Island Girl | 68 1/2 Main Street | Delhi NY 13753 | US

(607) 434-7389

Island Girl Body Art

timeless. temporary.

The Art of Henna

Henna tattoos and how to care for henna stains

What is it? How does it work?

Henna is a plant whose dried leaves have the ability to stain. When mixed properly, henna paste can dye the skin safely lasting from a few days up to three weeks depending on placement and aftercare.

​Island Girl's henna paste is blended in-house using the finest organic ingredients. Since all henna is applied freehand, custom ideas are most welcome. Have an idea for a permanent tattoo but want to try it in temporary henna first? I've created many henna 'tattoos' for folks wanting to test their idea first.

Henna body art (often referred to as henna tattoos) is fun and pain-free. No needles are used. I apply henna on the skin freehand - without stencils - similar to decorating a cake. Sometimes it tickles. Cosmetic-grade, biodegradable glitter is available to adorn your new henna design and will stay in place as long as the paste is on your skin. 

The paste is removed after several hours creating an orange stain that takes 2 days to reach the darkest, rich auburn color. Henna can last a few weeks, gradually fading as the skin exfoliates.

Henna only stains the keratin (top layers of skin). Tougher skin is best for a darker, long-lasting stain. This makes the palms of the hands and soles of the feet the best place for a dark stain. Yes, you read that right! Thinner skin only creates a light stain that fades fast. Stain duration is determined by body temperature and chemistry, skin type, lifestyle, where the henna is applied and how well it's taken care of. Water, especially chlorinated water, is the fastest way to fade a henna stain.

Major Considerations & Henna for your Special Day

  • Schedule a henna appointment 2-3 days prior to the big day for the darkest stain with the most definition. For example, if your event is on Saturday, the best time to be hennaed is Wednesday - Thursday.  
  • If you plan on having both your palms hennaed on the same day arrange for a chauffeur and someone to assist you with ordinary tasks like change clothes, pick an item up, eat, drink... and be merry!
  • You will achieve the best henna stain if you plan to leave it on overnight. Henna needs to be wrapped for protection.
  • Traditional Full Bridal Henna can take 5 or more hours.
  • The bride's henna is done first, before guests arrive so the bride can fully enjoy the party. One or two close friends are welcome. 
  • Guest henna is done after the bride's henna and can be during the party.
  • If the bride's henna is being done in a party atmosphere, a close friend of the bride will be recruited as a guard to assure no one comes close enough to cause the bride to move. Freehand art on a moving target isn't clean and takes longer, increasing cost. 


Achieving the Best Results...

The more of these steps you take, the better results you'll have for the darkest stain possible. These instructions are specific to Island Girl's organic henna.  

Days up to Henna Application

  • Waxing/ Shaving: Hair must be removed from any area receiving henna 2 days before henna application.
  • Manicures/ Pedicures: Should be done before you receive henna. Soaking and polish remover will fade your henna stain.
  •  Spray Tans: Henna cannot penetrate the spray tan - resulting in no stain.

Day of Henna Application

  •  Bathe the area before receiving henna. Do not apply cream, lotion, moisturizer, sunscreen or makeup on area to be hennaed.
  •  Plan to leave the henna paste on your skin for 6 hours, or longer, if possible. There are no stain guarantees if removed sooner.
  • When the henna is dry (before cracks form) it can be sealed with a water/ sugar solution (1/4 teaspoon sugar dissolved in 1 teaspoon of water. Gently dab on dry henna with a cotton bud. Use sparingly!). Once the henna is sealed it can be wrapped, must be kept warm and left on overnight to intensify the stain. Only use cotton balls, bath tissue, gauze and tape. Do not use plastic wrap!
  • Plan to AVOID getting the design area wet from time of henna application until 12 or more hours after the paste is removed.

Henna After Care

You will receive a detailed After Care sheet at your appointment. Here are some highlights:

  • Do not use water to remove paste - it will diminish staining effect. A vegetable oil (such as olive or coconut) can be used to remove stubborn paste.
  • Once the paste is removed, do not wet the area for 12 or more hours, if possible. Staying dry darkens the stain.
  • Use olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter or another natural veggie oil as a moisturizer on your henna stain 2-3 times per day.
  • Do not use a commercial  moisturizer. Most are 'rejuvenating' and cause your skin to exfoliate faster.
  • Avoid gloves, manual labor, rubbing the design, and contact with water, especially chlorinated water as long as you want to maintain the stain. All of these cause exfoliation making henna fade faster. ​​

You're always welcome to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding henna!