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Henna Tattooing

Working as a henna tattooist

Having a henna tattoo is very popular - you can enjoy the look of a funky tattoo without the worry of having to live with it permanently.

Also natural, pure henna is safe and its application is painless. It will generally fade in 2 weeks. Henna is a plant (Lawsonia inermis) grown in South Asian and North African countries.

A powder is made out of the dried, crushed leaves and mixed with water and/or lemon juice, essential oils and then used as a natural dye in the art of temporary tattooing. The paste looks like brown toothpaste and is usually applied using a cone (as in icing a cake).

All sorts of people at festivals, fetes, shows, or while they are on holiday enjoy having a henna design. From kids to grandparents, all ages delight in having their skin decorated.

Working as a Henna Tattooist

If you are artistic and have a steady hand and fancy trying your hand at henna tattooing you need to practice a lot before you start to charge for your designs.

Draw your designs out with paper and pen carefully first - there are lots of ideas online.

Next try drawing them on your own hand, foot etc. Make sure you know where your henna is from and what it contains before you use it on anyone's skin (including your own).

There are plenty of reputable companies who sell ready mixed henna cones with no nasty additives, or the pure henna powder.

The cheap shiny foil cones in various shops are not worth the risk, and at the very least will fade within days or worse may irritate, or even scar you.

Henna can be applied not only to the body, but also wood, fabric or untreated leather. henna can be used on your skin, hair and nails (beware with this as they have to grow out before you lose the henna stain!)

You can order henna cones ready made online, or mix your own. For a minimal investment you can make a good extra income by offering your services at various fetes and festivals.

Summer is the main season for henna tattoos. If you are talented with henna then word will spread. It helps if you have your own website, and use social media , i.e Facebook and Twitter to advertise.

Henna Recipe

Mixing henna for tattoos

100g henna powder

Lemon juice, or tea or coffee and water (the henna needs an acidic liquid to activate the release of the dye)

2 teaspoons essential oil ( lavender, tea tree oil, etc)

Sieve the powder (important if you doing fine designs) into a mixing bowl.

Add warm liquid little by little to form a smooth paste - stir, stir, stir! Once it has reached a paste you need to leave it at room temperature for 6-10 hours. It's a good idea to mix it at night, so you're not waiting and rushing it. It should now be a darker colour. You can test if the dye has released by putting a small spot on your palm for 5 minutes. If the spot is a bright orange colour then the henna is ready to use.

Place the paste in cones (plastic - see below on how to make your own). The henna will keep in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for 6 months.


The art of henna in India is known by the Hindi word Mehndi. Henna is used at many celebrations, such as weddings, births, religious events, traditional ceremonies and festivals such as Diwali. Many brides-to-be have henna applied to their hands and feet at pre-wedding ceremonies. The groom is also painted sometimes, or uses henna to dye his hair or beard. Henna is an important part of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh weddings in India and is said to hold blessings. It is applied for good luck as well as for beauty. It is a popular belief that the darker colour the henna goes on a bride's palm the more her mother-in-law will love her!

Henna has been around since the ancient Egyptians. Mummies have been discovered with hennaed hair and nails. It has also been used for medicinal purposes, also as a hair dye and to colour cloth, wool and leather.

A simple henna tattoo can take only 5 minutes to apply, whereas ornate and complicated bridal designs on the hands and feet can take one to two hours or longer to apply. The henna paste is moist when applied and should dry within 5-8 minutes. It is important not to smudge the design at this stage. The dry paste will automatically flake off when dry, leaving the design underneath. Generally, the henna design will remain for 1 - 3 weeks, depending on how often you wash it.

Warning : Do not try or buy any 'black henna' as it will contain chemical additives (like PPD) which can be harmful to your skin. Natural henna stains an orange to maroon colour.

Henna videos :

Designs - hennaarts.com

How to make a henna cone

Making henna paste


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