How Long Does Henna Take to Dry

How long does henna take to dry?

One of the things you should consider is how long it takes for henna to dry, if you’re thinking of getting a henna tattoo, because; to get the henna stain to pop more after you’ve washed off the paste, you need to let it dry properly, and for that to happen, it’s important to know how long to wait for your henna to dry.

So, how long does henna take to dry? Fortunately, this article answers this question, and as you read, you’ll also find interesting facts like how to achieve a darker henna tattoo.

What Is Henna?

Before we get to how long henna takes to dry, let’s understand what henna is, what it’s made of and how it stains. Henna is a dye created from a small tree or shrub known as Egyptian privet (henna tree). The leaves of the tree contain a pigment called “lawsone” which gives henna its distinct color. 

However, the pigment in every henna varies, depending on the tropical region where the tree was planted, this is why some henna looks darker than others, and while some will give you a deep burgundy stain, some might appear pale orange, depending on the quality of the leaves.

Uses of Henna

The use of henna traces back centuries ago in Ancient Egypt, north America, south Asia, Arabian Peninsula, and some parts of Africa. 

At the time, it was used as a medicinal plant to treat conditions such as stomach ulcers, bed sores, inflammatory bowel disease, and skin conditions like eczema and headache, however, there is no scientific proof that supports these uses.

Recently, aside from the common use of henna to make temporary tattoos, henna is also used in manufacturing cosmetic products such as hair dye, and fingernail paint, and is also used as cloth dye.

How Does Henna Stain?

The lawsone pigment in henna can’t stain your skin unless it binds with keratin (nail and hair protein), so to make it bind, henna leaves are dried, ground into powder, and made into a paste.

Making a henna paste allows the lawsone pigment to bind with keratin and stain the outer layer of your skin, hair, or nails, depending on how you’re using it.

How To Apply Henna

1. Take Your Henna Paste

Just as we’ve said, for henna to stain, you have to make it into a paste, and although there is pre-made henna paste on the market, the most common type you find often is the powdered form, so to make a paste, mix it with liquids including water, coffee, and lemon juice. Some people also add essential oils such as lavender.

2. Apply According to Your Preferred Design

Once the henna paste is ready, you can apply it on your skin using a tube and design it in whatever style you prefer. You can use a skin scribe to make your designs first if you’re not comfortable doing a freehand design.

If you make a mistake in your design, you can easily fix this by using a q-tip. Apply a bit of Vaseline or water on the q-tip and carefully wipe off your mistake. Do this as soon as you notice your mistake, or when the stain begins to set, it’ll be difficult to correct.

3. Allow to Dry

When you’re done making your designs, let your henna dry properly so the stain can set in. if you’re in a hurry, you can use a hair dryer, and as it dries, you’ll notice gaps between your designs, use a fresh or what’s left of your henna paste to refill those gaps and allow to continue drying.

4. Take off the Dried Paste

Once the henna is completely dried, you can then scrape off the dried henna paste, but don’t wipe off your skin immediately or you might smear your design. After a while, use a wet cloth and clean up and you’ll be left with a pale orange stain, which will darken over 24 hours.

How Long Does Henna Take to Dry
How Long Does Henna Take to Dry?

How Long Does Henna Take to Dry?

It’ll help to know how long henna takes to dry so that you know how long to leave it on before taking it off. However, how long henna takes to dry depends on how thick the layer of ink is and the temperature and humidity of your environment, regardless, henna takes anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to completely dry. Generally, there are three varieties of henna: Natural, Neutral, and Black henna.

1. How Long Does Brown Henna Take to Dry?

Natural henna is also called brown henna because it leaves a rich-brown stain when applied. It is henna in its pure form, that is no artificial ingredient was added to it. This type of henna usually takes about 30 minutes to completely dry.

2. How Long Does Black Henna Take to Dry?

Black henna is made from different sources including natural henna, Indigo, and chemicals like para-phenylenediamine (PPD). This type of henna is mostly used as a fabric dye as the FDA specifically forbids its use on the skin or hair as it can cause severe allergic reactions and scarring.

Black henna usually takes 20 to 30 minutes to dry, although this depends on what brand of black henna you’re using.

How Do You Make Henna Dry Faster?

If you’re in a hurry and can’t wait for your henna to completely dry naturally.

These are a few ways to speed up the drying process:

  • Use a fan or hair dryer to blow-dry it but be careful not to overdo it as that can leave you with a faint stain.
  • While making the henna paste, you can add a few drops of lemon juice to the mixture. This will make it dry faster.
  • Applying thin layers of the henna will take lesser time to dry than thick layers, therefore, for your henna to dry faster, apply thin layers of henna.

Do You Wipe Henna Off After It Dries?

No. After your henna dries, don’t wipe it off immediately, instead, scrape it off carefully with something thin and blunt like a butter knife, to avoid hurting yourself and also to avoid smearing your design. Only wipe off with a wet clean cloth after a few minutes of removing the dried henna paste.

Does Henna Get Darker After It Dries?

Yes. Initially, after you’ve cleaned off the henna, you’ll notice a pale color, but within 24 hours you should notice it begins to darken.

What To Do After Henna Dries

Usually, henna lasts for 2-4 weeks before the stain fades, however, how you take care of it after application, will determine how long it’ll last.

Here are some aftercare procedures you can take to ensure it lasts long enough:

Keep your Hands Off It

It could take an hour before henna dries, but while it’s drying, try to keep your hands off it, and also prevent any obstructions like your clothing or hair from smearing the design.

Allow it to Dry for as Long as Possible

As much as you’d want to fasten the drying process, it’s important that you leave it on your skin for as long as possible, you can even consider leaving it on overnight, this will help intensify the stain on your skin. If you leave it on long enough, it’ll stain deeper.

Use Sugar and Lemon Juice

Although this is not a compulsory step if you want the result of your henna design to appear darker, applying a mixture of lemon juice and sugar will help.

Lemon juice contains an acid that helps to intensify the stain of henna, while sugar acts as a binder for the lemon juice to the henna, so it doesn’t melt the paste. Use a q-tip to apply the mixture one drop at a time until you’ve coated the entire design.

Stay away from Water and Soap

For the next 24 hours after application, don’t wash the layer of your skin with henna with soap and water as that will not allow it to stain deep enough. However, you can use a damp washcloth to gently clean the area.

Moisturize with Essential Oils

Most moisturizers contain bleaching agents and other chemicals that can make the henna fade easily, so moisturize instead with essential oils like olive oil as they will keep your skin moist and keep the henna stain long enough.

Pause on some Beauty Treatments

At least for 2-3 days after application keep away from some beauty treatments such as waxing and exfoliation as they can easily wash off the stain.


How long it takes henna to dry depends on certain factors like the type of henna, humidity, and temperature in your environment, but mostly, it takes 30 minutes to some hours, and it’s preferable to leave your henna long enough because then it’ll give you a darker result. How long you leave henna to dry will also affect how long it stains, the longer it stays, the longer it stains.

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