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New to Henna? Here Are 9 Steps To An Amazing Henna Experience

By: Tamara Arora, Henna by Arora 

It’s important to educate yourself before getting your first, or next henna design. With all the news about vacationers receiving permanent scars from temporary tattoos claiming to be “Henna,” or “Black Henna,” knowing the facts can keep you and you loved ones safe and help you find the best artists around. Not sure where to start? Here’s how: There are many ways to finding an artist near you. You can google search, “Henna near me,” or look up hashtags (e.g. #sanantoniohennaartist, #sanantoniohenna). Henna artists can also be found at local events, festivals, and even in your malls. But, be wary. You can come across hundreds of artists and only two or three of them use safe products. Is this intentional? Not exactly. Unfortunately, there are a lot of artists practicing the craft to make money and know very little about their products. How do you know if your artist is good? Stalk their social media. Is their work clean, defined, consistent? Do the henna stains look crisp or is there bleeding? Do their pages clearly state their henna paste ingredients and do they claim to use safe, natural henna? Here’s your biggest clue, if they carry beauty and bodywork insurance, they’re probably professional and safe. Insurance carriers will not cover chemical cones. You can also look them up on . They list certified natural artists worldwide. Is this step 100% necessary? No, but if you want an amazing stain, it will definitely help. Shower before receiving henna and avoid using lotions in the area where your design will be located. Lotions create a barrier and prevents the paste from properly staining your skin. In addition, once you receive your design, you need to avoid water and washing for about 24 hours, so showering that day will prove to be beneficial. When you meet the artist and are ready for your henna, check out what type of products they are using. Here are some quick guidelines on what to look for:

Step 1: Find A Quality Artist.www.icnha.org

Step 2: Make an appointment or visit them at an event.

Step 3:Prep your skin for henna

Step 4: Know your products. 

Is their cone pre-made (packaged in a wrapper with fancy pictures, words, or people on it)? Pre-made cones contain harmful dyes and chemical preservatives to help them maintain a dark stain and shelf stability, turpentine oil for example. Pure natural henna has a shelf life of maybe 24 hours, unless frozen.

Can they list their ingredients? Henna should only contain a few ingredients and all of them should be natural and easily pronounceable. For example, my paste contains Organic Henna Powder BAC (Body Art Quality), Water, Pure Organic Lavender Essential Oil, Raw Cane Sugar, and a few drops of lemon juice. That’s all. Remember, henna is NEVER black!

Some safe variations may include Cajeput, Tea Tree, Niaouli, and/or Ravensara. These are all skin safe essential oils. Eucalyptus oil, though frequently used, is a skin irritant and should always be mixed with a carrier oil (i.e. coconut oil) before applying directly to the skin. Since there are no carrier oils in henna paste, eucalyptus should not be used. Avoid Mehendi Oil. Mehendi oil has a laundry list of ingredients and most of them are nasty, like lamp oil, turpentine oil, clove oil, and eucalyptus. These will at minimum create a burning sensation and rash, but can also cause blistering, scaring, and internal organ damage. Don’t take a chance, if you’re artist lists any of the no no’s or can’t list their ingredients at all, avoid their services. Ok, so you’ve found a quality artist, your skin is prepped, and they’re using safe products. Now what? Step 5: Select a design. Choose something from your artist’s book, bring your own design, or find something online. The most important thing here is choosing something you like and that the artist can and is willing to do. Every artist has their own style, so their designs will produce the best outcome. Keep that in mind if you go to your artist with a design you pulled from Google or Pinterest. 

In addition, Henna artists, like most other professional artists are not a huge fan of copying someone else’s work. If you choose a design online, be flexible. Allowing your artist to tweak your design with their style will create an original piece of higher quality. Step 6: Location, location, location. Henna can be placed almost anywhere on the body, but for the darkest stain choose your hands or feet for design placement. Designs on the hands will last about 7-10 days and the a little longer on the feet. If you want a dark stain that will last a little longer, choose just above your wrists and ankles. These areas still have more layers of skin then the rest of the body, which produce a darker stain, but do not experience the frequency of washing that your hands do, or rubbing/exfoliating that your feet do from shoes. Step 7: Sit still and don’t touch it! Try to be still while your artist is at work. This will ensure a beautiful design with clean lines. Then leave it alone. Don’t pick at the paste, or remove it early. For best results, leave the paste on for 8 hours and do not get it wet. If you can do that, you’re a henna superstar! Step 8: Care about your aftercare. Aftercare is just as important as the product and application. Poor aftercare will produce a weak stain that fades quickly. Once your paste is ready to remove, flake it off. If it’s a clinger, use an ID card to help scrape it off. Then apply coconut or jojoba oil. For the next 24 hours, avoid water or washing the design area. After that, apply coconut or jojoba oil to the area before and after showering/washing. This will help moisturize the stain and create a protective barrier to help prevent extra exfoliation and fading. Step 9: Enjoy your art. Now that you know the facts, you can be confident that you will walk away with some beautiful, high quality, natural and safe henna art. So go ahead, pamper yourself, flaunt it, and enjoy your art!