Henna Body Art

Henna Q&A

What is henna?

Henna is a form of temporary tattooing where the dye is created from a ground plant that has been mixed with other things found in nature to create a paste.  Common things in the paste are lemon juice, an essential oil, and sugar.

Is henna always brown?

Yes.  Black henna is actually black hair dye, and is extremely dangerous. Sometimes henna may look black on certain parts of the body, but it’s truly just a very dark brown.

How does henna work?

Henna is applied as a paste to the skin, as it dries it releases lawstone into the upper layers of the skin.  Lawstone is the name of the molecule that carries the pigment. Right after removing the paste that is ready to flake, henna will appear to be a bright orange color.  Over the next 48 hours it darkens into the beautiful brown that henna is known for.  It will last anywhere from five days to a month, depending on the area applied.  Henna slowly leaves the body as one exfoliates.  It will only become permanent if applied over a cut.

Can I wash it?

Yes.  Once the skin has been stained, it is there to stay.  It will not smudge.

I don’t want the henna any more.  How do I get rid of it?

You wait.  Scrubbing more often to hasten exfoliation will speed up its removal, but other than that there’s nothing more you can do.

Where can I get henna?

Henna can be placed on any part of the body you’re comfortable with.

How long does it take for henna to dry?

Henna takes an average of 15-20 minutes to dry, and during that time you need to make sure it does not get smudged.  It will stain fabrics and other porous materials.  Once it has dried, the danger of smudging is gone.

Caring for your henna

Henna is very low-maintenance once the stain is set, and does not require a lot of care.  You can shower, wash your hands, open jars of pickles, change your oil, and do everything you normally would.

As you exfoliate, henna wears away.  It will flake away with the dead skin.  To make it last longer, less scrubbing is advised.  Don’t use abrasive soaps and loufas in the shower.

Prior to getting henna, make sure you wash off any lotions or unnatural oils not produced from your own body off your skin.  This allows the henna stain to penetrate more deeply, which will result in a darker, longer-lasting design.

Depending on how you care for your henna, it may last longer or for less than the time estimated.  The times are given based in an average among all people.

Henna stain will also be affected by your skin type and diet.  Everyone is different, so the stain will be unique to you ever-so-slightly.

Happy Henna!

How long does henna last?

  • Palms of Hands & Bottom of Feet: 4 weeks
  • Top of Hands & Top of Feet: 2-3 weeks
  • Forearms, Shins, & Calves: 1-2 weeks
  • Upper Arms & Thighs: 1 week
  • Torso Areas: 5-7 days

Henna will vary in lasting time based on where you placed it due to the thickness of the skin in any given area.  The thicker the skin, the longer the henna will last and the darker the stain will be.