Eid Al adha is round the corner and along with a whole lot of things..the henna name comes up just as often. Henna is very traditional used to decorate the hands ,the feet, applied on hair and in the west on pregnant tummies and wherever one feels like !
Now I have ground henna leaves to make a great paste for my hands back in my school days but the most memorable henna powder I bought was around 8-9 years ago.I had been to the local supermarket and happened to come by this quarter kg pack of henna from Saudi.I prepared it with a few simple ingredients which are Lemon juice, coffee and black tea.That's it.Made it into a paste,applied and left it on for a good 9 hours or so and I had the most dark henna on my hands ,a dark burgundy to brown color which intensified in the days after.And the aroma...it was just heavenly.But That was that day and a week later I went back ,until now..I haven't found that henna pack.Plus not knowing the name didn't help either.
Now every year I check online for recipes or so to make the best henna paste.For the past 2 years, I have switched to chemical henna tubes...its apply,wait for 30 minutes and wash it off.But this year I wanted henna for my hair and also do it from scratch.This year I purchased Yemeni henna and another one from Pakistan.The Yemeni one smells like ground henna leaves and the Pakistani one smells divine.
But Anyways, now that I'm checking the recipes...the ingredients include essential oils and new stuff I unheard of.There is this kiss recipe that seems to be quite famous on every website.SO finally I have a gist of the henna preparation I have decided to finally make:
First of all let me just tell you honestly..I have no measurements to give.I eyeball recipes,so exact measurements with me.
The first important thing,having a good quality Henna powder.There are borwn powders and various shades of green powders out there..
This is the green color you want.A little shade lighter isn't that bad either.
Refrain from using water when making the mix for henna paste.
Adding coffee powder or tea,is to boost the color but mainly for the aroma.It smells heavenly.
Even a little bit of sugar is added to prevent the paste from drying and If I'm not mistaken helps it to be stringy which helps with application using a cone.
The new thing I will add this year is cloves and black pepper to the tea or coffee.The essential oils of clove bud and black pepper is also used but I cannot go and buy these oils for just one day. Also throw in some methi or fenugreek seeds.
And lemon juice...there can be no henna paste without lemon juice.Its acidity helps deepen the colour.
So the way I would go about making my henna paste this year..is sift the henna powder with a tea strainer or wheat flour strainer.Then I would add to glasses of water in a saucepan and I add 1 tablespoon of tea powder,half a tsp of fenugreek seeds,1 tbsp of coffee, a few cloves and black pepper into and give it a damn good boil to concentrate it all.Now I would say half and half of lemon juice and then the other concoction.Mix it well and then wrap the bowl you made the paste in with a plastic wrap and leave it in a corner for an entire 24 hours.
\Yes, you heard it right ! They say..in these 24 hours...the dye from the henna has to be drawn out. After 24 hours, you will see a brown liquid layer on top of the paste.Throw out the water with a spoon and then sweet hearts, the henna is ready to apply.
The longer you keep in on your hands and feet, the deeper the color.SO overnight..maybe 8-9 hours while you drool on your pillow.Of course, once you apply,you have to wait to dry it out which would take an hour or so,then wrap your hands with either some cloth or plastic wrap and doze away.
I'm not going for complicated designs this year.I'm going for capping my fingers and toes and then a circle on either side of my hands and done.The normal Arabic way you could say.
I hope this information was helpful.
Before I leave the main 3 essential oils that they say deepen the color are :
But they say clove oil is a skin irritant for some.
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