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How to Mix Henna

Learn how to mix henna from expert Lisa Butterworth in this Howcast video about henna and mehndi art.


I'm Lisa Butterworth sometimes known as Kenzi and I'm a henna artist and the owner of a henna supply business, Today I'll unleash your inner henna artist and have you drawing henna designs all over your friends and anyone else who will sit still. Now I'm gonna teach you how to make henna paste. The recipe for henna paste is very simple but you can make it more complicated if you want to. Lets first learn how to make it the simple way and you can make any variations you want after that. The first ingredient of course is henna and I just pour the henna into the bowl and than I like to add some sugar. Sugar helps the paste stick to the skin better and keeps it from drying out to fast and flaking off. So I add about one part sugar for about four parts henna. So lets put little sugar in there and you can see there how much that is, and than I just use water to mix my paste, some people use tee, or they use lemon juice. I like to keep it very simple, like I said, and just use water. So start out with just a little bit of water and mix it up and than add more as you need it. So making henna paste is a lot like how your grandmother cooks, it's just adding ingredients until it looks just right. So, the measurements that I give you are not exact, in fact I'm not even giving you any measurements you just have to do it until it looks right. So, you get it until it's kind of a rough paste and than just add a little bit more water as you need to to get it to the consistency that you want. It's better to mix your paste a little bit to thick than to mix it too thin. It's very hard to make thin paste thicker, but it is very easy to make thick paste thinner just by adding a few more drops of water in. Even if your paste is already in your bottle you can add the water right to the bottle and than just mix it up with a skewer or something, or a chopstick, and get the consistency of the paste that you want. So right now I have a pretty thick paste so I'm gonna add a little bit more water just to thin it out a little bit. So, one thing that you need to pay attention to is something called die release and die release happens when the die that is in the henna plant, in the cells of the plant, becomes available and able to stain the skin. So, that's why we call it die release. I'm not really sure what's going on when the die is made available, it may be chemistry, it may be elves, I'm really not sure but I will show you how to tell when you have die release. So here is your fresh paste, just mix of water, sugar and henna powder, and you see that it's a pretty bright green still and once you have die release the paste turns kind of a brownish green. So you can see the difference here, this is the paste that has achieved die release and this is the paste that we're mixing right now. So, what I like to do is mix the paste to just about the consistency that I want, which is what I'm doing right now, and than I let this sit, and every type of henna has it's own time period that you need for die release. Some hennas get die release very quickly, after a few hours, some you need to leave it over night, sometimes two days. So you have to experiment with the different kinds of henna that you try. This, what I'm using now is Moroccan henna and it tends to achieve die release very quickly, so this could be ready in 3 or 4 hours.

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