What is your henna made of?
Henna is a paste, usually with 4-5 ingredients: a mix of henna powder, a liquid, sugar, and essential oil. The powder is from the Lawsonia Inermis plant, and the fluid could be apple juice, water, lemon juice, or tea. Essential oils can vary between lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, or exclusive mixes made by a company like Henna Caravan. What is most important from your henna artist is knowing what is inside of it. ‘Black Henna’ may be touted as natural on a label; but could be henna mixed with PPD, which is a dangerous chemical that can burn your skin. Making sure your henna is mixed either by your artist or a reputable seller is crucial before you sit down.
Who made your henna?
For the same reason listed above, your henna artist should respond quickly. If you are still unsure, ask them who made the henna. If they can not say themselves or share another henna artist made it, it may be in your best interest to not get henna that day. If they reply, they bought their henna from a store, or Amazon, that is a clear cue to leave. Henna is not shelf-stable, and you should never buy from a store like Wal-Mart or Hot Topic. Although possible, it is natural henna; it will lose its potency over time.
What aftercare should I follow?
Due to being natural, henna takes about 38-72 hours to develop the stain entirely. Water on your henna paste will halt your stain progression. You should leave your henna on ideally for 4-12 hours. The longer, the better so the dye has time to sink into your skin. You should not wash your henna for the first 24 hours. If your henna artist says you can remove your henna in 15 minutes for a dark stain, beware. That’s a sign of chemical henna, which can have harmful side effects.
What do you love to do? Do you have an artist choice option?
Just because something is in the design book doesn’t mean your artist is the best at it. You may ask for flowers, but your artist may be fantastic at geometry. Sometimes artists will have deals for artist choice; you choose a few elements and placement, and they can freehand a beautiful design. (Secret: When selecting this, you may get more henna than a regular design worth the same amount). I know for me personally, I love bracer designs, but animals are not my strongsuit…yet. Asking helps you make a choice you will love because henna lasts for 7-20 days.
I hope these questions have helped, never be afraid to ask a henna artist for clarity. It’s not a tattoo, but it is a design you will have on your body for the next 7-20 days. It is essential to be aware of what you are putting on your skin; protect yourself by only having artists that use natural henna put art on your body. Don’t know where to find an artist? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your city, and I’ll do my best to connect you to an artist near you!