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The Henna Page Journal
Terp Test!
Catherine Cartwright Jones
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For this article, “terped” refers to the addition of Tea Tree essential oil, which has 40% terpineol.

I prepared henna paste every day for 10 days prior to the henna conference to test the dye release and demise curve of terped paste.

Each morning I mixed Jamila henna powder with lemon juice. The Jamila was all from the same harvest, the summer harvest, and had been stored for 7 months in my freezer, boxed and wrapped in plastic. I started with 25 g of Jamila and added enough bottled lemon juice to create a thicker-than-yogurt consistency. The paste was left in a 70F room in a ceramic cup.

24 hours after adding lemon juice, I added more lemon juice until the paste was stirred up yogurt consistency. Then I added 20 drops of Tea Tree oil to the paste and stirred it in. I put the paste into plastic bags, squeezed out the air, and wrapped the bags in aluminum foil. I dated each bag. I then put the bags in the refrigerator, at about 40F.

Number 0 on this test represents henna that was terped the day of the test, 8 hours prior to application.

Number 1 on this test represents henna that was terped one day before the test.

Number 9 on this test represents henna that was terped 9 days before the test.

The middle vine is the “control” done with Kenzi’s Moroccan henna powder, terped 1 day before the test.

The test leaves were done in reverse orders top and bottom to allow for the natural tendency of henna stains to be slightly darker at the wrist and paler at the elbow. Nick, shown applying the pastes, took care to be certain that all leaves were approximately the same size and had the same depth of henna paste. No sealer was applied, nor wrap, though the henna was steamed in situ. The henna was allowed to fall off. This test was executed on 3 different people, all of whom had comparable results.

The conclusion derived from this test is that excellent results can be achieved with henna paste terped and immediately refrigerated for four days after the initial terp. After the 4th day, demise gradually diminished the staining power of the paste.

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