Re: new to trying henna

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Posted by Lauren on July 30, 2002 at 12:23:00:

In reply to: new to trying henna posted by Karin on July 29, 2002 at 21:41:58:

I love the look of the henna
: tattoos, but there is nothing in my area to get one
: done 'professionally'.

You might be surprised- where do you live? Have you asked at a local
halal or Indian store, or Indian or middle-eastern restaurant?

: I did find some natural/100% pure henna powder at the
local 'natural
: foods' store.

The last henna I bought from a natural foods store was meant for hair
and did a great job on it but it was way too coarse and twiggy and
not strong enough for skin. If you don't get a good consistency or
color, I'd try henna bought from an artist instead as it will be much
fresher and finer. There are several people on here who sell
excellent henna, including me. Check the "where" tab above.

I found a recipe online that was started with the
: liquid being a **strong** coffee mixed with the powder and a few
: drops of oil.

Coffee really doesn't do a whole lot, although it is traditional.
What you need to mix henna powder is a strong acid. Lemon or lime
juice works well. The henna does not care if the juice comes from a
fruit or a bottle. As for the oil, it depends on what kind you use
whether it will have any effect. I'd start with an unoiled paste and
get used to that, then experiment with how various essential oils
change things.

I tried applying it with a tiny cake decorating tip.
: Although I liked the simple design I did, it was very 'chunky'
: looking (lines too big). How do you decide the texture/consistency
: of the henna before you apply it? How tiny does the tip need to
: Smaller than a tiny cake decorating tip? (It is a #3).

A #3 tip is going to be huge for most henna designs. When using
carrot bags and tips, I use a 000L for most work and a 0l for filling
in larger areas. Most traditional designs have parts as small as a
sharp pencil line. On the other hand, there is nothing at all saying
that you can't do however big or bold a design as pleases you.
As for consistency, this goes back to powder quality. It should be
very fine, like baby powder, with no visible twigs or leaf bits. You
can sift henna through pantyhose to get the yuck out, but it's
usually not worth the bother if it's very twiggy. If it's only got
microscopic stuff but still clogs your tips, you can strain it. I
cannot improve upon the method at
I recently started using hand-rolled mylar cones and I totally love
them. The ease of use of a carrot bag without the clogging of metal
tips. Instructions can be found in the Journal at the top of the

Also, the
: lines began to 'bleed' into the fine lines in my hand. It dried
: started cracking/flaking off within half an hour. I decided then
: since I can try again, to wash it off and was surprised at how
: it washed off. I read that keeping it on longer results in a
: tat, but how do you keep it on longer if it's cracking and flaking
: off? Thanks in advance, I hope all my questions are not *too*
: elementary :o)

I've never had bleeding, but I'd suspect either too much oil or paste
too thin. To keep the paste on, first when lixing add a bit of sugar
or honey. Maybe a teaspoon to 50 grams powder. This will help the
paste stick and retain moisture so it stains longer. After the
design is dry to the touch but preferably before it starts cracking,
you can dab it with an equal mix of lemon juice and sugar. Let the
mix dry between applications. Before the last dabbed layer is dry,
press some toilet paper or unrolled cotton balls to the area. It
should stick. After that, more layers of toilet paper, plastic wrap,
an old dirty sock, or whatever will help the heat stay in to give you
a better stain.

Last, keep asking questions!!! It took me five years to learn how to
get henna right (and five more to get my art up to speed) and if I'd
had this resource, it would have saved me a HEAP of time and money.


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