Can you do anything with henna mix that has spoiled?

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carolina13
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Can you do anything with henna mix that has spoiled?
Hi guys I used to use the ready-made cones to do henna parties, but then I found out about the shelf life of fresh henna and then about all the chemicals that are added to them (particularly black henna). I started to research more and make my own henna mixes. I needed to find a dark stain for darker skins to stop people in my community using the black henna. I have been researching how to get the darkest henna for a few months now and making lots of batches of henna with different brews etc. I have kept the henna design on for over 3 hours but was very disappointed with the results; I used 2013 batch henna from a reputable website shop, I added sugar, lemon juice and essential oils and my brews, left it for 2 days or more, checking it against a white towel (making it in plastic bags);and left the designs on the hand for 2-3 hours. The result was a darkish brown colour but not bright, it looked more like it had been on for over a week or more, rather than 2 days. After this, I discovered that I was getting my information from the USA where the temperature is a lot different to the UK, so I thought I had not left the mix to develop long enough, so I left the next batch of henna for an extra day. Then I discovered that no-one had said it must be airtight (many forums said just to cover it lightly with plastic wrap. I guess the air got to it too much. Even though I could see red stain coming out of the mix and the towel was yellow, the designs were very faded after 2 days. Some forums mentioned that they 'steamed' the henna mix and some added hot water. I didn't do this, but with one poor batch I got it out of the freezer, defrosted it and heated it near a radiator - I have a spot test patch of this to see if it makes any difference, which has only been on for an hour so far.... I also started mixing Indigo into the mix; it makes the mix very dark but does not have a great deal of influence on the finished design, before or after 2 days....I just added it to the mix, should I have added water to it first? My question(s) is, what am I doing wrong and what can I do with all the disappointing batches of henna mixes?! I would be grateful for any help and guidance as I really want to achieve a deep stain if I can.
Jen
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Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: 2010-04-26 06:47
Re: Can you do anything with henna mix that has spoiled?
I see a few possible problems. Don't worry. We'll get them solved!

1. 2-3 hours isn't good enough. This is one of the reasons for adding chemicals -to make it quicker. I say 4 hours minimum, and longer for important occasions like for brides.

2. Really two days for dye release is the long end, even for lemon juice mixes. I don't trust the towel method of testing for dye release. It depends too much on the kind of plastic over the paste and how absorbent the towel is. Try after 12 hours a dab on the heal of your hand. Leave it there about 5 minutes, wipe it off, and if it leaves a bright orange stain, its done. Nothing or a yellowish or pale stain and it needs more time. Try again ever 6 hours or so until its ready. Once its ready store it in the fridge if you'll use it soon, or in the freezer if you don't need it yet. Ask the vendor where you purchased the henna and ask them about the dye release timing for that particular henna, with lemon juice, at your room temperature. A truly reputable vendor should have experience with their product and be able to answer that easily. US weather in California may be a lot different than the UK, but US weather in New York is probably very similar, BTW.

3. How much essential oil are you using? Most people new to mixing their own, way under do the the essential oil. Use 1-2 tablespoons per 100 g packet of henna! Also, the quality of oil is very important! Make sure its not diluted and that its fresh. Make sure that its an oil high in monoterpene alcohols like cajeput, lavender, tea tree, geranium, niaouli, etc.

4. Don't defrost with heat. Let it thaw at room temperature. The heat can kill it.

5. Mixing in indigo will do nothing for body art use. Its great for hair, but won't do anything for your skin mix. The hot water you've heard about is also a bad idea. Good call on that one!

6. It sounds like your botched batches aren't savable. You can use the paste for practice though!

I hope this helps!
carolina13
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Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 2013-10-09 09:27
Re: Can you do anything with henna mix that has spoiled?
Thanks so much Jen for your reply. To know it can be ready in 2 days is very good news! Ha ha, I wish the weather in NY was the same as here! 20C is a warm day here, at the moment average temperatures are 10-12C. Does this make a difference to your calculations? I will do the testing as you recommend though. Its a revelation about the essential oil. I do henna designs on young children and was concerned about large quantities of essential oil being on the skin for so long. I suppose because I trained as an aromatherapist I am used to using only minute quantities as it is so potent. 1-2 tablespoons is an awful lot when I buy 20ml bottles of pure essential oils that are quite costly and am trained to only use 6-8 drops in 20ml of base oil! But I bow to your superior knowledge and will add some more to the batch I have waiting at the moment. Does it make any difference when you add the essential oils? Can I add it to the batch I am waiting for once it has good dye release, or is that too late? Looks like I have lots for practice! very many thanks. c
Viljaana
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Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
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Re: Can you do anything with henna mix that has spoiled?
My paste dye releases in aprox. 24h - the weather is cool, but we have well insulated houses and central heatind so it's 21-23C* inside.  In UK I hear people keeping the paste in relatively warm places like on the top of the fridge, but remember that too much heat (oven, boiling water etc.) will kill the paste. There is a great chart about dye release times and temperatures at The Henna Page http://www.hennapage.com/henna/how/dyerelease.html! It's not fool proof, but can give you some clue.

I allways tell people to keep the paste over night to get The best colour. The time it needs to be on skin depends of the body and room temperature, but longer is allways better. It's also important to avoid water during the first 24h after the paste is aplied. This gives the loose dye molecules time to attach the skin cells.

But be patient; I'm sure you will make perfect paste some day!

p.s. Have you tried your paste on other people such as family members? I have found that there as people, that do not stain well no matter what you try. And always when doing the 5 min dot test use palm or the sole of the food - those stain better than other parts of ones body.

p.p.s. My links never work :(. Try copy paste it to your browser or surf The Henne Page -> How to -> When it's ready: Dye release
Jen
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Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: 2010-04-26 06:47
Re: Can you do anything with henna mix that has spoiled?
Your link is working just fine!

Keep in mind that each henna is a little different on dye release timing, but that chart is a big help to see how heat effects time in general.
carolina13
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Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 2013-10-09 09:27
Re: Can you do anything with henna mix that has spoiled?
Hi, you know what? I think I am one of those people that don't dye well! I tried a spot test on the palm of my hand (left for an hour) and I got a lovely dark stain, but on the top of my hand I did a design, left it for almost 4 hours (it flaked off by then) and it is still faintly brown the day after. The fingers are darker but the wrist area and middle of the top of my hand you can hardly see anything. And I got feedback from friends I used the same mix on, and they reported a darker stain. In future I will use my palm for testing! I am almost there! Thanks so much.
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