Henna at the Farmer's Market

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jessinthedesert
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Henna at the Farmer's Market

Hey fellow artists-

I started going henna at the end of last summer and am starting it again this summer at a weekly Famer's Market. I've been testing different mixes and techniques but am looking for some advice.

Does anyone know the best way to send people away with the henna and what instructions to give them? My favorite thing is to apply lemon juice/sugar mix and then wrap it with cotton and Reynolds Press-n-seal but that's not realistic for people at a market. Usually I tell them to wait until it dries to the touch, but not too dry that it cracks, and then apply lemon juice and sugar mix with a Q-tip, which I provide, leave it for at least 3 hours (the longer the better) and then allow it to flake off. It's easy logistically but I'm worried that it's not staying wet enough on the skin since it tends to dry in moments out in the Market sun. The other option I've found when testing it myself is to keep it wet longer just with water.  Suggestions???

Thanks!  

Malynda
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

If your henna paste is cracking so quickly that you are worried that folks can't keep it on their skin for at least three hours, then you should probably try adding a little more sugar (or whatever sticky stuff you prefer) to your mix.  I don't seal at festivals because I find it unnecessary... even here in the desert.  A little extra sugar and your paste will stick just fine, without the added hassle of sticky, bug-luring sealants.  The top of the paste will dry, but it WILL stay moist underneath.

Print out a small sheet of aftercare instructions to give to each customer that simply states what henna is, how to take care of their stain and what to expect from it (i.e. stain's life-cycle) and be sure to include your contact information on it.  Give it to them to read while you henna them... it will save time and allow them to ask any questions they might have while you are working + they can refer to it after they leave your booth.

ladytetsu
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

Yep, what Malynda said!  Also, consider the armoring effects of a good dose of glitter!  The stuff seems to really reinforce the paste and protect it against smudging a bit, and the client will tend to pay attention to it and leave it alone and not pick at it, because it's sparkly and pretty.  I poof 90% of my clients, hand them my card with aftercare on the back, and street 'em.  Carry black and silver and blue for the boys. :)  If your paste is really good, they'll get good stain pretty fast without needing to worry about sealants.  I save sealing for private gigs and brides, where the super-deepest darkest color humanly possible is important to the client.

jessinthedesert
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

Great! Thanks for the input! I will try adding sugar. Glitter sounds fun! Do you just sprinkle it on like you would onto glue in kindergarden?

And here is another question...You said 'if your paste is really good'.  I feel like it's decent but compared to what I read out there I feel like it could be much better.  Right now I use Jamilla henna. I sift it, add lemon juice until it's a good consistency and let the dye release. (is it possible to have too much dye release?) Then I add oils I got from the henna page site- the cajuput, wile thyme and rosemary mix. And leave it for...anywhere from 4-48 hours is what I read. I basically left it overnight. Oh yeah, and there is some sugar in the paste as well.

Any other secrets? When I was first starting I read a pleathora of recipes that included tea bags, dried lemon, eucalyptus (which I gave up on) but I felt for all the hassle it took to cook all that stuff up compared to how much liquid you actually use to make the paste (especially in my small test amounts since I didn't want to use a whole box if it wasn't going to turn out good) my guess is that just lemon juice works just fine. Like I said, I really feel like it could be 'better'....anyone care to share their best recipes?

Mani
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

My best advice?  Keep it simple.  Mix your Jamila and lemon juice, let sit 12 hours, add sugar and terps, let sit another 12-18 hours.  Check consistancy, add more lemon juice if needed, then cone and use or freeze.  Jamila has a really great sift, so you can skip the extra sifting step.  Sugar is important in the desert.  I use at least a rounded tablespoon per 1/4 cup of henna.  If you are happy with the stain color you are getting, you're probably adding enough oil.  I use 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of e.o. to 1/4 cup of henna powder. 

Oh, and it is possible to have too much dye release.  Letting your paste sit too long past prime dye release will eventually decrease the staining power. 

Hope that helps!

ladytetsu
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

hmm, you really shouldn't have to sift Jamila.  Is it in the shiny, metallic greenish box, or the white and green box?  If it's metallic, you should have good powder and not need to sift.  If it's not metallic but white and green background with the same pretty lady on it, you probably have older, hair quality Jamila.  It's fine for hair but too chunky and can be old and doesn't really do skin so well.  Check that first.  Flavia will be along to pimp the KISS recipe with good reason, it works like a charm.  I get a good ziploc bag, dump in my powder, for half a box (50g) I use 2 tbls cajeput oil, 1/8c table sugar, and lemon juice and water til it makes a nice thick gooey pastey mess.  I then seal the bag and plop it on a white paper towel.  When I see orange on the paper towel (the dye seeps right through the plastic, usually) I know it's done.  And yep, like Mani said, you can overdo the wait and kill your paste, the hotter your paste is, the faster it poops out, too.  Then I do some weird stuff like freeze and thaw becasue I like complications, and then I cone it and leave it frozen til I need it.

You can sprinkle glitter or a lot of us use poof bottles, like puffy paint comes in, where you just squeeze the bottle and the glitter gets blown out in a nice small amount. :)  Use good cosemtic grade glitter, you can get it here and from other vendors, the cruddy craft glitter made of metal bits can cut if it gets rubbed in (and I just did that not too long ago and had to fish a piece of blue glitter out of my eye with tweezers - do NOT try that at home!!!)

jessinthedesert
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

I think we posted our last ones at the same time. Yes, i for sure have the skin Jamila. I know it's a better quality but everwhere i was looking said to sift, so I did it again anyway. Good to know! I will save myself some time.  I usually do the white paper method but this last time I mixed more in a container and we had the air on so let it sit in my car. I think it went overboard...the stain wasn't the worst but probably wans't the best. I'll go back to the paper and just make sure I give myself enough time to let it sit.

I'm quite excited about this new order...I got the celebration plus some dextrose to try...it seems like that will help with the suggestions above to add more sugar and keep it wet longer. (And with my hand since I seem to have a hard time even with cones, but everyone seems to swear by them so it must be my paste consistency that's causing the problems.)

I'm liking this site more and more everyday. Thanks!

jessinthedesert
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

Thanks everyone!

I went back and read the thread about celebration henna and JUST purchased some with the higher lawsone content so will take your advice and let you know how it goes. It seems I am on the right track!

PS: :D I'm not currently in the desert. I'm actually in the midwest, but I go to teach English in the Sahara about 7 months out of the year, so that is where the name is from. I'm sure most rules apply even here! :D

thanks again!

jess(inthemidwest) ;)

Mani
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

What part of the midwest are you in?  Climate really does make a surprising difference with henna.  Also, in reply to your question on another thread (I believe it was the "Sweating Cone" topic):  You should not freeze and reuse a half-used cone on customers a week later.  The paste in that cone will have been out and warm (or hot depending on weather) all day and the quality may be compromised.  I would suggest rolling the smallest cone that you are comfortable using, so that you don't have so much left over in the cone, and then either saving your used cones for hair (or practice on family and friends) or throwing them out.  Don't take the chance that you might be offering your customers an inferior product. 

jessinthedesert
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

Ah! Help!

So a week and a half ago I mixed some Jamila henna with the recipe I mentioned before- lemon juice, some sugar and terps. I used it last week and it worked fine- out of the same batch I froze 2 unused tubes- fresh.  Again, it wasn't the best stain, but will do until my celebration with the 3-point-something % lawsome arrives...

So I froze two fresh tubes, thawed one this morning before the market and added some sugar as mentioned above to avoid needing the lemon juice. The consistency was...o-k... I added sugar until it was like 'honey' as someone mentioned in another post...it dried on me like syrup but....did next to NOTHING.!!!!

As I answered the quetion "how long will it last' with the customers I explained to every one that I was unsure about this batch, but in the past lasted one-three weeks, but if there was a problem to come back next week and I'd give them another tattoo. Everyone seemed fine with it, so I covered it if it doesn't work, but what did I do wrong?!!?? was it the adding of the sugar after the thaw?

This was the batch that maybe had too much dye release but it did work for me last week.  I was under the impression the lemon juice 'seal' wasn't just a 'seal' but was the acidic agent that helped the stain darken- there is plenty in the paste alraedy but was the lack of reapplication what did it?? AH!

By the way...I am in Wisconsin. We're considered "north east" but it's just south of green bay.

ladytetsu
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

you added sugar until the paste itself was like honey?  If you added that much, you had more sugar than henna and it wouldn't dye well.  You don't want the paste to be super-sticky and gooey, you really won't feel the sugar in it, it just sticks instead of falling off.  For a whole box of henna I rarely use much more than 1/4- maybe 1/2 cup of paste.  Where are you, again?  I'm in OH so I know about muggy summers and wet winters - if your humidity is up you can even lay off on the sugar a little, especially as compared to dry winter air mixes. . .

Mani
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

Sounds like way too much sugar.  Besides diluting the paste, sugar itself is also a bit acidic, and it is possible to over-acidify and kill the stain.  It would be very helpful to know what your exact recipe is (rather than just "some sugar and terps").  I am in a high mountain desert climate (dry and hot in the summer, dry and cold in winter) and 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar (or dextrose, etc) per 1/4 cup of henna powder is usually plenty to keep the paste from falling off too soon. 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of terps per 1/4 cup of henna powder is good, too.  After you have added your sugar, if the paste is still too thick, add lemon juice a tiny bit at a time until it is just right.  Approach it like making brownies.  Measuring utensils are your friends.  A specific recipe is your friend.  You may be able to save your mix by adding more henna powder, but personally I would make a new batch.  Celebration is cool, but you should be achieving some pretty great color from regular Jamila. 

jessinthedesert
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

Okay, sounds like the verdict is too much sugar....I read that it should 'fall off the spoon, like honey' off of CCJ's page off The Henna Page site on "henna and sacherides", but perhaps the difference was that she was using dextrose and not regular sugar. ??

I have one frozen cone of Jamila left, but used the last of my Jamila in this last batch. I couldn't tell you exactly how much of everything i used...up until now what I was reading made it sound like amounts were pretty versatile and didn't make too much of a difference, (i.e. "I like to throw in this and that and a little of these...") but alas, I was wrong! I'll try thawing this cone and adding less sugar and seeing what happens, just for kicks.

Otherrwise, i'll be happy to start from 'scratch' with my 5 boxes of Celebration, carefully measured recipes and dextrose. *sigh*

Thanks everyone with putting up with a 'rookie' and giving great info!

Mani
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

When you are mixing henna for clients, you should have a good, reliable recipe that is the same every time.  You want to have consistantly good quality results.  Lemon juice is the only really variable ingredient in my mix (some brands or crops of henna seem to be thirstier than others), everything else is measured the same each time.   If you are adding more sugar to a single cone, I would add no more than 1/8 teaspoon, maybe less (unless your your cones are really big), of sugar.  If the paste is still thick, add a tiny bit of lemon juice until it is right and you should be good to go.  I find that dextrose and sugar give me similar texture results.  I add the sugar, mix well, and add lemon juice if needed to make the henna ribbon off the spoon (my best analogy would be cake batter).  Looking back at your previous post, I think letting it dye-release in the car probably effected the stain quality of this batch.  It can get incredibly hot in a car (over 150 degrees), and too much heat will kill your stain.  If you are running the AC in your house and you worry about dye release taking too long, try putting your henna on the middle shelf of your oven with just the light on.  That will keep it about 75-80 degrees, which is where henna likes to be while dye-releasing.  Works like a charm.

ladytetsu
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

ahhh, okay, you were doing with sugar what you wanted to do with liquid.  The final paste can have a consistency somewhere between honey, cake batter, good shampoo, etc, toothpaste is probably too thick and clotted cream too thin (if you make it like I do!) but, your primary thinning agent needs to be a liquid, not more sugar.  Seriously, go check out the KISS recipe (Google KISS recipe henna)  - and start there.  WRITE DOWN everything you do!  And sometimes, it's best to consign a particular batch to hair or craft projects - cos even if you do get it perfect you won't be sure which of the dozen tweaks was really responsible. :)  I personally have never noticed a difference between sugars, they all make it sticky, but I also haven't done experiments to check.  Avoid honey outright, the peroxide it releases kills stain.

Blurberrybuzz
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

You've gotten some great advice.  Here's a link to how I like my consistency.  Once the henna cone has been in the hand or in the hot booth, it's a bit runnier, so this henna is a tad thicker than when it's actually applied to the skin, because it's just 68 or so degrees in my house.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/blurberrybuzz/4418859323/in/set-72157623461...

There's actually two videos and the lighting is horrid. I really must redo it.  The henna is thinned out with lemon juice.  Distilled water or tea would also work.  I don't go overboard on the oils or sweet stuff.  I get a reliable dark stain every time!

Have fun perfecting your paste.

Victoria

jessinthedesert
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

Okay, so I followed the KISS recipe exactly. I let four batches sit...one for 12 hours WITH the sugar and oils right away, one for 12 hours where I added the sugar and oils after and will now let it sit for 12 more hours. Two others the same that I'll let sit for 24 (one with sugar and oils and one i'll add after the first 24 and let it sit for another 12).

This morning I put on the 12 hour WITH sugar and oils, put it on for 3 hours and it is VERY light orange on my forefinger (all back of the hand) even lighter on my wrist, and next to nothing on my forearm. Is there still hope it will get darker? What went wrong??

I left it uncovered to get the same scenerio as the FM but it seemed to dry out pretty quick. Still more dextrose???

ladytetsu
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

which henna did you use, and how warm was it and your liquids?  There may still be hope, don't give up til the paste does.  The easy way to check for good color is to put a dab on your palm for just a few minutes - if you get orange, you're good.   If not, wait another hour and check again.  Don't forget to give the pattern a few days to get dark too, it has to oxidize and some henna looks reeeeeeeally wimpy at the gate.  Pix would be fabulous so we can see what's up, too!

ladytetsu
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

oh, and, once you get your color worked out - *I* personally like to have my festival paste to the dry to the touch stage in no more than 20 min.  Then I like it stay kinda moist but not squooshy for an hour or so.  Beyond that is gravy.  I can't tell you how much sugar that is because it depends on the henna, the humidity, and the stars, BUT, I'd slowly add a bare bit more sugar to your batch, WRITING DOWN EACH TIME what you added, coning just one cone, and trying it again.  At some point you'll hit the, erm, "sweet spot" and you'll know what will work for you and you can adjust from there.

Mani
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

Twelve hours may not have been long enough for full dye release.  Try the one that you let go 24 hours and see what it is like in comparison.

ruzzel01
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

You just have to make sure of it. Just like paying surety bills.

jessinthedesert
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

wow! Great, thanks everyone. I think I"m getting there!! 

The batch of KISS where the dye was let to release for 24 (plus a little extra) was definitely a better dye. It's only been a day and I can tell it will get darker. The only issue left is that it dries and flakes off at an hour and a half, tops. (and that I'm running out of space on my left arm to test! :D)  The 24 hour release stuff I put on me gave a good stain, even at that time and is getting darker, so I'm very hopeful. I have a gig at a coffee shop tomorrow night so am mixing some up now. And have another market on Saturday morning. 

Henna is celebration, liquid is bottled lemon juice, dextrose from Mehndi and oils are a mix of lavender and geranium. As for temperature...probably around 78 on average? 

The batch I'm making now I doubled but am out of oil so am off to the local shop to find some lavender...

I also put some on my palm overnight and it looks -aMAZing!!!- can't wait to watch it darken!

thanks again! I'll try to post some pictures but it would take some explaining as my forearm and hand look like a tattered road map. :D 

Mani
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

Sounds like its going great!  If the paste is falling off after an hour and a half you need more sugar (dextrose, etc...).  If you used the Henna Caravan KISS recipe, you can easily double the amount of sweet stuff with no adverse effects. 

ladytetsu
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

wheee, and another one hits the ground running!  High fives, ladies, high fives all around. :)

jessinthedesert
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

hahaha.. yes! thank you! You are all so great at giving input. I'm impressed with everyone's knowledge- who knew there was so much to know about Henna?

One final question...now that I have all these random baggies of henna comprised of the following:
1- sat for 12 hours with eo and sugar added already
1-sat for 24 hours with eo and sugar added already
1- sat for 12 and then I added the eo and sugar for another 12
1- sat for 24 and then i added the eo and sugar for another 12.

Most all are giving the same result but for the first one, but it had anotherr 12 to sit after. All have been in the fridge since their final 'dye release' time. Is it okay to combine them all into one and use them? Probably won't use them on customers, but on friends for practice.  

Thanks again!!

jess

Mani
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Re: Henna at the Farmer's Market

Yes,  you can combine them all.  If you are getting good stain results, you can use it on customers as well as friends.

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