Homemade Henna Part 2: Application

Homemade HennaIf you haven’t read part 1, do it now! I shared the recipe I use to make henna paste.

So now that you have a bowl full of sticky, potent, henna dye it’s time to apply it to your skin! There are two methods of application, cone or bottles. When I first started doing henna, many years ago my parents bought me a kit that included plastic bottles and metal tips. Since I have kept and cleaned the bottles I never explored using the cones. I’ve read that the bottles are a bit more manageable for beginners, and you can achieve many line thicknesses with different tips. Henna Caravan has a variety of application options for decent prices. Amazon does as well: cones, bottles.

During the process of handling the paste remember that it is DYE and will DYE whatever it comes into contact with! It’s a good idea to wear gloves while you prepare the applicator and keep paper towels handy.

To prepare for application, take your henna paste and begin to thin it out with lemon juice. You want the paste to flow smoothly though your applicator. In the video below you can see that my applicator keeps getting clogged. You want the paste to be thin enough to be pour-able, but not so thin that it’s no longer sticky. Once the paste is a nice consistency spoon it into the bottle, and snap on the tip. Practice a bit on paper to see that the paste flows well, if it’s too thick add some lemon juice. If it’s too runny, add more of the undiluted henna paste.

When you’re ready to apply henna to the skin, make sure the skin is clean and dry. Different areas of skin will take the dye differently, since it works by dyeing the layers of the epidermis the thicker the skin the darker the stain. Palms of the hands, soles of the feet etc dye darkly, thighs, forearms etc dye more lightly.

Watch me draw out a wrist design below:

I still had quite a bit of henna left in my applicator bottle, so I turned on a movie and started doodling on my thigh. Here is how it turned out:

Homemade HennaWhile the henna paste is wet it is actively dyeing your skin, as soon as it becomes hard and flaky that process has stopped. To keep the paste wet, dip a cotton ball in lemon juice, wring it out so it’s not dripping, and gently dab the design. You can also fill a small spray bottle with lemon juice, but I think the cotton ball method works better, especially if you are only trying to re-wet a certain area.

Keep the henna paste on your skin for as long as possible! I often apply the design at night and keep it on while I sleep. To insure I don’t disturb the paste I take apart cotton balls and press them against the paste, and wrap the whole thing with plastic wrap.

When it’s time to remove the dried paste, don’t use water or other abrasive tools. I usually just use my fingernails, and scrape away any of the paste. Use caution, as the flakes of dried henna can still dye unintended items. Once all the dried paste is removed admire your gorgeous design!

When first revealed the stain usually looks much more orange, but will continue to darken for the next 24 hours:

Homemade Henna

Homemade Henna

Homemade Henna

How long the design will last depends on how quickly the skin is exfoliated. Water, abrasion, touching, lotions, etc will diminish the stain. My wrist design lasted about 2 1/2 weeks before it was faded enough that I used a pumice stone to remove the remains.


The design on my thigh since it was far more protected, lasted almost a month before it was faded enough I could exfoliated the remains away. Tomorrow in part 3 I will have tons of design ideas for you plus a vector giveaway!

What are your thoughts so far? Have I inspired you to try it out? Does it seems like a lot of work for a tattoo that lasts a couple of weeks? Think the sepia tone wouldn’t look good next to your own awesome real tattoos? Leave me a comment below!

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