Henna tattoos are a type of temporary tattoo that is applied to the skin using a paste from powdered leaves of the henna plant. It has a rich history in Middle Eastern countries and India, and has become very popular lately. Henna tattoos have a dark orange to brown color, and usually last around 2-4 weeks before fading. With certain tips and tricks, it's easy to make a henna tattoo last longer than that.
The first tip is to consider what part of the body will absorb the dye from the henna tattoo best. The thicker the skin is, such as the skin on the bottom of the feet or the palms of the hands, the more dye will be absorbed. Not only will the color be richer and deeper, it will take longer to fade. Designs on thinner skin, such as the inner arm or the back of the hand, will fade as much as two weeks quicker. They will also not develop the deep brown color, and will stay a lighter orange shade.
Make sure the artist applying the henna uses high quality henna powder and the right blend for the paste. Essential oils, honey, and coffee are all usually added to the henna tattoo paste to make it absorb better. It is also essential to leave the henna paste on as long as possible, so as much dye can be transferred to your skin. A piece of saran wrap can help keep the henna from flaking off too early. Never let an artist use anything called or referred to as "black henna" - there is no such thing, and all so called black henna pastes use black hair dye. Since hair dye is not designed for long term skin contact, it can create horrible scarring and even blood poisoning.
Avoid scrubbing the henna tattoo vigorously when bathing or applying lotion over it. Scrubbing with an exfoliating scrub or a washcloth helps remove layers of skin, removing the henna tattoo much quicker. This is helpful if you've gotten a bad design, but not if you want your henna tattoo to last longer. Lotion also helps your skin regenerate new layers quicker. A small amount of sun exposure can initially make the henna tattoo darker and last longer, but continued sun exposure or sunburn can fade it.
Applying vegetable oil or a neutral body oil can also keep your henna tattoo looking good for a longer time. Don't use too much, or rub it or scrub it into the skin. It will keep the skin hydrated and holding onto the dye without encourage exfoliation or faster regeneration of skin layers. Finally, enjoy your henna tattoo, and don't worry too much about when it will begin to fade.