How to Maintain Your Mehndi
Once the paste is applied to your skin treat the area gently as it is fragile and has a tendency to flake off. To prevent the paste from drying out and flaking off apply a solution of 3 parts lemon juice and 1 part sugar with a cotton swab. Apply this solution as often as you like or whenever the paste appears dry. This creates a protective glaze and helps to retain the moisture in the paste as well as act as an adhesive between the skin and paste.
Carefully wrap the area in tissue securing it firmly with tape then wrap this with plastic wrap. Yes, you will look like a mummy but this is a sure fire way to keep the paste in tact and prevent staining of carpet, bedding and clothing. The wrap keeps the area warm and creates slight perspiration on the skin to remoisten the paste. Remember to keep the body warm by sitting near a fire or holding a heating pad to the area, heat makes a better stain.
Leave the paste on your skin for as long as possible. The longer the paste is in contact with your body the more dye is able to saturate into the skin. 6-12 hours will leave a nice, deep stain, but, the longer the better. I find itís best to just wrap up and sleep with the paste on. Be careful not to shift the wrappings, this will dislodge the paste and smear the design.
If you want an extra dark stain, just before you are ready to remove the paste hold the area over steam for 20 minutes and then cut off the wraps. A steam producing humidifier works well or hold the area over a pot of boiling water or tea kettle.
Now you are ready to remove the paste. Scrape it off using the side of an iron knife, the iron helps to oxidize the henna. If this makes you nervous use the side of a spoon or a credit card. To remove any stubborn residue use a natural oil (olive oil works well), do not use water, it can ruin the stain.
Watch your new mehndi change from yellow-orange to a deeper reddish-brown (depending on your skin) over the next 48 hours. The dye will oxidize, becoming darker and richer in color. You should avoid contact with water as much as possible during this period.
Rub your mehndi with natural oil before bathing or swimming to protect it from water and give it a quick rub of natural oil in the mornings. These simple steps protect your design and help it to look its best.
Avoid excess rubbing of the area. Keep in mind that frequent washing, soaps, petroleum products (sunscreen and baby oil), and the rubbing of clothing and shoes on the design will cause it to fade more quickly. Shaving removes layers of skin so you may want to shave around your mehndi.
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