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September, 2005:

The Apprentice

First of all, I’d like to share a design I did last week (sorry for the delay). It’s my first palm design! And whoa, do palms give crazy beautiful color or what?


The design is from Darcy‘s book that I’ve been talking about so much lately.

Which conveniently leads me to my next announcement… I’m going pro! Well, sort of. Darcy was kind enough to invite me along as an assistant at two events this weekend.

I have no words for how friggin’ stoked I am. I’m so stoked that listening to a French rock ballad called "Hey Dude" isn’t even fazing me. Hell, yeah! I had already decided that I really wanted to move on to being an assistant or "booth babe" to learn more about the henna biz, but little did I know that I’d end up with such an awesome, talented, and totally nice pro. It’s nice to know that I’ll be in good hands!

You’ve been in the office too long when…

You’ve been in the office too long when you realize your henna stains from the night before have deepened to the color of a redweld.

Too thick of a paste

First of all, I realized I had the traditional sealant wrong in my Basic Mehndi Mix post, so I changed it. You dissolve 2 or more parts sugar to 1 part lemon so it’s nice and pasty. I just mixed up a jar myself… and then adulterated it with some unnecessary essential oils and ground clove. I don’t know why. I was bored! I also nuked it a couple times (5 seconds each) to encourage the sugar to dissolve properly. Don’t know if that helps or not, though.

I’ve uploaded some stuff I’ve been working on this weekend into my Henna Gallery. Most of it was me playing with designs from Darcy’s recent ebook.


The paste I made this week was a little bit too pasty. It was thick enough that squeezing it out of the cone hurt my hand — a complaint usually reserved for jaq bottles! It also dried up and cracked fairly quickly, and it didn’t stick to the skin unless I took care to moosh it on real good. (You should be able to drape it over the skin, and it’ll fall onto the skin and stick. Not this batch.) However, the lines sure were crisp! And since I used less EOs in this batch, the design I did on my palm turned a pretty red color, not the nutty brown of my last mix. Both colors are good, but I really like the red.

I discovered that the easiest way to seal this batch, since the henna wasn’t sticking to my skin very well, was to unroll a cotton ball, reroll it around the tip of a pencil, dip that in the lemon-sugar mix, and gently roll it across the design a couple times. Dabbing it with a cotton ball or two Q-tips made the mix stick to the henna, which wasn’t stuck to the skin, which lifted the henna right off. By rolling, it helped seal the henna to the skin, even if it wasn’t too well placed. Although it helped, when the henna was partially dry, to pat it with a finger to make sure the moist underlayer did have contact with the skin.

Also, dabbing usually made me coat it too thickly, which resulted in gooey drips of lemon-sugar getting all over the carpet. We’re hoping my ever-so-patient partner doesn’t notice. This weekend he gave me a new henna-inspired nickname, though: Doodlebear. Like, those teddy bears they used to sell, where you can draw all over them, then wash them off and draw all over them again. I’m considering using that as my henna name if I ever do this as a business: Doodlebear Henna. Except that doesn’t sound very bridal, now, does it? LOL.

So the first batch I mixed was too runny. This batch was too stiff. Hopefully with my next batch, I’ll find a good medium.

And props to Rand for experimenting with part of my slimy batch that I gave him at work on Saturday! You are a brave man, my friend.

Henna Tribe Calendar Project

Kenzi from Henna Tribe had a great idea, and it looks like Carly and I are going to make it happen: The first (that we know of), slightly racy henna calendar, with gorgeous photos of full-body henna designs and info on the artists and the art! (Provocative shots of males and females are okay — but no bared privates or nipplage.)

The FINAL SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE is November 4, 2005. Go here for info on where to submit, what to submit, how to submit, or just for further developments on the project.

If we get enough submissions, we’re hoping to realease the calendar in mid to late November — probably for individual sale and for resale by henna professionals and other interested parties.

Basic Mehndi Mix

A mixing guide for beginners, by a beginner.



  • 15 grams (about 2 tablespoons) quality henna (order online from Mehandi.com or Henna Tribe suppliers)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar, brown sugar, honey, or molasses
  • 2 drops tea tree or cajeput essential oil
  • 1 drop of any other essential oil that smells good (I like geranium)
  • Lemon juice

Dissolve your sugar into 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add the mix to your henna,  and add more lemon juice until you have a thick paste. Mix well. Let sit for 2  hours in a warm spot. Add essential oils. Mix well. Add more lemon juice if needed  to reach desired consistency (comparable to that of toothpaste). Let sit 4 to 8  hours in a warm spot, or overnight. When you have dye release*, load into one or  more cones (cone materials are cheap — learn to roll one here or here) or jaquard bottles and apply. Seal your design and refrigerate the leftovers.

*Dye release has occurred when:

  • A small dot of henna left on your palm for ten minutes leaves a bright orange  stain on removal
  • The top layer of your mixed henna turns a dark brownish green, while the insides  remain bright green
  • If you mix your henna in a thin plastic sandwich baggie and set it out on a paper  towel, you will know you have dye release when you lift the baggie and see a  faint orange stain on the paper towel


  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6+ tablespoons sugar, brown sugar, honey, or molasses

Mix well. Apply using cotton balls, Q-tips or a paintbrush.

Method one: Apply over dry design and layer with squares of toilet paper  thoroughly wetted with sealant. Let dry. Wrap with an Ace bandage or old sock  and leave on overnight. Peel off, and gently remove any remaining stickies with  vegetable oil, or water if necessary.

Method two: Once dry, seal entire design. Let sealant dry. Dust with baby powder or talcum. Leave on 6 to 8 hours, or wrap lightly with an  Ace bandage or old sock and leave on overnight. Pick off the henna goobers in  the morning, and remove any remaining bits gently with vegetable oil, or water if  necessary.


  • 3 tablespoons Elmer’s glue
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Glitter, if desired

Mix well. Apply over dry design using two Q-tips held together, or paint on with a  paintbrush. Don’t coat too thickly. Dries clear and hard. Peel off in 6 to 8 hours,  or cover loosely with a sock or Ace bandage and leave on overnight. Peel off in  the morning. Avoid washing — chlorine makes the design fade faster.

Eyebrows, Poste-Paste

Wow! It turned out pretty good. The skin color is no better/worse than filling in my eyebrows with powdered makeup, and it matches my hair color better than the brown eyeshadow I usually use anyway, even during the orange stage. I can’t tell for the life of me if it actually stained the hairs red. We’ll just have to see how it matches up with the hair on top of my head after a couple days.

So there you have it! Henna works well on eyebrows, too!



The design on my wrist and finger are kind of awkward, but I love what I came up with for my fingertips.

Unfortunately, it totally smeared and bled overnight (even though I didn’t use saran wrap, and even though I blowdried it before and after sealing it with glue — the price of an over-sugared mix).


Oh, and I had a fun time with the sealer again. I’ve been using Elmer’s gel glue because it’s all I had lying around, and it doesn’t mix very well with water. This time, I added a bit of eucalyptis and geranium oil to make it smell pretty, and it changed the texture of the glue somewhat. It mixed right up with a few drops of water to make a thick but spreadable sealer with a more even consistency than the gel glue with water alone. The eo’s also made it cloudy for some reason, which was weird. But it worked. Too bad my batch of henna didn’t do so well.

Groucho Marx

I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.
-Groucho Marx

Okay, I’m going into very unknown territory here. My eyebrows were so not-red as compared to my newly-henna’d hair that, well, I henna’s my eyebrows.


This is with the paste on, obviously.

My logic went something like this:

  1. I’m bored.
  2. My grandma tatooed her eyebrows… what’s so different about using henna on ’em?
  3. Facial skin is too thin and oily to stain very well. So, my eyebrow skin shouldn’t be orange for too long. I hope.
  4. I’m bored.

So I took out my last cone of slimy-ass mehndi henna that I used on my hand the night before. (I had already decided to throw the batch out because, while the staining power was fine, it was a nearly unworkable texture and bled like hell overnight.) I coned in each of my eyebrows and cleaned them up around the edges with Q-tips. Then I put my hair back with a band to keep it from sticking to my eyebrows and took a photo for you all to giggle at. I’m gonna pray for four hours that this wasn’t a really, really bad idea, then wash it out and take another picture for y’all.

Wish me luck!

Full head henna

As cool as my henna highlights were, I decided to go all-out anyway. I wanted to see how the henna conditioned it, and I was feeling the need to be a little extreme (angst from overwork). So, I mixed together my recipe of henna, chamomile, yogurt, and lavendar, slathered it through my hair, wrapped it with saran wrap, and covered all that with a makeshift turban made out of a half-sized sarong I got in Hawaii.


I then laid down on the couch, wrapped a heating pad loosely around it all, and dozed off, because I was operating on three hours of sleep.

My mix was way too watery, though. Despite all my wrapping, when I got up after two hours to use the facilities, it started leaking out from behind my ears. It only sort of got on everything. And good thing I was wearing a black shirt!

Anyway, I averted disaster, slept for two more hours, then got up and rinsed it all out with conditioner — Herbal Essences Intensive Blends, or whatever is in my shower at the moment. I would highly recommend combing it through real well with a shower comb. I’ve been using a shower comb for a few years now anyway, but it would’ve been nearly impossible to get the tangle of henna out and get the conditioner in without one.

I then blowdried it so that any remaining henna wouldn’t stain my pillow, and threw on my bright green Happy Day shirt because I found Joan’s Henna Tribe comment about reverse oompa loompas really funny. 🙂 So, behold! Elaine with freshly glowing orange henna head!


It stayed that color for about a day. It really is orange — I’ve been comparing it to a t-shirt I have that’s brown with big orange letters on it. During Day 1, my hair matched the letters. After one wash, though, it’s starting to calm down to a more auburn shade. Here’s a photo from, let’s see, about 20 hours after washing the henna out:


Very, very cool. I’m liking it a lot! It’s an even prettier red today, but I’m skipping photos today because I’ve been working like an ox, and I’ve got bedhead.

The only thing that bugs me is what an amazingly different shade my eyebrows are. I have a solution to that though, so stay posted!


Okay, I have to give my man serious props, here. Impatient for henna glory, I decided to henna the rest of my hair tonight, even though that means the four-hour mark for washing the stuff out will be at around 2 a.m. There are a lot of comments one can make about smearing a bunch of smelly green goo over your hair and pulling it up into a makeshift turban for four hours. There are even more comments one can make when, after two hours, your turban starts leaking all over you and your couch. It takes quite a man to curb all comments to a single observation of "Huh, that smells funny" and wordlessly grab you a towel while you run to get napkins to wipe up the green slime running down your neck.

Thanks, hon. You’re the best!