos range from light to dark brown with varying tones of red, depending on aftercare and placement on the body. The paste must be left on for 4+ hours, and the stain normally takes 1-2 days to "ripen" to its final color and darkness.

"Black" henna is created by adding non-FDA approved chemicals to the paste, and may cause adverse reactions such as chemical burns and a lifelong, life-threatening allergy to certain hair and fabric dyes, cosmetics, and other PPD-related chemicals. Repeated exposure to "black" henna increases the danger of developing such reactions.

Avoid "black" henna by refusing tattoos from henna artists claiming that their paste can be left on for less than 1 hour and stain the color of a permanent, black ink tattoo. Don't be afraid to ask about the ingredients of the paste, and don't trust pastes that smell particularly nasty.

Part of the beauty of this centuries-old art form is its rich reddish-brown color, believed in many cultures to ward off evil and attract good fortune. Don't risk your health for a fake tattoo.

Handful of Henna uses 100% natural henna products, mixed by hand and often utilizing organic ingredients. No "black" henna here!

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Happy hennaing!