You are here: Home > Henna Learning Center > How to Mix Henna Powder

How to Mix Henna Powder Instructions

Learn how to make henna paste on your own for great staining, easy-to-work with mehndi paste. When making henna paste, one hundred grams of henna powder will easily yield 75-200 henna tattoos depending on the size of the designs you create. It’s common for experienced henna artists to get over 300 designs from 100 grams of henna.

Learn to mix the perfect henna paste on your own for great staining, easy-to-work with mehndi paste.

If you are new to henna, do not mix the entire bag at once. Only mix 1/4 or 1/3 of your henna at a time, so you can play with your henna recipe to find what works best for you.

Practice Makes Perfect!

Henna is like cooking. It can take some time to get it perfect, yet you still get to have some fun getting to your perfect henna mix. Relax and have fun with your henna!

Below are a couple of different henna recipes for mixing henna, but they all have the same ingredients. In order to create the best possible henna mix for you, it helps to understand why you add these specific ingredients, so let’s start there!

  • Quality Henna Powder
For henna to be used on the skin, you must use fresh high-quality body art quality henna (BAQ). Never use hair henna and never use random henna powder that you find a grocery store. Hair henna is a lower quality henna powder and nearly always has metallic slats or chemicals added to it (even if it claims to be all natural). Random henna powder from a questionable source is rarely stored properly and therefore not fresh. This is why you can be confident when you buy from us! We KNOW henna!

  • Lemon Juice (bottled is fine)
Obviously, you need some sort of liquid to make your henna powder into a paste. Lemon juice is a great acidic liquid that allows the lawsone dye molecules to be released from the henna in a slow controlled fashion. A nice slow controlled dye release leads to a stable henna paste that doesn’t demise too quickly.

If you use something other than lemon juice, the dye release time can be drastically different. Water or tea will release dye MUCH quicker, potentially leading to a less stable paste.

  • Sugar
Adding sugar to your henna powder is optional. Sugar makes the henna stay wet against the skin longer, stick to the skin better, and makes the henna more flexible thus helping you achieve a darker stain. It also helps give your henna a great consistency. You may find you like more or less sugar with different brands of henna. This is not absolutely needed (especially in more humid climates), so feel free to try mixing your henna without sugar.

  • Lavender & Tea Tree Essential Oils
Both lavender and tea tree oils have monoterpene alcohols which will help release more of the lawsone dye in henna resulting in a darker stain. Adding these oils also adds a lovely scent to your henna. Essential oils are very potent and strong. Use the minimum amount of oil you need to create a good mix. Never add more than 1 ounce (30 mL) of oil per 100 grams of henna.

Print How to Mix Henna Powder Instructions Here


Super Simple Beachcombers Henna Recipe - 1 Step Henna Recipe

New to henna? USE THIS! This single step recipe keeps mixing henna simple and easy because you add all the ingredients at once. This recipe can be used for any henna, but is best for short dye release hennas (less than 24 hours). This is the recipe I personally use.

  • 100 grams quality henna powder
  • Lemon Juice (1 1/4 -1 1/2 cups or so)
  • Sugar (none or up to 2 Tablespoons - more in dry climates)
  • Equal Parts Lavender & Tea Tree Oils (1/3-1oz)
  1. Put henna and sugar into a bowl and mix lemon juice and essential oils into the powder/sugar until you reach a thick mashed potato consistency. I use a glass mixing bowl as it cleans up easily and doesn’t stain or retain scent.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap down on top of the henna until it touches.
  3. Set aside to await dye release. Dye release time vary according to the type of henna you use and the temperature. The warmer it is, the quicker your dye release. Colder temperatures require longer time.
    • ORa Rajasthani: generally 6-16 hours
    • Jamila Henna: generally 24-36 hours
    • General Henna: generally 4-24 hours
  4. Check for dye release every 4-6 hours. Place a dot of henna on the heel of your hand and wait 5 minutes then wipe it away. If you have a nice orange stain, you have achieved dye release.
  5. Once dye release has been verified, add more lemon juice to reach the consistency that you personally like. You are looking for something along the lines of stirred yogurt, thick cake batter, or thicker than honey. Ideally, the henna should ribbon off your spoon forming peaks that very slowly melt or slump.
  6. Once your consistency is perfect, strain your henna. Put your henna in individual cones and freeze until you are ready to use.


Beachcombers Favorite Henna Recipe - 2 Step Henna Recipe

This 2 step recipe gives you a bit more control over your henna texture. You mix the henna and lemon juice first, then add sugar and essential oils later. This recipe is the best for long-dye release hennas (anything over 12 hours), but not as good for shorter dye release hennas.

  • 100 grams quality henna powder
  • Lemon Juice (1 1/4 -1 1/2 cups or so)
  • Sugar (none or up to 2 Tablespoons - more in dry climates)
  • Equal Parts Lavender & Tea Tree Oils (1/3-1oz)
  1. Mix henna powder and lemon juice until you reach a thick mashed potato consistency. I use a glass mixing bowl as it cleans up easily and doesn’t stain or retain scent.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap down on top of the henna until it touches.
  3. Set aside to await dye release. Dye release time vary according to the type of henna you use and the temperature. The warmer it is the quicker your dye release. Colder temperatures require longer time.
    • ORa Rajasthani: generally 6-24 hours
    • Jamila Henna: generally 24-48 hours
    • General Henna: generally 4-24 hours
  4. Check for dye release every 4-6 hours. Place a dot of henna on the heel of your hand and wait 5 minutes then wipe it away. If you have a nice orange stain, you have achieved dye release.
  5. Once dye release has been verified, or at approximately 12 hours (whichever comes first), add sugar and essential oils. Allow your henna sit for another 2-12 hours (depending on the henna).
  6. If needed, add more lemon juice to reach the consistency that you personally like. You are looking for something along the lines of stirred yogurt, thick cake batter, or thicker than honey. Ideally, the henna should ribbon off your spoon forming peaks that very slowly melt or slump.
  7. Once your consistency is perfect, strain your henna. Put your henna in individual cones and freeze until you are ready to use.

The Easy-Peasy Jody Method

This is essentially the same Super Simple recipe from above, but in a more conversational tone. It's easy to over-think things and stress about the details. "Following" me while I mix henna may help!

I am quite casual about mixing my henna, yet I get great consistent color EVERY time. I used to stress and freak out over every detail! I’d even wake up in the middle of the night to check on my dye release. Once I finally let go of that craziness, I started getting amazing results from my henna.

I don’t measure the lemon juice and I don’t worry too much about timing. I normally use ORa Rajasthani henna with equal amounts lavender and tea tree oils. I can’t express how much I love our ORa henna! It’s so easy to get great color with it! *We are currently sold out of ORa henna so I'm using our Ibis henna. I see zero difference in texture or color so I LOVE it!


Here is a step by step guide to how I actually mix my henna…

In the morning before heading to work, I mix ORa henna, lemon juice, a little bit of sugar and equal parts lavender and tea tree oil all together to a consistency of thick mash potatoes. For 100 grams of ORa, I use 20mL or 2/3 ounces of oils, and a tablespoon of sugar (here in Orlando FL we are humid, so I don't need much).

I use a glass mixing bowl because it’s easy to clean, doesn’t stain, and doesn’t retain the scent of the essential oils.

I press plastic wrap down on the henna, and place the bowl in the cabinet under my kitchen island.

When I get home from work, I tweak the texture of my henna by adding more lemon juice. Sometimes, as I add the lemon juice (a little at at time), I use a hand beater and beat my paste. If you beat the heck out of your henna paste, it came tame a bit of the "string." It's not absolutely needed, but it's an option you can use.

Once it’s the perfect texture (thicker than pancake batter but not as thick as brownie batter), I strain the henna and cone it up. This means I put the paste in individual henna cones that I roll from our pre-cut cello triangles.

I place the cones in a Ziplock bag with a piece of paper that has the date and the ingredients of the mix and put them in the freezer.

DONE!

Make note...if I’m mixing Jamila henna, the time table is a bit different. I’ll stretch this out to be at least a full 24 hours and up to 48 hours. Jamila is very forgiving about time. I once forgot about my henna in the cabinet for 3 days and still got awesome results.

I sometimes mix equal parts Jamila and ORa henna. Since both hennas have drastically different dye release times, I mix them separately and then mix them together just before I strain the henna. This melds the pastes perfectly together to create a little bit of henna heaven!

Print How to Mix Henna Powder Instructions Here

How To Store Henna

Henna is perishable and must be stored properly to leave good color.

  • Henna Powder Storage
    Unopened henna powder can be stored in any cool dry place for three years. For long term storage, put it in the freezer.

    Once you open henna powder, expose as little henna as possible to the air and wrap it tightly for storing. Again, store in a cool dry place or the freezer. Be absolutely sure that no condensation can get into the henna powder.
  • Henna Paste
    If using henna paste within a few days, storing the paste in the refrigerator is fine. Anything longer than a few days should be stored in the freezer to keep it fresh. It only takes about 15 minutes to thaw a henna cone. Do not leave henna out at room temperature longer than necessary.

    Henna can be unpredictable. I have used henna that was left in the fridge for over 3 weeks and got great color, however I've used henna that was in the fridge for only 4 days and got terrible color. Much of this is due to where the henna is in it's dye release process. There is no way to see where exactly the henna is in the process, so be diligent with storing henna paste.
Old henna is great for practicing henna designs, but never use old henna on paying clients or when you want a good henna stain.


More About Essential Oils in Henna Paste

Are essential oils needed to mix henna? Technically, no, they aren't, but if you want great henna stains, the right essential oils are necessary.

Essential oils (EOs) can make henna stains substantially darker, but only the right EOs will help your henna paste. Essential oils need monoterpene alcohols to create darker henna stains. These terpenes are hydrocarbon solvents and that is what releases more of the dye in henna. Safe terpenes include terpineol, geraniol, cineol, cedrol, and linalool, but not oils containing these are safe.

Don't worry about these technical names. Below is a list of oils that work well and are safe for the skin. Yes, there are a few others that are moderately helpful, but these are high-performance mehndi oils that are very safe and reasonably priced. Cooking oils and random essential oils will NOT work.

  • Tea Tree
  • Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)
  • Cajeput
  • Ravensara
  • Geranium
It's also important to use oils from a quality source to be sure you are getting something pure and high quality that will help your henna rather than hurt it. Within these oils, the terpenes can vary by region and distillery method.

Our oils are sourced and tested to be safe, and they work well to get the best possible color from henna.

Oils also have a life span and can become less potent over time. Our oils are never more than one month old. If you are storing your oils for more than a few months, they should be stored in the refrigerator.

Are there additional reasons to add essential mehndi oils to henna powder?

Yes! Essential oils add scent to henna paste and help preserve paste. Essential oils thin henna paste and create a smooth silky paste. A paste that smells good is always a plus! Essential oils also act as a preservative to keep the paste from paste-demise too quickly.


How much oil do I mix into henna powder?

Great question! Use the least amount of oils you need to get good color.

Essential oils are the most expensive part of your henna paste, so using the least amount you need saves you money. Essential oils are also VERY powerful and are the ingredient in your henna paste that is most likely to cause a reaction. Having the mildest possible henna mix is best for your customers.

Most of our kits come with the minimum amount of oil to get good henna color (10 mL per 100 grams). You can triple the essential oils to get even darker henna stains.

Generally you need 10-30 mL (1/3-1 ounce) of oil per 100 grams of henna powder. Do not use more than 30mL (1 ounce) of oil per 100 grams of henna powder. The better the henna powder the less oil you need to get great color.

If you are a professional henna artist and are charging people for henna or dark color is really important to you, use 1 ounce (30 mL) of oil for every 100 grams of henna.


When do I mix the essential oils into the henna?

You can mix the oils in using a one step method or a two step method. The one step method is simply adding the powder, liquid, oils, and sugar all at the same time. The two step method lets you add your liquid and sugar in first then wait for 4-12 hours (depending on dye release time of the henna powder you are using) then add the oils into the paste. Which method you use depends on what type of henna you use, what liquid you mix with your powder, and personal preference.

- Type of Henna Powder
Essential oils need time to do the job of drawing out more lawsone (dye) from the henna. Different henna powders have different dye release times. Henna with short dye release times (less than 12 hours), should use the one step method, adding all paste ingredients into the paste at the same time. Henna with longer dye release times, like Jamila, can use either the one step method or the two step method.

- Liquid in the Henna Mix
If you use lemon juice to mix henna, you can use either the one-step method or the two step method (lemon juice is my strong suggestion). If you are mixing henna powder with water or tea, use the one step method. Water will force the henna to release dye much quicker than lemon juice. If you use the two step method, you may miss optimum dye release.

- Personal Preference
If you are new to henna, make it easy on yourself and use the one step method. I, personally, use the one step method. It's convenient and works great every time.

If you like the idea of really focusing on controlling your henna mix, you can try the two step method. this adds an unnecessary layer of complication, but some people like it.


What oils do you personally use in your henna paste?

I use equal amounts of tea tree and lavender oil and I use 30 mL of oil per 100 grams of henna. The smell is positively divine and I get superb color. I use ORa henna powder, lemon juice, a bit of sugar, and tea tree/lavender oil in my henna paste.

You can buy a henna refill kit here that includes 100 grams of ORa henna powder, 15 mL EACH of lavender and tea tree oils, and 25 cello triangles so you can roll your own henna cones.