Sweeteners in the Henna Mix
SWEETENERS or saccharides help the henna paste adhere to the skin and retain moisture. Sugars are humectants, absorbing moisture from the environment to gently rehydrate the paste. Sugar alters the consistency of the paste making it super silky and smooth and can create a stringier and more flexible texture.
Dry and arid climates If you notice the henna paste dries and cracks off the body very quickly increase the amount of sweetener used. This will help to increase moisture and adherence to the skin and increase flexibility of the paste.
Signs you need more sugar
Humid and moist climates If you notice that the henna paste is not drying or tends to melt and become gooey, lower the ratio of sweetener.
Signs you need less sugar
How Much Sugar?
Begin with 1/4 cup sugar for 1 box / 100 grams henna powder
Sugar Granulate sugar, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, sucanat, jaggery, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, or Sweet and Low are all easy to use and very reliable sweeteners to include in your mix.
Powdered Sugar In the United States powdered sugar has cornstarch added which will cause caking and gumminess in your henna paste.
Molasses can be wonderful but is a bit tricky to work with and harder to adjust than the granulated type sweeteners. Pastes with Molasses may change consistency in the freezer/defrost. Use 1 drop of molasses per 100 grams/box of henna powder. A LITTLE bit will do the trick.
Maple Syrup can be great, like with molasses go easy and test first.
Honey NOPE, it creates a chemical reaction producing peroxide which is a bleaching agent. Pastes made with honey change the most in freezing/defrost. It will come in and out of solution and crystalize causing pretty serious consistency issues. Honey is not recommended.
Vegan Options There are many vegan granulated sugar options available now on the grocery store shelf. Look for an ingredient list that states no bone char used in the refining/manufacturing.
Henna Caravan has transitioned to vegan sugars for all henna paste as of February 2019!