How to Use Henna Powder

by Lanh Ma

Henna has been used as an dye to color hair and skin for thousands of years. Using henna, you can add a lovely tint to your hair or create temporary tattoos on your skin. Henna powder, depending on its preparation, can be used for hair dye or for skin decoration.

Items you will need

  • Henna powder
  • Plastic bowl
  • Plastic spoon
  • Lemon juice
  • Towel
  • Plastic gloves
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sugar
  • Small resealable plastic bag
  • Toothpick

Hair Dye

Step 1

Determine how much henna powder you need. If you have hair that falls to your collarbones or above, about 100 grams will be appropriate. 200 grams is enough for hair that goes halfway down your back, and 400 grams is enough for hair that is waist length.

Step 2

Put your henna powder in a plastic bowl.

Step 3

Add lemon juice slowly--while stirring with your plastic spoon--until you have attained a smooth, thick paste. You are looking for a paste that feels a little like toothpaste. It should be a greenish color at this point.

Step 4

Cover the bowl with a towel. Let it sit for a full day. When you look at it again, it should be a brownish color. The dye is releasing from the henna powder.

Step 5

Add lemon juice while stirring until you have a yogurt-like texture.

Step 6

Cover your shoulders with a towel.

Step 7

Put on your plastic gloves.

Step 8

Work the henna paste thoroughly into your hair.

Step 9

Allow the henna paste to sit in your hair for two hours.

Step 10

Rinse the henna paste out of your hair. Keep your head under the water until the water runs clear.

Body Decoration

Step 1

Put on your plastic gloves.

Step 2

Measure out 20 grams of henna powder into your glass bowl.

Step 3

Add ¼ cup of lemon juice to the henna powder very slowly.

Step 4

Mix the henna powder and lemon juice with a plastic spoon until they are completely blended. There should be no remaining lumps of dry powder.

Step 5

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap down to the surface of the paste. Press out any air pockets that you can see to create a seal.

Step 6

Set the bowl in a warm place for 12 hours.

Step 7

Remove the plastic wrap.

Step 8

Add 1½ teaspoons of sugar.

Step 9

Stir the paste until it attains a smooth texture.

Step 10

Cover the bowl in plastic wrap, once again pressing the plastic down to the paste. Press out any air pockets.

Step 11

Set the bowl in a warm place for 12 hours.

Step 12

Remove the plastic wrap.

Step 13

Poke a very small hole in the bottom corner of your plastic bag with a toothpick.

Step 14

Spoon the henna paste into your plastic bag; seal it up.

Step 15

Draw designs on your body by squeezing the paste out of the hole in the plastic bag. Vary the pressure to get a wider or narrower line.

Step 16

Allow the paste to sit on your skin until it is dry and crumbly. Usually, this will take about an hour.

Step 17

Wash the paste off of the skin. You should have a pale orange design underneath that will darken as it ages.

Tips

  • The fresher your henna powder is, the stronger the results are going to be. Head to local health food shops and Indian grocery stores for fresh henna.

    You can vary the hair color that you get by adding different ingredients to your henna paste. To get a redder result, try adding ground cloves or a dash of cognac. To get a browner result, try adding strong black tea or walnut powder. To get a color that is more golden, try adding turmeric or chamomile tea.

    Before you apply a henna tattoo, make sure that you are comfortable having it there for up to two or three weeks.

Warnings

  • Henna will never lighten your hair. It can add reddish highlights to dark hair that might make it look a little lighter, but it will not turn black hair to brown.

    Henna is a fairly strong dye, so make sure that you do not allow it to touch your clothing or your furniture.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images