There are many variations in recipes. Here is a basic one. Feel free to try any recipe that you come across.

1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons black tea or coffee
3 teaspoons sifted henna powder
1 teaspoon eucalyptus oil

Lemon-Sugar Glaze
strained juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon sugar

henna patterns

Boil the cup of water and make your tea or coffee. Let it steep for a few hours. Strain to remove any particles or tea material. Put henna powder into a plastic or glass bowl and add eucalyptus oil, BUT DO NOT BLEND! Slowly add the tea/coffee about 3 teaspoons at a time to the powder and stir with a small spoon. Use the spoon to press the powder and water together. Do not worry about lumps. Allow to sit for anywhere between 6 and 12 hours. Really. The longer you let it sit, the smoother the mixture will become as all henna particles become absorbed. If you are impatient, after six hours you can smooth out any remaining lumps with a spoon.

After you paint your design, you want to wait until the henna is dry enough to not be runny (it will look kind of flat), but not cracking. You want to dab the barest amount of lemon-sugar glaze on the henna to keep it moist. Using a cotton swab or ball is a good way to apply just a bit. Then you want to leave it on as long as you can humanly stand it

Helpful Hints:
After scraping off the mud, try not to get the skin wet for several hours to help the color set better, about 4 or 5 hours. The less you wash the painted area, the longer the design will last. Swimming, hot tubs, dishwashing, etc. will all cause designs to fade more quickly. Applying lotions or creams to the skin can also result in less color retention.

Esther's Nouveau Mud Notes:

"Although I can and have made mud with just henna and water I prefer to use all sorts of things. A small list of potentials is lemon juice and rind, lime juice and rind, celestial seasoning's bengal spice tea, paprika, clove tea, cinnamon tea, black pepper, 'real' tea both black and otherwise, coffee and essential oils (eucalyptus, clove, lavender, rose, cinnamon leaf, rosemary, mustard seed, etc. etc. etc.). The 'sealing glaze' should be lemon and sugar although I have used flat coke with success on someone with a horrible citrus allergy."

hand with henna applied
Check out this body art!

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