Welcome to the Tales of a Kitchen Witch Blog.
The first step is to make sure your henna is from a reputable henna supplier. It is very important that your henna is a high quality, finely sifted product. I get mine from Artistic Adornament because I trust them to provide me with 100% body art quality, fresh henna. Their Artistic Organic Henna is USDA certified organic. If you buy your henna powder from a store there is no way to know how long it has been sitting on the shelf, or what other additives are in it, and most people aren’t aware that henna has a shelf life. I store my boxes of powder in my freezer.
There are as many henna recipes as there are artists, but my favorite is the basic recipe provided by the woman that taught me about henna (Heather Caunt-Nulton):
100 grams of body art quality henna powder
1 – 1 1/2 cups lemon juice (you can squeeze your own organic lemons if you want, but I find this stuff is easier)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of cajeput essential oil (cajeput is full of monoterpene alcohols (terps) which get you the darker stain)
Pour 100 grams of henna powder into a large bowl. I prefer glass or metal to prevent staining.
Slowly stir in lemon juice, a 1/4 cup at a time. I just eyeball it, but you might want to use measuring cups until you get the hang of it.
Stir the mixture with a spoon or whisk until it becomes loose and easy to stir in the bowl. It should look sort of like lumpy mashed potatoes. You may have to add a little more lemon juice or henna to get it right.
Once it is the right consistency, cover it and put it on the counter overnight/about 12 hours or so before adding the oil. Then cover it up again and leave it for another 12 hours. (Most of henna mixing is just waiting!)
You will be able to tell your henna is done when you scoop it up and the top is brown, but the underside is still greeny. Stir it up again. The henna should form a thick and smooth ribbon off your spoon. You can add a little more lemon juice if it isn’t quite smooth enough.
If your henna looks like this, you did it right! Congratulations! You now have henna ready to cone up for fabulous body art!
This recipe should yield about 15 henna cones. Just pop them into a freezer bag and store them in your freezer until you want to use them. Remember that henna is perishable. It should last a long time in your freezer, and about a week in your fridge. I usually thaw what I think I need, and then put the leftover thawed cone in the fridge.