· 4-5 ounces (120-150mL) of bottled lemon juice
· 35-50 grams of table sugar (depending on humidity levels)
· 100 grams of Neeta Blend henna powder (proprietary mix of Rajasthani & Jamila)
· 1 ounce (30mL) of essential oils – prefer Bani Blend
· 80-100 mL (approximately) of tap water to thin out henna
o Tall glass or steel bowl/container to mix henna in
o Tall container to strain henna into
o Kitchen scale to measure your ingredients
o Pipet or dropper if you need to measure liquids
o Silicone spatula to mix
o Hand or stand mixer (Optional) - mixes faster and can break clumps more easily than mixing by hand
o Carrot or pastry bag large enough for henna paste
o Nylon stocking - make sure it does not have a reinforced toe as it will make the straining process too hard
o Rubber band to secure the end of the pastry bag
1. Start with the bottled lemon juice in a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Other metals or plastics are not recommended as they may have a reaction with the henna paste. 2. Add in the sugar into the liquid. 3. Next, add in the essential oils. 4. At the very end, add 80 mL water to start. 5. Add in the 100 grams of henna powder. Mix everything together using a silicone spatula, butter knife, or hand mixer. You can also use a KitchenAid or another stand mixer. 6. Cover for 12 hours with a lid or plastic wrap and keep in a warm place. 7. When you come back in 12 hours and dig a spoon into the top of the henna mixture, you will see a much lighter green henna paste covered by a very dark green top layer. This is called dye release. When you see this, you know your paste is ready for use. 8. Add more 1 teaspoon (5ml or 5g) of water at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. It will take experimenting and recording the amount of liquids used for your own comfort level for the right consistency with the applicator you use.
9. Once the consistency is to your liking, set up another tall container with a carrot or pastry bag.
10. Inside the pastry bag, add in a nylon stocking.
11. Pour or scoop the mixture into a carrot or icing bag. You can use that big bag similar to a henna cone to fill smaller henna cones of your preferred size. 12. Once the mixture is poured in, twist the carrot bag shut carefully while leaving the nylon out.
13. Then slowly, pull out the nylon stocking from the carrot bag. This will leave any stray rocks, twigs, and other unwanted particles inside the nylon stocking making your henna paste in the carrot bag smooth as can be. This process is called straining.
14. Secure the pastry bag of strained henna with a rubber band on top. The nylon stocking can be discarded or washed out thoroughly and reused to strain another batch of henna paste.
You’re all ready to cone up your henna!
· If you are trying to get dye release fast, you can heat up the lemon juice and sugar solution. This will help dissolve the sugar faster and help the paste get dye release faster. However, if the solution is too hot, it will overcook the henna, so make sure the solution is warm, but not scalding hot, to the touch. If you are unsure, add some cold liquid into the mix until it feels comfortably warm the before adding in the rest of the ingredients.
· Henna loves heat, so keep the henna mixture in a 75-85 degree F environment while waiting for dye release. After dye release, keep the henna in a fridge to use up within 3-5 days or keep it in a freezer to last up to 6 months.