If you fancy making henna paste and creating your own designs, it really is quite simple! You just need to ensure that you use the best quality products.
You will need:
50g henna powder, triple sifted. Ensure that the powder is fresh and not one that has been left on a shelf for a long period of time, as this will affect the quality of the powder over time. You can see the date and year it was harvested on the packet. 33g of henna will make approximately 5 henna cones.
15ml Pure Essential Oil. There are four 'master' oils that strengthen the stain of henna, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Cajeput. It's always advisable to test on skin first as some oils may cause irritation for certain skin-types. For pregnant women and children, Lavender is recommended.
Warm (not boiling) water and/or lemon juice. Lemon juice can darken the stain but it does take longer for dye to release.
In a non-metallic bowl, pour in the powder, sugar and essential oil and mix with a spatula for approximately a minute. Next add the water and/or lemon juice. You should be aiming for a toothpaste consistency but the trick is to make it thick to begin with, and then add more later if need be. Mix until it's a smooth paste. Any lumps from the paste will dissolve as the dye releases so do not worry too much about every natural lump you find even after mixing well.
Dye Release- note the colour of the henna under should be lighter.
Let the henna sit covered for a few hours. Depending on the climate and the powder, the paste may release faster/slower so it is always best to test for five minutes on a patch of skin before deciding if it's ready. You should get an immediate stain if this is the case. I usually leave the paste overnight to ensure the best results. Mix once more before piping into your cones.
Testing to see if paste is ready:
You should get a pumpkin-orange stain after testing on skin for five minutes.
Once you have made your henna cones, refrigerate immediately and use within a week for best stain results. You can also freeze henna for up to 6 months, but please bear in mind that the continuous thawing and re-freezing of cones will impact on quality of henna.