How long does henna take to dry?
Have you ever wanted to get your own henna tattoo but weren’t sure what it all entails? Here we look at what exactly henna is, how the application of henna body art works, and how to get a tattoo to stay on your skin. It is important to follow certain steps in making a clear and beautiful henna design, including being sure to protect the paste after it has been applied. The most important question you might ask is, How long does henna take to dry? We take a look at that, too, noting some crucial steps so you can ensure your henna tattoo doesn’t smudge and instead sets beautifully for the maximum number of days it stays on your skin.
What is henna?
Henna is a popular form of body art that is used in many cultural customs. The henna itself is actually a dye that has been derived from a plant called Lawsonia inermis. This plant is also called hina, a henna tree, an Egyptian privet, or a mignonette tree. The names hina and henna tree clearly give rise to the name of the dye, henna. The tree is the only species that exists in the plant genus called Lawsonia.
While henna is the plant and dye itself, the word is also used to reference temporary body art. This body art is achieved by using the dye to temporarily stain the skin where it has been put in contact. Mehndi is another word for this kind of body art. Henna has been popular around the world for thousands of years and traditionally is used to dye not just the skin but also fingernails, hair, and materials like leader, silk, or even wool. Henna is most closely associated with its use across the Indian Subcontinent, the Arabian Peninsula, parts of the near and Middle East, as well as Southeast Asia. However, henna was also used in Eastern Europe, Carthage, the Caucasus, and parts of North Africa such as the Horn of Africa. Not only does henna come in a neutral or brown shade, but it is also available in a black henna form.
Using Henna on the Skin
Henna is not naturally easy to apply to the skin. This is why it is most commonly ground from its whole leaves so a paste can be used. To create this paste, henna is sold in a powder that is formed by drying the leaves, milling them, and then sifting them into a fine powder. The powder can be mixed with numerous liquids such as water, strong tea, or even lemon juice. Consistency can be improved by the addition of something sweet like sugar or a kind of molasses. It is important to create this mix and then let the paste have between 1 and 48 hours of rest before using it so the lawsone of the leaf can be released into the paste. Some people use essential oils, especially a eucalyptus or possibly a clove, but these can cause skin irritations in some cases.
The paste, once made, can be added to the skin by using a stick or other traditional tool. Many prefer modern bottles with either a plastic end or a fine metal tip. The trick to creating the design is to leave the pattern undisturbed on the skin until the paste has dried completely. Altering the paste before it has dried can result in smudges or no staining at all. Ideally, the paste will dry and fall off completely on its own, leaving behind a clear and dark pattern in the skin. The henna will appear orange mostly at first, but as the stain has remained longer it will take on a darker appearance, typically a shade of brown. This stain generally lasts 7 days, but this varies depending on the quality of the product and the way it was applied or protected after application.
How long does hanna take to dry?
Perhaps one of the most intimidating parts about henna is waiting for the material to dry. If the paste doesn’t dry, all the effort put into the design could be lost – and clothing or other elements might be stained if the body art is smudged. It is important to protect the design with plastic or a cover, not letting it smudge until it has completely set. In general, the paste should remain on the skin a minimum of 4 to maybe 6 hours. Wearing it longer is common and ensures a deeper stain. Some people wear the paste overnight, protecting it with a wrap while sleeping. When the paste has become crusty and shows no sign of moisture, it is likely set and even more likely will be flaking off on its own. Removing it with water is not recommended as this could prevent the material from oxidizing, an important step in letting the dye stain. Cooking oil is a good alternative for removing stubborn bits of dry paste that refuse to leave the skin once set. Remove what is left, and you should find a beautiful and clear henna design left behind that will stay for several days.
Henna is a great way to accent the body for a number of events. It is very popular in certain wedding ceremonies, such as in India, a country with which it is perhaps the most associated. However, not all henna work is from the Indian Subcontinent. It is important to acknowledge the diversity of uses henna has across the European, African, and Asian continents in particular. While henna most certainly can be used for big events such as weddings, it is also a popular thing for daily use, for use in dancing or festivals, and use for religious purposes. Henna is a great way to express creativity and add beauty to the body. Don’t let the subtle details of how to use henna intimidate you – just mix a bottle, design, and let it dry for fast, great results!