Henna tattoos are a beautiful and painless way to get a semi-permanent tattoo that lasts longer than most temporary tattoos. While it has been a practice used in rituals by Eastern cultures for centuries, it has become a far more popular alternative to getting a tattoo. But you may be wondering how long they last on your skin.
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How Long Does Henna Last?
Henna tattoos can last around two weeks if they are taken care of or have been applied on regions that don’t experience a lot of movement or contact with soap and water. In some instances, people have been able to keep henna tattoos for around a month.
What Makes Henna Tattoos Last so Long?
Henna ink is made from the dried and ground leaves of the henna plant which have been used for dying clothes and even hair for centuries. It is one of the longest-lasting semi-permanent tattoo options because of how it binds and lasts.
Henna Binds Itself to Your Skin
The henna plant contains a molecule called lawsone which binds itself upon application and the pigment sets or diffuses deeply in the skin or hair it is applied to. When it sticks to your skin, it penetrates your epidermis and will stay fixated on your skin until your skin regrows, flakes off, or is exfoliated away.
When henna is applied to the skin, it needs to oxidize. You must allow it time to dry and as it dries it darkens and binds itself to the skin. The more time you allow the henna to dry before you wash off the excess product or pick away at it, the longer the henna tattoo will last on your skin.
How to Make Henna Tattoos Last Longer
If you want your beautiful henna tattoo to last as long as possible, here are a few techniques we recommend.
Consider the Location of the Tattoo
When selecting the placement of your henna tattoo, you should aim for:
- Places where the skin is most thick, such as your thigh or stomach
- Regions that don’t experience excessive movement
- The soles of your feet or palms of your hands
It may also help to select a region that will allow you ample time to let the henna dry without being disturbed.
Have Some Patience
While it may be tempting to pick away at the henna paste as it starts to dry on your skin, remember that the longer you leave the henna, the darker it will be and the deeper the pigment will penetrate your skin. If you can leave your henna for around an hour or more without touching it, picking at it, or washing it away, you’ll have a longer-lasting tattoo.
Keep It Moist
If you want to keep that henna paste working overtime, you can keep it moist after it is applied so it continues to stain your skin with pigment. A traditional way to do this is to spritz it with a lemon and sugar mix:
- Gently heat a cup of lemon juice (not to a boil)
- Add three tablespoons of sugar until dissolved
- Allow the mixture to cool down and then add it to a spray bottle
- Spritz or mist your henna tattoo so it stays moist and glistening (but don’t let it run!)
Keep It Warm
Another way to encourage the moisture of the henna paste and the depth of the pigment is to keep your henna tattoo warm after application. You can do this by either sitting in the sun or near a space heater, keeping the henna tattoo warm for 10-minute intervals. Sweating could have an adverse effect on this method so find that happy medium!
While bathing is necessary for personal hygiene, avoid scrubbing the area where you got your henna tattoo, and don’t immerse it in water for long periods of time. Henna tattoos are removed as your dead skin cells are scrubbed away, so you want to avoid exfoliating this region as well. Soap with low acidity is ideal for henna tattoos that are on your hands, especially.
Our Final Thoughts
A henna tattoo is a long-lasting semi-permanent tattoo option that can last two weeks or more with proper application and aftercare. Remember to avoid black henna, even if it’s advertised as lasting longer, as it could contain carcinogens. Be patient with your henna tattoo and allow it time to develop on your skin for a beautiful, enduring temporary tattoo piece!