How to Apply Henna to Body

This is a step-by-step guide to help you apply henna to yourself or a friend with simple, easy-to-follow instructions to help an amateur and even a newbie to master henna.


  1. 1
    Henna comes from India and in Hindi is called Mehendi. The English word henna is Arabic. Henna comes from a flower plant called Lawsonia genus. The plant has been nicknamed the henna tree. Be ready to apply henna. Depending on where on the body the henna will be applied, make sure it's clear of clothing. Henna is not easy to remove from clothes. Sit down to help to stay still while henna is being applied. If it's necessary to stay stand, it's possible but will be harder. Do not eat while applying henna or having henna applied. It's distracting and causes excess movement. Make sure to have the right supplies.
    • Henna tubes
    • Napkins - tissues or paper towels
    • Cotton swabs
  2. 2
    Before applying the henna, cut the tip of the tube leaving pencil tip-sized hole. Do not hold henna tube like a pen. While henna is an art, it's not like drawing. Hold the tube like a frosting or icing tube. Hold your hand around the end fold. Press fingers below end fold and push with thumb on end fold to receive strongest flow. It takes skill and practice to master henna so don't get discouraged by small mistakes. Before actually applying henna to skin, it would be good to practice a bit on a paper towel to make sure the henna is coming well. This will be helpful to an amateur and an expert. After you're able to trail the henna along for a while, make lines and curves, you're finally ready to apply henna!
  3. 3
    Henna is best applied between fingers to arms or toes to ankles. If applying henna anywhere else, it will be harder but possible. Sit still and have body part stretched out to avoid smudging but not too tight to avoid cramping. If possible, start on a side so to avoid tracing back. Start off small with lines and curves. Try drawing simple flowers and leaves. A simple design is much better than a messy intricate design.
  4. 4
    If any mistakes happens, gently use cotton swab to wipe. To pick up henna, use a corner of a paper towel to avoid smudging design. Practice any delicate, intricate design on paper towel before on skin as henna sticks quickly. Try a main design with smaller designs surrounding it. It's not necessary to cover the entire hand or foot. If you want to though, be careful. Don't overdo the design.
  5. 5
    Have henna tubes and napkins cleaned up as soon as possible. Don't let henna go on anything besides skin and paper. If henna tube isn't empty, fold tip and store away. After applying henna is complete, make sure to not smudge it. This is easiest by sitting still. Keep body part stretched. The longer henna remains on skin, the longer the design will stay. Keep henna on skin for at least half an hour for the design to stay on hand for at least one week. If on other body part, it will last longer. After henna is dry, that's after 10 minutes or so, apply cold sugar water or cold lime juice with a paper towel to make the henna stick. This way, you don't have to remain stretched and even if body part touches something henna won't smudge or fall off easy. Keep henna on for a few hours for a lasting effect.
  6. 6
    After letting henna dry well or if most has already chipped off, remove remaining henna. When ready to remove henna, use cold water and soap to scrub off henna with hand or paper towel. Use nails to scrub off small henna bits then clean nails later. Make sure to scrub off all henna well. More cold water than soap is preferred. The henna design should last for at least a few days. The henna design also comes with the strong smell of henna. Now you can do anything you normally do. Enjoy the henna!


  • An easy design that makes overall design better and henna easily darker is checkerboard print so draw squares between lines and fill in every other squares. Fill in half of a leaf or petal or shape.
  • To make henna stay longest, try applying at night, preferably after dinner. This works best if henna is applied between fingers to arm. Apply henna to one arm at a time so you have a free hand to do activities. After henna and sugar water or lime juice is applied, you can sleep. Keep arm with henna hanging over the side of the bed. It takes practice but eventually even while asleep you'll know not to smudge henna. By sleeping with henna, you'll easy get 7-9 hours making the henna last for more than 2 weeks. If you keep henna on for the day, it can last for about 1 month. Wash and scrub henna off anytime during the day.
  • When not in use, keep uncut henna tubes in a plastic bag and used henna tubes wrapped in paper towels in the freezer to maintain freshness. The henna may be cold but if heated, will melt to liquid, won't stick to skin well and fall off quicker. If hair or clothes start to smell like henna, the smell will go after wash so don't worry.


  • Henna is made from plants and spices but is not edible. Do not eat the henna! Use proper henna tubes bought from a professional art supply or food store. Do not buy henna online or in bottles or from any unknown sources. Improper henna may cause skin irritation, rash, etc. If any allergic reactions occur during or after having used henna, stop using henna and call a doctor for help. It's not an emergency but is important.

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