This page is for henna on the skin. Click the banner below for hair henna instructions.
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.
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!
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 often 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. 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.
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. This can eliminate the need for a sealer. 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 and helps preserve your henna paste. Essential oils are very potent and should be treated with care. 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.
***More about essential oils are further down this page.***
Print How to Mix Henna Powder Instructions Here
This page is for henna on the skin. Click the banner below for hair henna instructions.
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 the best option 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)
If getting really dark color is important or you are doing henna on others for money, use 1 oz of oil per 100 grams of henna. For a hobbyist, less oil is fine.
- 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.
- Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap down on top of the henna until it touches.
- 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
- 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.
- 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, between thick cake batter and brownie batter, or thicker than honey. Ideally, the henna should ribbon off your spoon forming peaks that very slowly melt or slump.
- Once your consistency is perfect, strain the henna (optional). 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. In the past, I would 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 of 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! When we are occasionally out of ORa, I generally use Jamila, which is a lovely henna that is the first professional-grade henna I had ever used.
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 together to a consistency of thick mash potatoes. For 100 grams of ORa, I use 30mL (1 oz or 2 Tablespoons), and a tablespoon of sugar (here in Orlando FL we are humid, so I don't need much). In much of the rest of the country 2 Tablespoons is likely a good ratio for you.
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. 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.
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.
In the past, I've mixed equal parts Jamila and ORa henna. Though I prefer using all ORa henna like the recipe above, if you like your henna less stringy this is a good option for you. 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.
Print How to Mix Henna Powder Instructions Here
How To Store Henna
Henna is perishable and must be stored properly to leave good color.
Old henna is great for practicing henna designs, but never use old henna on
paying clients or when you want a good henna stain.
- Henna Powder Storage
Unopened henna powder can be stored in any cool dry place for 3-5 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 this process, so be diligent with storing henna paste.
More About Essential Oils in Henna Paste
Are essential oils needed to mix henna? Technically, no, they aren't required, 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 all oils containing these compunds are skin 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.
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 distillation method. Choose oils that are specifically sourced to be for henna.
- Tea Tree
- Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)
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 henna paste. A great smelling paste is a delight for you and for your clients. Essential oils also act as a
preservative to keep the paste from paste-demise too quickly. Henna paste with essential oils will last about four times longer than henna paste without essential oils.
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 no joke and can be harmful! If you are in doubt about the safety of EOs and a client, leave them out. You won't get as dark of color, but safety is always first.
They are also 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.
Essential oils are the most expensive part of your henna paste, so using the least amount you need saves you money.
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. This is the maximum amount of oil that is safe for henna use.
If you are a professional henna artist and are charging people for henna, or if dark color is really important to you,
use 1 ounce (30 mL) of oil for every 100 grams of henna.
If you bought a kit, you don't have to worry about measurements, just keep the ratio of henna to oil.
- If you mix the entire bag of henna, add ALL the essential oils from the kit.
- If you mix half a bag of henna, add half of each bottle of oil.
- If you mix a quarter of the bag of henna, add a quarter of each bottle of oil.
- ...and so on! Easy peasy!
Here is a chart that will be useful if you prefer a more precise measurement...
1 1/4 tea
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, 30 mL essential oils (15 mL EACH of lavender and tea tree oils), and 25 cello triangles so you
can roll your own henna cones.