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May, 2006:

Paste consistency, and pretty cones

I’m experimenting with different henna recipes to get a consistently good consistency for doing designs — not so dry that it immediately cracks, not so sugary that the design flattens out and bleeds like a bad batch of cookies, not so thin that it just dribbles down the skin.

Last night I mixed the following recipe:

  • 5 teaspoons powder (scooped and leveled off with a knife)
  • 5 teaspoons chai tea, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon essential oils (mostly terping oils, but with some fragrant oils too)
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

I tried it out immediately after mixing, straining, and coning it and was able to do a beautifully delicate design:

Mandala

Unfortunately it won’t stain because the henna didn’t have time to set, thus there was little to no dye release. 🙂 I coned it and left it out overnight, and popped it into the refrigerator this morning before work. I’ll test the staining power of it tonight sometime.

For a sealant, I nuked a bit of lemon juice, sugar, and honey in the microwave, stirred it up, and dabbed it on with a paper towel. That stuff did NOT want to come off in the morning! Nor did any of it flake off in the tissue I wrapped it in.

After I get this straight, I’m going to experiment with using molasses instead of honey, making my henna vegan.

Also, I found out that these oversize holographic origami papers from Japantown make awesome cones:

Prettycones

In other news, be on the lookout in the next couple weeks for the launch of my new henna site, HandfulofHenna.com! My ultimate goal is to integrate this blog and gallery into the new site using Moveable Type, adding sections for articles, recipes, designs, and booking information should you need a Bay Area henna artist. 😉 I promise to dedicate an entire section to henna hair care with photos and summaries of the experiments I blogged here in the past year or so.

Thanks, and happy hennaing!