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How to Make Henna Paste
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How to Make Henna Paste
Henna tree is also called the Egyptian Privet or Mignonette tree. It is a flowering plant that belongs to the species of Lawsonia Genus. The name henna is derived from the Arabic word Hinna . Henna is a tall shrub that is indigenous to North Africa, Western and Southern Asia, Northern Australasia, semi arid zones and tropical countries. The plant produces the maximum dye when cultivated in temperatures within 35 to 45 degree centigrade and also during monsoons.
The compound Lawsone present in the henna leaf is the actual dye. If you use whole henna leaves you will not get any colour. When fresh henna leaves are mashed along with some mild acidic liquid then the Lawsone molecules are released. The molecules bind the proteins in the skin thus leaving behind the beautiful red colour.
Henna is usually sold as a dry powder made by drying, milling and sifting the leaves. The henna powder has to be blended with lemon juice and strong tea and other liquids with acidic content to get the silky smooth consistency. It is best to leave the henna paste to rest for six to twenty four hours to release the dye. Essential oils with high levels of monoterpene alcohol like tea tree, lavender, Cajeput and Eucalyptus if added to the henna paste will give you a darkcolour. Now the paste is ready to be applied to your palms and feet to create intricate designs. When the paste has dried off, dab it with sugar and lemon juice solution to increase the intensity of the colour. Slowly, you will see the dried henna falling off from your hands leaving behind the orange hue, which will gradually become reddish brown. You can also scrape off the dried paste from the hand with a blunt edge of the knife. Be careful not to hurt yourself!
Avoid using soaps and chlorinated water as it hinders the darkening of the colour. Steaming or warming your hands post application helps to darken the colour. Always make the henna paste at home to create your tattoos and mehendi. This will prevent you from harsh chemicals that are used in the readymade cones sold in the market.
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