Henna is an ancient form of body art, traditionally found in a band across the globe from North Africa to Southeast Asia. Henna is a part of celebration and togetherness, and is thought to bring luck to the wearer. Henna is the Arabic word for both the art form and the plant; Mehndi is Hindu for the art form itself.
Henna is not a tattoo, since it is neither permanent nor does it penetrate into the living skin. A henna design can last for 1-4 weeks, even longer, on the outer layers of skin, and gradually fades as the skin exfoliates. The length of time that henna body art remains on the skin depends on which part of the body it is applied to and what the person does during the first day after application. Henna can only stain when it is in contact with the skin, so it is best to leave the paste on as long as possible -4 to 12 hours, longer if possible.
Since the skin of the hands and feet is thicker, more porous, and lacking in natural oils, henna colors best there.
I always mix my own henna paste so that my clients can be absolutely certain there are no questionable ingredients in the paste I am using!
Henna always stains in shades of reddish brown, from pumpkin or peanut butter to black cherry and espresso. Real, safe, natural henna needs time for the color to develop its full richness, and with proper aftercare, your henna design can last several weeks.
Recently there has been more interest in henna which has led to industrially-produced products being sold in shops and online as 'henna'. Unfortunately none of these 'instant mehndi' or 'emergency mehndi' cones are in fact real henna, and most have dangerous chemicals added to them to help them stain the skin. Real henna has a shelf life of about a week, so anything that sits around in a container ship or a store must contain some other ingredient that is staining the skin, and in the countries where these are produced, cosmetic regulations are not as strict as in the USA or EU. Thus, stay away from ANY so-called henna product that has not been mixed fresh by someone you trust. Any henna artist should mix her own paste and should be able to tell you what is in it, and there should be no mystery ingredients or substances like benzine added that are not meant for the skin!
Black henna is NOT real henna, is TOXIC, and I strongly advise clients to avoid it - see warnings under „black henna/schwarzes Henna“ on this site. Pictures of my work which look black are pictures where the paste was still on the skin.