Myth: The darker the henna stain, the more your mother-in-law and/or husband will love you.
Fact: There are countless natural ways to darken your mehendi stain debunking that superstition!
How many of you have tried protecting your henna with saran wrap to get that extremely intense color? How about applying some lemon juice over the dried mehendi? While such tips are commonplace, there are more scientifically proven methods to darken your mehendi, without smudging it.
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First of all, I have tried and tested lemon juice. Adding some sugar to the mixture to dry your mehendi will definitely cause it to stick around longer. However, what ACTUALLY makes your henna go from orange to dark brown? Keep reading…
1. Simple: Keep it on longer
Give it at least 4-6+ hours so that your skin can go through the oxidation process. Leaving it on for more than six hours will allow the mehendi to successfully penetrate the skin. That is why the optimal time to put henna on is in the late evening so you can go right to bed and wake up just in time to take the henna off. While doing so, protect it from creating a mess by wrapping your hands. Be careful though! If your henna is not perfectly dried up before wrapping it, the design will smudge.
This is one of the hacks my Nani taught me while I was growing up. One, this makes the process of drying a billion times faster. Two, applying heat to your dried-up henna apparently makes the stain darker. Hey, what Nani says goes.
3. Add clove heat
I have to be honest, this is TikTok approved. Take a handful of cloves and boil them. Carefully place your hands above the steam for a minute, then rest, then steam again. The results are astounding!
4. Don’t use water
Make sure you do not wash the henna off with water. If you had it on long enough, your mehendi is probably flaking off, as it should! Ditch the sink and grab a dry brush to brush the rest off. You should see a bright orange color or maybe even a darker orange right away, which is a green signal. Try your best not to wet your new stain to darken your mehendi!
5. Apply unscented lotion, olive oil, baby oil, Vaseline or aloe vera gel
This will keep the space moisturized and protected. Most importantly, try to avoid getting in touch with harsh chemicals. Put on gloves when washing the dishes. So, what must you do if you have to sanitize and wash your hands during the pandemic? Doing so is an absolute must and that’s something that we will have to make peace with. The alcohol will definitely shorten the lifespan and lighten the henna stain. In my personal experience, try to wear gloves whenever possible to protect your stain for the time being.
6. Remember Vicks and steam?
Remember what Nani said about applying heat? This is where steaming comes into play. Although I will admit that I often skip this step, when I don’t, I see better results. Your henna is probably bright orange at this stage. In order to intensify the shade, apply Vicks and add steam. Do this once a day for the first day or two.
PSA: Do not sacrifice the quality of the henna for the sake of getting the darkest shade! There are tons of chemicals in the majority of store-bought henna, which tend to peel off and even become itchy. Check the ingredients first! Natural ones may not guarantee you a pitch-black shade, but with these hacks below, you will get a step closer to a darker shade of henna.
Trust me, it is a visual treat to wake up to a handful of dark brown henna within the next 48 hours after implementing these steps. And remember, everyone has their own tips and tricks that are passed down from one generation to the next! So if your Maa says that lemon will darken your mehendi stain, definitely try it for yourself while adding in a few hacks mentioned above!