|Henna paste has to stay on the skin for a while
a stain. The hennotannic acid molecule, Lawsone, goes into your
and stains it just the way tea from a wet tea bag goes into a
and makes a stain. The longer the henna is on your skin, the
the stain. Henna paste often cracks and falls off the skin before
it gets a chance to stain.
To keep henna on your skin, add some sugar to the the henna. This makes it stick better, and makes the henna paste smoother and silkier to work with.
Some henna artists use honey rather than sugar. Others dissolve a piece of sugar candy into the lemon juice. Jaggery is an Indian sugar, similar to a solid lump of brown sugar. Dissolve jaggery or sugar candy into lemon juice. All of these things work to make a paste silkier, smoother, crack less, and stick to the skin better:
Remember: every henna is different, and every day is
On humid days you may need less sugar, and on dry days, you may need
Try things out yourself and write the results down in a notebook!
How do Henna Page Artists add Sweet Stuff?
Erika: photographed above, "I add 1 teaspoon of sugar per 100g of henna, before I add the lemon juice".
Alissa: "I add white (table) sugar to my mix, in approximately a 5-to-1 ratio with the dry henna powder mixed. In dry climates, adding sugar helps to keep the henna moist and naturally encourages adhesiveness."
like to add unrefined sugars to my powder when mixing it.
or raw sugar, brown sugar and jaggery (Indian cone sugar) are my two
to choose from. Why unrefined sugars? Well they seem to be
a bit more sticky when I mix it up, although it very well may be my
When I am out of any of those I do use plain refined white sugar and it
works just as well.
Zimra: "I use pomegranate syrup (pomegranate juice with
pomegranate molasses in my henna mix. I use around a scant tablespoon
100 grams henna. The syrup/molasses blends easily with the henna, and
the henna adhere to the skin quite well. I occasionally add tamarind
from pods, or from a block of processed tamarind fruit) to my “witches
brew;” or I add tamarind syrup to the henna mix. Tamarind is very
and gooey! The first really red stain I got came from henna with
paste, so I feel kind of nostalgic. Proportions: I use about ½ a
tamarind pod in one cup of water for the brew, and a scant
of tamarind syrup per 100 grams henna."
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What's the next step? Add sour liquid.
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