Leave the paste on for four to eight hours following the application. Use a sugar sealant to ensure that the design stays in place. Do not use water to remove the paste, but gently scrape off the henna with a blunt object (a butter knife or credit card work well). If you have difficulty removing sticky henna, use coconut oil to soften the paste. The design will be bright orange immediately upon the removal of the paste, but will oxidize to a darker color within twenty four hours. To ensure that your mehndi does not get wet, continue to apply coconut oil to the design as a sealant, and cover your hands with plastic gloves before bathing. For optimal results, avoidance of water is crucial during this period. Once your mehndi has darkened, continue to apply coconut oil to ensure the longevity of the design. Stain results vary widely depending on design placement and body chemistry.
While The Henna Dries: After henna is applied to the skin it takes about 20 minutes to dry completely. During this time it is very important to use caution and not smudge the design, (fixing smudged henna is not very effective). Once the henna has dried you don’t have to worry about it smearing, but it is important to leave it on the skin for several more hours. 2-4 hours is good, 6-8 hours is better. Designs left on the skin longer have more potential to stain darker and last longer. Henna designs done at night can be slept with and removed in the morning.
Removing the Paste: To remove the henna, DO NOT wash with water. Pick off the henna with your fingernail or blunt object. The design will start out very bright orange, and darken to a red/brown. It takes henna 48 hours to fully oxidize, during this time the less exposure to water the more the color can develop and longer the henna will last. Use olive oil or coconut oil to to help seal the design when bathing.
To prolong the life of your henna avoid harsh soaps and scrubbing, chlorine will disintegrate the henna stain very quickly.Designs usually hold about a week of strong color, and another 1-2 weeks of fading. The more initial care for the henna during the oxidization process the longer your henna will last.