Of course there is no such thing as white henna. Or black henna. Or any colour other than the orange-red-brown-dark cherry range of real henna.
So what is this "White Henna" fad?
Gilding. That's the fancy name for it.
Instead of henna, cosmetic mica powder (the sparkly part of makeup) or cosmetic glitter are used.
There are 2 methods of gilding:
1 - Mix mica or glitter with a hair gel or aloe gel, fill a cone, apply like henna. This washes off.
2 - Fill a cone with medical acrylic adhesive, draw design, let adhesive dry just until it turns from white to clear, then delicately apply mica or glitter to the adhesive with a dry, clean brush (think makeup brush or small, flat paint brush). This lasts 3 - 10 days if not rubbed or washed aggressively.
Let’s get into some application detail:
Gilding that washes off:
1 - The most important rule is to choose a hair gel or aloe gel that is very thick. When shopping, make sure the bottle is clear so that you can do the thickness test: hold a bottle of gel upside down, shake it around… Do the little bubbles move? If so, the gel is too thin & it won’t work for gilding. If the gel is so thick that the bubbles don’t move at all, it’s a winner!
If you plan to use the gilding on other people, it’s a good idea to choose one that isn’t perfumed. This is why I use a thickened aloe gel instead of hair gel.
2 – In a small bowl, mix together approximately 4 parts gel : 1 part glitter or mica. For one small cone, that would be about 1 Tbsp gel : 1/2 tsp of powder. Mix very well. Put gel in carrot bag to fill your cone.
3 – Make sure the skin is clean before application.
4 - Seal the tip of your cone with clear tape in between use.
If you want the larger sparkle of glitter but want it to look more professional, use ½ glitter & ½ mica of the same colour.
1 – Choose between Liquid Acrylic & Cream Acrylic adhesives (or a combination of the 2!).
Liquid = thin like 1% milk so it’s very hard to use in a cone, but it dries flat against the skin & adheres longer & dries faster.
Cream = thicker consistency closer to henna paste so it’s very easy to draw on using a cone, but dries raised up from the skin so it’s easier to accidentally friction & rub, it also dries slower.
Combined = get the thickness you like!
2 – Make sure skin is clean. (an alcohol swab is recommended).
3 – Draw adhesive onto skin. You can use a traditional cone or you an paint the liquid adhesive on with a very fine artist brush. It takes a different type of hand motion, but it great for large designs.
If using Liquid Adhesive in a cone, you’ll have to periodically clean the tip with 91% alcohol.
If using Liquid Adhesive with a paint brush, you will have to re-dip the brush often to avoid the bristles from hardening & keep a small cap of 91% alcohol nearby for dipping & cleaning.
4 – Wait until the adhesive dries from white to clear.
5 – Pat the mica or glitter (or combo of both) unto the clear adhesive using a brush. After a minute, dust the powder off of the design.
The design should now be waterproof for at least 3 days, but can last up to 10 days with good care.
Use a pipette or syringe to fill cones with acrylic adhesive.
When finished with a cone, clean the tip with 91% alcohol then seal with clear tape. Though, it’s better to empty the adhesive back into an air tight container. It’s not guaranteed that the tape will stop the adhesive from drying at the tip.
When using Liquid adhesive, cut your cone tip VERY small.
Don’t try to rush by applying the glitter or mica before the adhesive is completely clear. It will just ruin your brush and the design can smudge.
Thickening Liquid Acrylic glue:
If you want the Liquid adhesive a little thicker, but not as thick as the Cream adhesive, there are a few tricks.
1 - Combine the Cream adhesive with the Liquid adhesive in the ratio that you want!
2 – Leave the cap off of the adhesive bottle & let water evaporate. You’ll have to stir twice a day. This takes a very long time. Alternatively, you can evaporate the water faster by agitating the Liquid Adhesive in an electric mixer for 9 – 10 hours. (NOT a blender). Make sure your mixer can handle it & wash IMMEDIATELY after so that the adhesive doesn’t dry on your mixer / bowl.
3 – Add a thickening agent: food starches, gelatin, guar gum, mica powder… They will need to be blended for a long time to avoid lumps and it’s an experiment at your own risk situation.
** Note: if you thicken adhesive with an agent or make a “White Henna Cone” by pre-mixing mica powder with the Acrylic Adhesive, it will not adhere to the skin as it should. It might only be waterproof for a day or two, it might even wash right off.
** Note: Pre-combining mica or glitter with Acrylic Adhesive to make a ‘ready use’ cone will also dull the sparkle & shine of the glitter & mica.
Avoid using alcohol on the design.
Avoid chlorinated pools / hot tubs.
Don’t rub oils over the design (natural or petroleum).
Pat the area dry – avoid friction.
Don’t apply to broken skin.
Don’t use around eyes or mouth.
Don’t use Acrylic Adhesive on someone who is allergic to band-aid glues.
Acrylic Glues can irritate stretched / thin / already irritated skin:
Stretched pregnant bellies, skin irritated from chemo / radiation. Do not use over radiation site.
Give these clients pre-packaged 91% alcohol swabs to remove gilding in case it’s too irritating for their skin.
90% - 91% isopropyl alcohol rubbed over design with swap / cotton pad.
Adhesive can be softened with natural oils & rubbed off (but hairs might be pulled out with it).