There is so much information on the internet, and we all know that everything on the internet is true, right? Ha ha ha...
For thousands of years, the mixing and usage techniques of henna was based of tradition & legends instead of science; for this reason, there is a ton of bad information out there. So ignore the person who tells you to drink henna tea (please don't ever eat henna!), be afraid of the person who wants you to soak you skin in toxic chemicals and laugh at the person who says to dance naked around a fire on the full moon all in the name of darker henna stain.
The science of henna is simple and making a great henna paste is easy. Just follow the these steps:
For Body Art:
1. Place 25g of henna powder (~2 heaping tablespoons) in a bowl. (don't use stainless steel).
2.Mix with enough acidic liquid to make a thick paste (think thin mashed potatoes or super thick yogurt consistency).
2.b. Option: add no more than 1 TEAspoon of a high terpinol, safe essential oil. (check my website). Mix well.
2.c. Option: add about 1 tsp of sugar. Table sugar, fructose or even molasses!
3. Cover airtight with plastic wrap (press the plastic against the paste) or seal paste airtight in a zip lock bag. (ie: protect paste from the air).
4. Let henna sit in a warm location (but covered from direct sunlight) until there is dye release
5. Dilute the paste to the consistency you want to work with. You can use distilled water or more lemon juice).
6. Put paste in a large carrot bag, use carrot bag to fill your cones.
7. Store in freezer all cones / henna paste that is not going to be used right away. For larger batches, just use the same henna to essential oil ratio.
Step 2: Omit essentail oil & sugar.
Step 5: Use distilled or RO water to thin the paste after dye release. Especially if you are mixing your henna with indigo.
Checking for Dye Release:
You can place a piece of paper towel over the covered henna paste (directly on top of the plastic wrap). When the paper towel turns orange, dye release has begun. That doesn’t mean it’s complete, though. Every hour after your henna paste stains the paper towel, do the skin patch test. Leaving a blob of henna on your palm for 1 minute, you should get a very bright orange stain when dye release is complete. This eliminates the guessing game for beginners & if the temperature in your house is super fluctuating or drafty.
Filling Your Henna Cones:
To make sure you have no lumps or clumps that will clog your henna cones, the best thing to use is a nylon stocking. I hurts to have to be this obvious, but... make sure it’s new, clean and without runs or holes.
Ok, so you’re going to place your large carrot bag in a large glass or jar so that the edge of the bag is flipped over the rim your vessel. Now put your nylon inside the carrot bag & flip it’s end over the lip of the vessel. Fill the carrot bag that is not lined with the stocking. Pick both up together from the ends, give the carrot bag a a really good twist, hold the twisted end of the carrot bag really tight while you pull the nylon stocking out. Now you have perfectly strained paste to fill your body art (or eyebrow dyeing) cones!