Completely brown henna paste

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Shivali
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Completely brown henna paste

Hi! 

This is my first post here... and I'm new to henna. 

I've mixed about 4-5 batches of paste and none had any green after leaving for 12-36 hours as described in the instructions.  The brown that was to be on top, was throughout the paste.  Does that mean it didn't need to be left that long?  I had it in the oven with the light on.  Is it possible that's too warm?  Or maybe the lid doesn't provide a strong enough seal...??  The last batch included some witch's brew - does that turn it brown?  Or would it still be green underneath?  The designs didn't turn a deep colour, so my guess is that the brown throughout means it oxidized, losing much of the dye in the process. 

Thanks a million for taking time to help me out!  We absolutely love this artwork!

Jen
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

 The less acidic a mix the more likely you'll get a paste that's brown throughout. In that case its best to check for dye release earlier, and by a different method. I like to put a dot of paste on the heel of my hand for about 5 minutes. If it leaves an orange stain its ready to use. If there's none or pale yellow, let it sit longer.

 

Shivali
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

Ah... That's very helpful.  When I tested it, I didn't leave it on the skin that long.  I also read different instructions that suggest 2-4 hours in some cases is long enough!  So much to learn!  This is such fun!  ...and so interesting!  This is with the Raj Twilight, by the way.  The colour turned out okay for me since my skin tone is so light, but it's not as dark as I'd like.

Next, I'll try some Khamsa Yemeni and see what happens.

 

Thanks, Jen!

Shivali
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

I just made another batch and let it sit for only 3 hours and it still turned completely brown - no layer of brown on top of green.  However, when I used the test you suggest, it did leave an orange mark.  So, should I stop being concerned about not having the layer of brown on top with green underneath?  Or would I get a darker stain if I shortened the time further?  It's weird because I checked it after 1.5 hours and it had a very very thin layer of brown on top.  Perhaps I should have checked it then.  Any further suggestions?

Thanks!!

xyz
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

Correct.  Stop judging readiness based on the color of the paste itself and start testing on your skin instead.  The staining on your skin is always a reliable indicator of dye-release, while the color of the paste is a bit unreliable--and in some cases, completely deceiving.  As suggested above, smear a bit of paste on the palm of your hand, wait 2-5 minutes, rinse.  You want a BRIGHT orange stain.  If it's faint, it either needs more time...or you've let the paste sit too long.  Don't worry, just test every few hours and you won't miss the peak of color.  You'll quickly learn how long to expect to wait with a particular henna in combination with your chosen liquid, your home temperature, etc. 

Mani
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

If you have an oven thermometer may want to check the temp of your oven with just the light on or use a regular thermometer or meat thermometer to check the temp of your paste.  I found that my oven gets surprisingly warm after just an hour or two with the light on and leaving my paste in there for 12 hours it was getting far too warm (90-112 degrees!  Dead paste!)  You should aim for no higher than 80F, especially with Raj, as it seems to have a much shorter release time and lower heat tolerance.  If you are using little or no acid (lemon juice) in your mix, it will release even faster and demise much more quickly (the stains also tend not to last as long), so watch out for that.

 

Mani
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

Also, you may want to cover your bowl with plastic wrap rather than a lid.  Press the wrap right down onto the paste so that it has no air contact.  That may help with over-oxidization.

Shivali
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

@xyz & Mani -

Thanks for your input.

I've begun a batch of Jamila and I'll start one of Raj, as well - using the plastic wrap instead of the top.  I doubt I'll use a thermometer, but I will try it on top of the fridge, instead of the oven. 

I saw Catherine's post here:  http://forums.hennapage.com/node/3410#comment-13009 about how she handled her mix of Raj, but she makes reference to where she is and I don't know where that is.  I'm in Michigan where it's very cold and dry.  We live in a drafty old house, too.  So I imagine that my rest time will be quite long - at least as long as wherever Catherine is.  Right?  As a beginner, I don't really mind having less colour - my designs aren't worth showing off yet - but I do want to figure out why I'm not getting those beautiful, deep colours that others are achieving!

I do use lemon juice, so the acidity shouldn't be an issue.

 

 

Jen
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

 Catherine's in Ohio, so the conditions should be similar to yours.

However you do it, just be sure to consider ALL the conditions. Nutral liquid = faster dye release. More acidic liquid = slower dye release. Higher temp = faster dye release. Lower temp = slower dye release. Different hennas need different dye relase times too! You can't follow someone else's recipe and expect exactly the same dye release timing even if conditions are the same unless you know that you've got exactly the same henna!

Shivali
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

True, but she wouldn't have mentioned her location if it weren't another consideration.  My timing will likely be closer to that of Ohio than Florida, all things held relatively constant.

I tested the Jamila after 12 hours with sugar, lemon juice, plastic wrap and being on top of the fridge.  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.  I tested the Raj after 7 hours, also with sugar, lemon juice, plastic and fridge.  Also, negligable results...  

AND... I just realized that my Raj is not Raj Twilight!  So, I've ordered some and will keep experimenting. 

Thanks for the considerations.  This is more complex than I thought!

Jen
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

 In the winter when the temp in my home is closer to 65, rather than the 75 I keep it in summer, I often leave Jamila stand as long as 48 hours! Keep in mind I do NOT apply other heat such as a lamp. That's just right out on the counter.

Are you using a good essential oil? Keep in mind that should be added at least 3-5 hours before you plant to use the paste. Many add that in the innital mix. I have talked to people who struggle to a color they like from a dye release skin test because they haven't got the terps in there yet! You won't see that neon orange or deep pumpkin color from a skin test without terps. Just pale orange or even just gold.

Shivali
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

Ooooooohhhhh... (light bulb goes on) No, I didn't want to add essential oil until I get a feel for the more simple rendition....and maybe save the good stuff for when I know what I'm doing.  I do have some Tea Tree/Geranium.  Yeah, that's exactly what I was getting - pale orange or gold.  That's verrrry helpful!  And 48 hours for Jamila!  Wow!  Okay, I'll open my vision on timing possibilities, too.  I know I'll get it eventually...

Shivali
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

Well, this is my best batch yet!  The Raj mentioned in a previous post, after sitting for a little more than 2 days, turned a gorgeous reddish-coffee stain on the back of my hand!  Although my skill with a cone leaves a lot to be desired at this point and I find myself apologizing to admirers for it, the colour is magnificent!  We'll see how long it lasts.  I marked it on the calendar.  I'll try out the Jamila 2011 tonight or tomorrow.  Oh yeah - somewhere I read a suggestion to mix... and mix... and mix...  for up to 5 mintues!  So I did and the texture is so nice and creamy and ran better than ever onto the canvas (=my skin).  So, it does seem erroneous for instructions to mention that the colour of the paste will be lighter underneath.  Mine was still dark brown throughout.

Thanks so much for the support and all the advice!!!  I'll try the next desing left-handed!!  *gulp*

 

Catherine

MoonGrrrl
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

this has been really helpful to me as well!! i get color, but not as strong as i'd like. i've gotten better color in the past it seems. i left it on over night....about 8 hours. i had to rinse it off with water [i know you aren't supposed to expose to water...but i'm a bad henna artist that way.] i have color..but it's faint. it darkens to a dark tan/light chocolate brown, but never gets that super deep color that i see. 

thanks for this thread, it's been VERY helpful.

Hennacat
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Re: Completely brown henna paste

Hi there,

I'm in the UK, and if I had my oven on like this, and put my henna in it, I know it would kill the stain....and I would get completely brown henna like you have.  I go for  long slow dye release in my kitchen which has an ambient temperature of a bout 65 deg F. I also very closely seal the henna in the bowl with saran wrap, leave it for 24 hours, add terps and leave for another 24 hours. This recipe hasn't let me down so far!

 Glad you've found your basic recipe - now it is all about tweaking and terping!

Cat x

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