What is henna? Where does it come from and how does it work?
Henna is a plant (Lawsonia Inermis) that grows across Asia and North Africa. Its leaves contain lawsone, a natural dye which binds to the keratin in skin, hair and nails. To create body art a paste is made using the dried and powdered leaves of the henna tree mixed with a liquid and essential oils.
The paste is applied to the skin in a pattern and left to stain for several hours before being removed. It leaves an orange coloured stain which turns dark brown over a couple of days and stays on the skin for up to 3 weeks.
Henna (also known as “mehndi”) has been used in celebrations and beauty rituals by many cultures for millennia. Different geographic areas and communities have developed distinctive styles with different patterns, motifs and symbols.
What ingredients do you use?
Red Hand Henna uses only henna paste mixed herself using trusted ingredients:
- Organic henna powder
- Essential oil. Usually lavender oil but occasionally tea tree, frankincense, cajeput, rose or others may be used.
- Water or lemon juice.
That's all! If you have a prefence for oil blends, lemon juice or water just ask at the time of booking. Custom blends can be made in advance.
Where can I have my henna done?
Red Hand Henna is based between Falmouth, Cornwall in the UK and Normandy, France. She can be found at public events and festivals throughout the UK. Check
social media for where to find her next!
Update from Rebecca:
I have reopened the books for Summer 2021 and am taking bookings from July onwards!
Please note that while I hope and intend to honour every booking, if the Covid 19 situation changes and restrictions are tightened I may have to cancel or postpone an appointment. In the event of a cancellation due to Covid restrictions or illness, a full refund will be issued for any deposit/full payment. Meanwhile I am keeping a close eye on government advice and adhering to recommended safety measures.
It is also possible to book a private appointment which usually takes place in your own home. Because henna is a delicate art form it works best when you are somewhere comfortable and don’t have to move around much. Having henna applied should be a relaxing experience!
Quick "coffee shop" appointments can be booked for sessions under 1 hour.
How much does it cost?
At events, it is charged per design between £3 - £30
For private appointments £40 per hour. Quotes can be provided after discussioning your unique requirements. It is very hard to give a "ball park figure" without first understanding your needs!
A travel charge may be applied depending on location.
How long does it take? How many people can have henna in one appointment?
Henna is a lovely thing to have as part of wedding, birthday and baby celebrations. It can be an occasion to have your friends and family around you, some of whom may also like a henna design. The number of people who can be adorned in one sitting depends on the detail in each design.
Bridal mehndi varies the most, it can take between 2-10 hours! Discussing your requirements will help to approximate the length of your appointment.
For groups, Rebecca can comfortably do 4 relatively simple designs in 1 hour and up to 10 very simple (children's) designs in one hour. She is available for long
events if break time can be factored in.
When should I have henna applied? How long will it last?
You should plan to have your henna applied 2-3 days before the event you intend to wear it for or the day before at the latest. The fresh stain will be orange in colour which takes 2 -3 days to mature to its darkest deep brown shade.
Once the stain has peaked in colour it should last up to 2-3 weeks if aftercare advice is followed.
How do I prepare myself for henna?
Your skin should be clean, dry and free from lotions and oils the day you have the henna applied. Because you will need to keep the paste on for several hours after application and keep the skin dry up to 2 days after, it is best to get any messy jobs out of the way beforehand so that you can relax and make the most of your henna.
Where on my body can I have henna?
Henna stains best on hands and feet but it can be worn anywhere on the body. It is worth remembering that the stain will not be as dark on e.g. the shoulders as on the hands.
How long should I keep the paste on?
The longer the better! Keep yourself warm and comfortable somewhere you can be still. It's an ideal time for a Netflix binge! The paste should be kept on for a minimum of 4 hours to get a deep stain. You can even keep the paste on overnight, it will need to be carefully wrapped in something absorbent (Red Hand Henna uses layers of cotton wool and muslin) to keep the paste in place and stop excess moisture smudging the design.
How do I remove the paste?
You can pick the paste off with your fingernails or scrape it away with a teaspoon or butter knife. If the paste is stubborn you can soak it in a natural oil (e.g. olive) for a few minutes to loosen it. DO NOT WASH IT WITH WATER! Water affects the quality of the stain.
Now what? How do I look after it?
The colour will be orange at first. It takes a couple of days for the colour to reach its darkest shade. Water inhibits the oxidisation process and should be avoided entirely in the first 12-48 hours – an excellent excuse not to wash up or do any housework!
You can keep it moisturised with natural oils such as olive, coconut, cocoa butter. If you cannot avoid water, either wear protective gloves or apply a barrier balm containing beeswax such as a natural lipbalm.
Eventually of course you will need to wash your hands, just avoid using harsh soaps and especially exfoliating scrubs as much as possible. The more often you wash or rub the area, the quicker the design will fade. Likewise wearing shoes and socks all day will rub away at henna on the feet.
In a nutshell, keep your skin moisturised and avoid water and soap when possible. Take the opportunity to relax and delegate messy jobs for a few days!
Is Red Hand Henna LGBTQ friendly?
Yes! Everyone is welcome!
Do you travel?
Red Hand Henna will come to you, wherever you are. Travel charges may apply, depending on location.
Can't find what you're looking for? Don't hesitate to get in touch!