Henna is a herb-like plant that has been used for thousands of years for its skin dying properties. The paste made with this herb is used all over the world to create semi-permanent tattoos. These harmless tattoos are created by allowing the henna paste to dry on the skin for several hours before washing it off. The best thing about these orange-brown coloured tattoos is that unlike traditional tattoos injected under the skin, they are temporary, lasting anywhere from a week to a month. The longevity of henna tattoos depend upon the strength of your paste as well as on how you care for them after application. Moreover, body chemistry, your body temperature and the location on the body also have a bearing on how dark your tattoo will be. Drier skin on your hands and feet gets a darker colour as compared to the softer skin on the back of your hands and feet or on the upper arms and legs.
Refrain from touching
Do not touch the tattoo until the paste has completely dried.
Apply a fixative
To prevent your dried henna from cracking, apply a fixer over it. The most common way to make the paste stay longer on your skin is applying a mixture of sugar, water and lemon juice onto the design. You can also use hair spray, gel or various other products to avoid cracking.
Leave henna paste on for as long as possible
Let the henna paste stay on your skin for as long as possible (at least eight hours). Allowing the paste to stay on your skin for long results in darker and long lasting tattoos. Let the paste stay overnight for optimal results.
Wrap it up
Wrap the area with henna design in a paper, medical tape or elastic bandage to avoid smearing. You can also use gloves as protection for tattoos on your hands.
Heat and moisture may help
Henna leaves a stronger colour if your body temperature is high. Drink something hot, like tea or coffee before you start to normalize your body temperature. For best results you can also steam the area while the paste is on.
Avoid water when removing paste
Do not use water to remove dried henna paste; this may fade your tattoo colour. Instead use olive oil or lemon juice to remove it. You can also remove the dried paste by gently scraping it off.
After removing the paste, apply a natural oil (olive oil or butter) instead of over-the-counter moisturizers to avoid exfoliation.