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Henna By Heather's Recipe for

How to Mix Henna Paste
Make your own Mehndi!

 

What you need:
100g Artistic Organic Henna Powder
1oz cajeput essential oil
a bottle of lemon juice

1. Put henna powder in a bowl that you're going to dedicate to henna mixing.

2. Mix in lemon juice. Start with 1 cup and check the consistency. Keep adding more lemon juice until the henna is the consistency of thick mashed potatoes.

3. Let this sit on your kitchen counter (not the fridge, which is too cold, or by the oven or heater, which is too hot) for 12 hours (give or take...I may leave my henna anywhere from 8 to 16 hours depending on what else I have to do that day.) My kitchen counter is 60-90 degrees, depending on the season. In the dog days of summer, it may be ready before the full 12 hours. In the winter, it may take a little longer. You'll know it's ready when the top layer of your henna is much darker than what is underneath - this shows you dye release has been achieved.

4. After initial dye release, mix in 1oz of cajeput essential oil.

5. Let sit on your kitchen counter for another 12 (give or take) hours in a 78-or-so degree (summer w/ moderate air conditioning) house; let it sit 24-36 hours in a 67-ish degree (winter w/ moderate heating) house .

6. Test the consistency of your henna. You will probably want to add more lemon juice unless you like your henna very thick. Just add lemon juice until henna reaches a consistency you think will be pleasant to work with. For me this is somewhere between thick Greek yogurt and thin grits. You should experiment a bit to see what works best for you.

7. That's it! Put your henna in a carrot bag, use the carrot bag to fill your henna cones, and you're ready to go!



FURTHER EXPERIMENTATION

This is an explanation of how I make my henna paste. I love my recipe. It took me almost 10 years to finally decide I was done experimenting and would just use this recipe all the time. It always serves me very well, but you may want to tweak it a bit to serve your own circumstances or preferences. Here are some tips for ways you might change up my recipe.

I. Increase or decrease amounts as needed. I typically mix 3-5 100g boxes of henna powder at a time. You could also mix just 25g (1/4 box) at a time. Less than that would probably be a bit of a pain and yield too high of a percentage of waste (henna stuck to the sides of your bowl when you go to put it in cones). 100g of henna is what most henna artists I know seem to mix at a time, hence it is what the recipe above is for.


II. Some of the most important reasons for changing your henna mix are climate-related. Here in cold, damp Southern New England, I definitely don't want to put sugar in my henna mix. In addition to making the henna stringy (which I don't like, but many do), sugar makes the henna take muuuch longer to dry. In fact, if you put the amount of sugar some others (who may live in arid or even desert-like climates) recommend, it feels like it will *never* dry. If you do live in a drier area, you may want to use table sugar, fructose, dextrose, hard candies, molasses, tamarind, or other sweet stuff to ensure that your henna doesn't dry and crumble off prematurely. If you live in a more humid region but you do like stringy henna, start by mixing just a tiny bit of sugar in with your mix. Experiment until you find the right balance of stringiness vs drying time for you.


III. Many people prefer not to use lemon juice to mix their henna. Water works just fine! Tea and coffee are also great, if you and your clients don't mind the fact that caffeine easily travels through the skin. Just keep in mind that using water or a water-based liquid may change how long you should let your henna sit before it reaches dye release and is ready to use. If using water, be sure that it is fairly pure / well-filtered, as chemicals in the water may affect your henna. Also, some people like using fresh lemon juice rather than bottled. If you have time to squeeze lots of lemons, or are just doing a small batch, by all means, give this a try!


IV. You may want to use a different essential oil. Anything with monoterpene alcohols ("terps") will work. I use cajeput because it is the best combination of the factors I consider important:

 

V. Different hennas take different time to achieve dye release. Try different henna powders and see for yourself. Artistic Organic henna takes about 24 hours to reach full release, whereas Mohana henna takes just 6-10 hours. Changing your liquid will also change dye release time; the less acidic the liquid, the faster dye release will happen.

QUALITY
Cajeput essential oil has lots of monoterpene alcohols, which is important...and when you get it from a professional henna artist supplier, you know you're getting the best stuff available. This is much different from the tea tree oil you might find at your local store, which will be of unkown quality.

PRICE
You could use naoli and get similar or even slightly better results, but boy would it be expensive!

AVAILABILITY
You can find cajeput essential oil online very easily. It's near impossible to find locally... You could find tea tree oil in a health food store pretty easily... but it won't be as high quality.

SIMPLICITY
Sure, you could use a fancy blended specialty oil after you've confirmed that all of its ingredients are safe for use on skin... but will you be able to remember its ingredients list when a customer asks you what you put in your henna paste? The fewer ingredients you use, the less likely you'll throw something into the mix that someone will be allergic to...
One note about these blended oils: NEVER use "mehndi oil" that you don't know the ingredients of! If the manufacturer won't tell you what's in the oil because it's some sort of secret, or they don't bother to list it on their packaging, don't buy it. Make sure you always know exactly what you are putting on your and others' bodies.

 

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