The Best Henna Kit
The Best Henna Kit
Once upon a time you could only do a henna tattoo at home if you knew how to make your own henna paste and application cone, these days all you have to do is go online and purchase a henna kit. But how do you choose the best henna kit out there? Well, you will never know until you actually buy one and try it but if you know what you’re looking for and how to choose good henna, at least you can make an informed decision based on that knowledge. I will do my best to explain in the following paragraphs the difference from one henna type to another and other factors that should be taken into consideration when buying henna products, and hopefully provide with some useful information that will come in handy on you in your quest to find the best henna kit.
What makes a henna kit the best henna kit?
Let’s start with the henna powder. Henna powder comes in all kinds of varieties from Moroccan to Rajasthani, body art quality henna to henna for hair, certified organic to non-organic, finely sifted to medium sifted to un-sifted, fresh to old and stale, high lawsone content to low lawsone content and any combination of the qualities mentioned above. For the sake of simplicity we will focus on henna for Mehndi or henna tattooing as it’s commonly known here in the west.
Almost anyone who sells henna will tell you that their henna is the best quality. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to market one’s product as a lower quality product, but how can you tell if the person selling the henna is telling the truth? It took me several years working in the henna industry to figure out the differences between henna powders and what’s more important to find reliable suppliers of what I’m looking for.
When it comes to henna for temporary tattoos you should always use body art quality henna (BAQ), but that’s not all. BAQ henna also comes in various grades. Make sure you always use finely sifted henna, which is usually sifted by hand through nylon stockings. Some companies sell henna sifted through a metal mesh, which works fine if you are using a thick applicator, but if you want to use a fine applicator tip for intricate detail, this henna will clog your applicator and create a lot of frustration. Stick to finely sifted henna.
Lawsone content, this is an important one. It’s the difference between someone proudly showing off her henna tattoo and someone silently wishing that their design was a little darker. Lawsone content is the naturally occurring “dye” in the henna leaves. The higher the content is the darker the stain. This is also the case for henna for hair but I said I wasn’t going to get into that. Lawsone content in henna can vary from less than 1% to over 3%. Personally, I prefer henna that contains over 3% lawsone for body painting; this henna creates the darkest designs. If it’s not clearly stated on the product description, call the supplier and they should be able to tell you how much lawsone there is in their henna. If they don’t know, I would suggest finding another supplier; better to play it safe.
Lastly let’s talk about the trickiest part of choosing good quality henna – freshness. How do we know if the henna we just purchased or are about to purchase is fresh and why should we care. Henna is a plant, and it works better when it’s fresh, kind of like a spice. Have you ever cooked with old, stale spices? Well, it’s the same concept. Old henna will not yield the same rich, dark stain as fresh henna. So, how can you tell if your henna is fresh? This is where your reliable supplier comes in. You pretty much have to take the word of the person you’re buying your henna from to be telling the truth that the henna is fresh. So far I have haven’t found a better way to know if the henna is fresh, but if you have a better way to tell by all means do let me know.
So let’s say we just bought 100 grams or a pound of finely sifted, 3% lawsone content, fresh, body art quality henna from a reliable source. Now we can be sure that our henna tattoos will be a success, right? Well, not exactly, we still need a good henna paste recipe and the right amount of other ingredients to make the henna paste. If you do a search on Google for a henna recipe you will see that most recipes call for lemon juice and essential oil, but the more seasoned henna artists seem to always have a “secret” ingredient and they are very unwilling to share that secret ingredient with the general public. But not to worry, now that we know how to choose the right henna, we’re going to use that knowledge to our advantage and choose the right henna kit.
How to choose the best henna kit
First of all, stay away from anything already-mixed. I didn’t want to make this article too long and that’s why I didn’t get into the process of mixing a batch of henna paste, but one of the characteristics about henna is that once mixed henna paste will only last for about 3-4 days. After that it will lose its staining power. If you’re buying something that’s already mixed it probably contains some kind of chemical dye which is what’s creating the stain and it can be very harmful to your skin.
When choosing a henna kit, stay as natural as possible. Choose organic if you can and make sure that the other ingredients in the kit are 100% natural. Make sure that the henna is fresh, finely sifted and has a high lawsone content. Lastly, make sure the kit is user friendly. Mehndi is all about having fun, and you can’t have fun if you can’t even figure out how to use your henna kit.
Henna City body painting kits are what I just described. They are made with 100% natural ingredients and finely sifted, 3.2% lawsone content, fresh BAQ Rajasthani henna. As for ease of use, check out the following video for a quick demonstration.