fresh vs. dry turmeric for enhancement?

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Eliz. R.
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fresh vs. dry turmeric for enhancement?

Has anyone done a comparison of fresh and powdered turmeric for getting that extra color into a henna design? Is there any secret  to getting the powder to work well? (Alcohol, essential oil, making a sticky paste and leaving it on...any experiments beyond water and rubbing? Site search failed.)

I just bought some fresh turmeric root. I don't much like the smell, but it's mild enough to ignore. It does seem to stain pretty well so far; only about half of the color wiped away with a damp towel.

Eliz. R.
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Re: fresh vs. dry turmeric for enhancement?

Is this the wrong forum to ask about additional colors for skin?

The color from the fresh root is still present, fading about as fast as the indigo nearby. It's a bit more brownish (less bright) than when first applied, but it's still quite distinct from the a weak henna orange.

Mani
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Re: fresh vs. dry turmeric for enhancement?

I'm not sure that many of the artists currently on the forum have tried using turmeric.  I have never tried fresh root (not available where I live), but had good results with dried turmeric and the instructions here: www.hennapage.com/henna/how/colors/colorsturm.html

As far as experimenting goes, alcohol is going to dry far too quickly and not allow enough time for the paste to stain the skin.  The best thing to use alcohol for is to swab the area before henna/turmeric application to remove any residual oils that may be on the skin.  Some essential oil in the paste may keep it wet longer, but I don't believe it will do anything to make more dye available like it does in henna.  You could probably use olive oil to achieve the same result.  A sticky paste and longer application may do the same thing as water and rubbing without as many steps, but you would use much more turmeric that way and the application could be trickier.  Regardless of application, the turmeric color will not last as long as the henna color without continuous re-application.  That said, if you feel the urge to experiment, please share your results with us here.  It has been a long time since I applied Persian Gold to my henna, might be time to break out the turmeric and paintbrush again.  :) 

Eliz. R.
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Re: fresh vs. dry turmeric for enhancement?

Thanks for the response Mani!

The powder stain didn't last long at all on me, despite repeated applications and rubbing. I'll check the directions again, though. The root, on the other hand, seems to want to reach out and yellow everything. I think there may be a key volatile lost in the drying process.

The fresh root seems to stain much like indigo, in that leaving it on for more than a minute or two (possibly seconds) doesn't seem to have any effect. Can't tell if the rubbing is making it go deeper into my skin or just getting more juice out of the root. I do like how it fills in some open spaces in a henna design and alters the line's color a bit. I've been trying to control the application by shaping the end of the root with a knife and then slitting into the business part to bring out more juice. I'm thinking of using hair gel + mica as a resist, for better control. I haven't tried grating it yet; the juice seems to cling to metal rather than going where I want it, so I'm trying to think of a better way to capture and control it.

I was thinking of alcohol or some other mild solvent as a way to get the color a little deeper into the skin. Also, solvent might be a way to extract the dye from the solid matter (concentrate/preserve it), and maybe to get it off of the metal tools. Water or an essential oil might be better.  My intuition says to treat it more like a brushable fluid than a paste application, but I haven't tried paste yet.  Oooo...I just realized I now have an excuse to buy a ceramic grater.

I've found the fresh root in Whole Foods and Meijer, so it wouldn't surprise me if it starts showing up erratically in the "exotic" section of other grocery stores. It looks like ginger, but with much smaller fingers and orange below the skin. I'm testing to see if it freezes well.

I'm also testing saffron. Can't say more yet than that the stain doesn't wash off immediately. I taped on a thread and got a beautiful fine line, but it has spread a bit since then.

barefootgirl
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Re: fresh vs. dry turmeric for enhancement?

Just wondering if all these extra "additives" make it more suceptible to

allergic reactions.  I don't think I'd use it on clients....

Mani
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Re: fresh vs. dry turmeric for enhancement?

Not sure what you mean by "extra additives".  Do you mean mixing the turmeric with alcohol, EOs, etc... or do you mean the turmeric itself?  We already use essential oils in our henna and alcohol to swab the skin first, so I don't know why that would be a problem.  The turmeric itself is very safe to use on skin.  You can read a bit about it here:  www.hennapage.com/henna/how/colors/colorsturm.html

Eliz. R.
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Re: fresh vs. dry turmeric for enhancement?

Results of experiments with fresh turmeric root.

I grated fresh turmeric roots using an aluminum ginger grater (no holes, just a collection well at the bottom). The juice stuck to the grater, but I don't think there was a chemical reaction. It was rather messy, so I was glad I did it all at once and wore gloves. Some of the very finely grated root in the action part was so deep, it looked red.

0. Previous technique, for comparison: Carving the end of the root into a shape, cutting in tiny slots to release juice, and rubbing. Wait briefly, wipe, and repeat once. Clean up mistakes with alcohol on a swab (if done within a few minutes). For me, this worked better than powder + water. (I have not tried powder + alcohol.)

1. Using the grated root as a paste. Stains slightly less than the direct root (because of drying, I think), with lousy control. Where it wasn't juicy, it was not as strong a stain as touching the root to skin. In the few places it was juicy, the juice dripped and the stain crept unpredictably, so no sharp lines. I also tried mixing the mash with hair spiking glue to keep it in place; that was completely useless (the gel apparently prevented the juice from reaching skin...I might try the hair gel as a resist, next time).

2. Putting the grated root into alcohol and painting the liquid. This worked very well. I saw no significant difference between isopropyl alcohol and grain alcohol (Everclear). I think this is how I'll be using it from now on, unless I want someone to see the root itself. More control, less on my working hands, and the liquid at room temperature a week later is just as potent. I still don't get sharp lines (it's best for filling areas), but this comes the closest. I can at least get it controlled enough to color between a pair of henna lines, such as in a paisley. Alcohol might also be a way to preserve and share fresh root.

3. Water with grated root: okay, but much less effective than alcohol or straight root. I felt most of the juice was just evaporating.

4. Jojoba oil, useless; no stain. The juice didn't get into the oil, really. I suspect the same will be true of any standard oil.

5. Cajeput+cardamom EO with grated root: useless but interesting. The liquid was a paler, more greenish yellow. The very slight stain wiped down to nearly nothing, but the color shift makes me wonder if there's some binding/oxidation action that could be used. I might try an after-rub of EO.

I also tried both fresh root and golden alcohol on cotton fabric. The stains seemed to take pretty well. It wicks (more with alcohol), but that's expected. I might experiment on a (cheap) drum head.

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