Henna is a natural plant dye. Henna paste is made with powdered Henna leaves, water/lemon juice, and essential oils. The paste is applied to the skin. Please find below some helpful instructions and hints & tips at achieving a dark Henna stain:

Once the Henna has been applied, allow it to dry to the touch, and then dab it (using a cotton ball) with a mixture of lemon juice and sugar in order to seal it. You can make the sealant mixture using 2 tsp of sugar per half a squeezed lemon – you can also use bottled lemon juice.

Heat is a good friend of Henna. Make sure to keep the skin as warm as possible whilst the paste is on.

I recommend leaving the Henna on the skin for 4 to 8 hours, but up to 12 hours is great as well. The longer the paste stays on, the darker and longer lasting the stain will be.


When taking off the dried paste, you can use any vegetable-based oil to help moisten and remove the paste e.g. olive oil. You can also use this oil to then get rid of any sticky residue from the lemon/sugar sealant, after which, you can wipe the oil off with some tissue.

It is recommended that you limit water contact with the Henna stain for as long as possible after the paste has been removed e.g. for the next 24 hours. Understandably, this is not always possible, if you can avoid extensive scrubbing or the use of soap or lotions, this would be great.

It is recommended that you keep the stained skin as warm as you can for the next 24 hours as well.

The henna stain will be pumpkin orange when you first take the paste off. This should then darken to a dark red/maroon/brown colour over the next 2-4 days. Here’s some further info on how this works:

Henna stains the layers of dead cells on your skin. Wherever you have thicker skin, it will have more cell layers to stain and thus these parts of your body will always stain darker, e.g. palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The initial stain once the paste has been taken off is a pumpkin orange colour. Once the paste has been taken off, the henna stain will react with the oxygen in the air, and start to oxidise. It is this oxidization process that causes the orange stain to darken to a rich maroon/brown colour. The actual colour of the mature stain very much depends on a person’s body and skin chemistry. Henna fades as the skin cells it has stained are exfoliated away. This is why it is recommended that you limit water, soap and lotion contact, as well as extensive scrubbing when you’ve had Henna done, but especially in the time-period when its getting darker.