Mehandi Employees’ Favorite Products

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What’s It Like Working for

Writer’s Note

Ask any employee here, and they’ll agree that there is no company quite like Mehandi. Probably because there is no boss quite like Catherine Cartwright-Jones, PhD.. I have worked for Mehandi and our branches for almost three years now, and it is truly wonderful and different. Before starting the blogs this past summer, and moving to Montreal, Quebec, I was part of the Customer Service team in the main office, worked at our brick-and-mortar store, Empire, and was a “body art specialist” for the company. Before that, I was a customer who loved the products.

              What makes this company different is its openness and flexibility. Part of it is cross-training, and part of it is that the company recognizes staff’s talents and interests, encouraging them to take on new roles. If I were to write down my job description, it would be long and strange. When people asked me what I did, I’d stop for several seconds, because “Customer service for an online store” did not capture it in the very least. I’d need an hour to give it justice, starting by describing Catherine’s research on henna for hair, the dangers of PPD, and the use of body art throughout history and around the world… and how the company came about in relation to that research… and how we didn’t just sell things but also provided information and support… and yeah I was on the phone a lot, but sometimes I was covering myself or others in glitter… and sometimes I was doing research… and sometimes I was playing with puppets.

              Now, I’m here in my office, in my apartment hundreds of miles away from Kent, Ohio, but still very much connected to the company through the magic of the internet. For this article, I drew on my own experiences and asked my co-workers to provide their own thoughts. One thing becomes very clear: It’s all about the people.

The Warehouse

              First, I’d like to take you on a descriptive journey through the little blue building we call The Warehouse. Just off the highway, on Tallmadge Road, in Kent, Ohio, down a gravel driveway, hidden behind another industrial building, there is a place where magic happens on the daily. There are hummingbird feeders attached to the windows. Jenny the cat, who has been out stalking some small thing, is rolling on the sidewalk leading up to the door.

The warehouse. Photo credit: Roy Jones

              Walk inside, and you are greeted with a swirl of scents. It has the classic odors of a warehouse and office space, with its notes of cement, dust, and cardboard. Then, you smell plant powders and spices. Shampoo and soap bars. Incense, which many employees burn in their offices. Burnt sage, if some negative energy had to be dispelled recently. If Lynnette, head of Assembly, has been packaging essential oils, that heady smell hits you square in the nose.

              You are standing in the Assembly room. Here, packets are labeled, fruit acid powders are measured and bagged, and henna-for-hair kits are put together. To the right, Lynnette’s office is dimly lit with hanging lamps and smells like a temple. Her office is also the home of one of our printers, whom we call Hal. Hal prints our labels and other things needed for assembly. Val is the other printer.

              Walk forward into the next room, and you are in Packing and Shipping. The walls are lined with shelves holding henna for hair kits and big baskets of individual plant dye powder packets. There are drawers full of shampoo bars, soap bars, and smaller items. There are wide tables where Michelle or Melissa are stacking shallow black bins, each containing the contents of an order ready to be packed and shipped. They double-check the order form and initial it. When an order gets packed, it’s checked and initialed again before the box is taped up. Carl the cat is most likely snoozing under the shipping table.

Melissa and Carl wait for the mail truck.

Through the door straight ahead is Customer Service. Be quiet and keep the door closed. Here are several desks with computers, each area personalized by each customer service representative. The walls are covered with fabric tapestries, hair swatches, letters and photos from happy customers, and cheat sheets for item codes, mix ratios, and other important information. The CSRs are chatting through their headsets and typing on their keyboards. If the phones are slower, they are answering emails, or responding to posts on our Facebook pages.

              A door on the other side of the Customer Service office leads to a hallway. Here are the doors to the offices of the administrative positions. Roy Jones, Catherine’s husband, is the man behind anything having to do with technology. He also does photography for promotional materials. His office is tech’d out and filled with books about computer systems and coding. Other administrative positions have offices in this hallway, as well. Val, our other printer, spits out customer order sheets in the corner.

              The Packing and Shipping room is also attached to the warehouse proper, as well as the break room. The warehouse contains huge pallets of boxes filled with henna, indigo, and other plant powders, which we ship from India several times a year. It is dark, quiet, and cool.

              The break room is a wide space that holds a large, comfy couch, shelves of packaging materials and office supplies, and a dedicated space for photography. Someone may be having lunch or catching a quick nap while others prepare a body art piece for shooting. There is a shelf full of fabrics and props. The couch is eternally covered in glitter. This is where we have company meetings. Some of the staff will pile on the couch, others will bring in their chairs, and others sit on the floor. The cats will wander from person to person, demanding their due pats.

There are no cubicles here. The furniture is a mix-and-match of used and re-purposed items. There are several very old, very pretty rugs. The whole place looks like it is run by a hippie who went into business, and who has a penchant for digging through Craigslist for antique furniture. Because maybe it is. Catherine works from The Shed, her office at her home, and pops in from time to time. But her presence here is always clear. The warehouse is a home, and the people are a family. We joked among ourselves that the type of person to work here is always a little weird, and maybe you have to be, to be this passionate about something like henna.

Rumple guards the entrance to The Shed. Here is where Catherine completed her PhD Disseration.

What is

              Mehandi is the online store for Ancient Sunrise® hair and skin products. It is the result of years of research by Catherine Cartwright-Jones, PhD., who had an interest in providing safe alternatives to commercial hair dye and providing research-based information on henna. The company’s origins go back to the Henna Page Forums of the mid-to-late 1990s when henna began to gain popularity in the Western world.

             We ship across the globe.,,, and our blogs continue to publish scholarly and research-based information that is free to the public.

              Catherine’s vision went beyond selling a product. It was about educating the consumer and shedding light on safe, effective methods of hair care and body art. Catherine has spoken to the FDA and to cosmetic giants about the epidemic of para-phenylenediamine (PPD) sensitization. She hopes to influence change in the use of PPD in hair dyes and to bring henna for hair into the mainstream. has tens of thousands of customers who now happily color their hair without risks of allergic reaction or hair damage.

Our new and improved website launched in 2017.

Happy Staff = Happy Customers

              Catherine firmly believes that the success of the company depends on the way her employees are treated. She knows that work can be stressful and that the staff spends much of their time at The Warehouse. Therefore, work should be a comfortable and enjoyable place. Our kitchen is stocked with coffee, teas, and healthy snacks. There is a request sheet that is filled regularly. Out of chocolate-covered almonds? Put it on the list. Snacks are part of the company’s budget. Roy regularly treats the staff to lunch. If a company meeting is happening, there will probably be food.

              In addition to staying well-fed, we are quite comfortable. There is no dress-code policy. Staff are encouraged to wear whatever is most comfortable for them, whether it is jeans, pajama pants, or flowing skirts. Some shuffle around in fluffy slippers. There are a number of seat options available, so whether a person prefers a swiveling office chair or a yoga ball, there is something that will work. The large sofa in the break room is great for naps. The two office cats, Carl and Jenny, who keep us company, provide stress relief, and lie on our keyboards at inopportune times.

Jenny is very good at getting in the way. Photo credit: Elizabeth Nissel.

Customer Service

Our commitment to customer service is what makes this company great, as well as unique. I don’t mean it in that cheesy-commercial-slogan kind of way. Catherine understood that the knowledge of using henna was once commonplace because it was shared among family and friends. In the areas where henna was traditionally used, men and women went to their respective public bathhouses, and communal spaces to wash, groom, and interact with others. People washed each other’s bodies, hennaed each other’s hair, hands, and feet, and shared grooming tips. Now that personal hygiene has moved to the privacy of individual homes, Catherine understood that, in order for this knowledge to be spread again, she had to create a modern version of this community.

              It starts with the customer service team. Each new representative takes the time to read the Ancient Sunrise Henna for Hair E-book and many other resources before being able to work one-on-one with customers. The other team members help each other to make sure that the info they are giving out stays accurate. When needed, the staff re-read material and find new articles to share with one another to keep their knowledge fresh. New members are quizzed on their knowledge by their co-workers. They role-play potential phone calls and give constructive criticism. It may be several weeks before a trainee is allowed to take a phone call on their own; they begin with emails and responses on social media which are checked by Maria, the Customer Service Supervisor, before being sent. This is all to make sure that our customers get consistent and accurate information.

              The customer service staff communicates with customers in several ways: By phone, email, online chat, one of our many Facebook groups and pages, and through social media programs like Instagram and Twitter. We also send out a monthly newsletter. The customer service office is open much later than an average business—often until 10pm EST on the weekdays—so that people can contact them late in the evening for last-minute orders, questions, or advice.

              Customer Service advises henna users on custom mixes and selecting the products that work best for them. They take orders. They troubleshoot. Being a customer service representative is both stressful and rewarding. It requires an amazing amount of multitasking. Jumping from a phone call to a chat session, to a Facebook thread is a normal part of the job.

              We know many of our regular customers by name and even their usual order. CS keeps notes on customers’ files, so if a customer has been working on adjusting their mix, or has been having difficulty achieving their desired color, any representative can pull up their history and continue the conversation where it left off last. (Here’s a secret: We’ll also write notes like “This person is so sweet and a joy to work with!”)

              Because of this, we are able to develop a personal connection with our customers and grow a community of henna users who are well-versed in henna for hair. Our online community at the Ancient Sunrise Henna group on Facebook is now well over 3,500 members and is very active. Customers are able to ask each other for advice and to share photos of their hair. The group is like our virtual bathhouse, and the CS representatives, Catherine Cartwright-Jones, and I are like the grandmothers, sitting quietly in the corner until someone needs a little help.

If you’re not yet part of our public Facebook group, join now!

              Of course, henna knowledge then spreads in real life, through families, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. This company does very little in the way of advertising; many of our new clients call us after being introduced through word of mouth. In fact, there have been numerous times when a new customer told me that they are calling because they had stopped someone on the street and asked about their hair. Customers regularly report that they are asked about their hair. This happens so often that, by customer request, we began adding an extra business card to each of our shipments.

              It is exactly this kind of community that Catherine envisioned when she began Her goal was not only to provide quality product, but also the knowledge and support that would allow henna to become a regular, household practice again.

Cross-Training and Interdepartmental Magic

              Because we are a small company, many of us wear several hats. When I was living in Ohio, I worked in the Customer Service office during the week, and at our brick-and-mortar store, Empire, on Fridays and Saturdays. I, like many others, was also trained in Shipping, where we pick and pack the items that go out all around the world. I also helped out in Assembly, where the products are put together. I liked to measure the powders for the Henna for Hair Kits, and stick labels on the packaging. At one point, when the bakery and chocolate shop, Bittersweets, was short-staffed, a few of us also filled in there to help at the register and to clean chocolate molds. During the winter months, some of us do body art, hair, and/or make-up for promotional materials and tutorials, and other staff members act as our models.

Because most of the staff has experience in several departments, we understand how other departments work. This makes it easier for someone in Customer Service to know what is possible for Shipping, or for Inventory to check on how much time Assembly will need to create more stock. Because the space is relatively small, it is easy enough to run over to the next room to ask someone a question related to their department. Having a small crew of knowledgeable and flexible staff makes everything flow smoothly.

Communication and Collaboration

              In addition to the comfort of the physical environment, the feeling of openness and respect extends to the way that we are able to communicate and be heard by those in charge. Company meetings invite brainstorming and collaborating on new ideas. When asking my co-workers for input about this article, many of them said that they feel respected and that their ideas are heard. I wholly agree. One of my favorite parts about working for this company is that creativity is appreciated.

              In fact, these blogs came about because a few months prior to my move to Canada, I mentioned that the blogosphere seemed like a place where we needed a stronger presence. This turned into Catherine’s decision to launch and, and have me write while in Montreal. It was wonderful that she recognized my knack for research and writing, and turned it into a way to keep me with the company.

My home office in Montreal, in its natural state of chaos.

Photography and video happen by the bookcase; research happens all over the desk and floor.

              Other products of staff creativity include our Instagram accounts, video tutorials, and ideas for promo codes. The Customer Service staff propose events for promos, and create those fun announcements you see on our Facebook pages. We are also listened to when we feel something is not working smoothly. In 2017, when the new website was launched, Roy gave everybody access to the site in progress so we could check the pages and provide input and corrections.

              It’s wonderful to work for a company that recognizes its employees as creative and skilled people with ideas worthy of being heard. We can say, “I would like to try this” and the response is more often than not, “Great idea! Go for it!” We know that our co-workers will be excited to see the outcomes of our ideas, contribute suggestions, and give constructive criticism. With so many projects happening at any given time, work never gets old.

              Our work takes us around the world and in front of big audiences, too! In 2016, Catherine presented to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the USFDA, and then later that year at The IFSCC, International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists. In spring of 2017, Maria and Gwyn spend a week in Italy, working with a salon interested in incorporating henna into their services and products.

Catherine Cartwright-Jones speaking to members of the USFDA. Photo credit: Roy Jones

Maria Moore and Gwyn Jones in Italy. Photo credit: Maria Moore

Gwyn presents to a company in Parma, Italy. Photo credit: Maria Moore

We Are a Family Company in Every Sense

              Catherine’s husband, Roy, oversees day-to-day operations and decision-making at the office. Gwyn, Catherine and Roy’s daughter, knows everything there is to know about importing and customs. Catherine’s son, Rhys, is an attorney who helps with legal matters. Mehandi is very much a family-run business.

              But the staff’s family matter, too. When I asked my co-workers for input for this article, one of the responses I repeatedly received was how much they appreciated the flexibility they had when it came to taking care of their own families. Many members of the staff have children of different ages and needs. They are able to adjust their schedules when situations arise. Because our jobs are so fluid, it is often possible for one person to fill in for another across departments when needed. Staff members sometimes bring their children to work during school breaks, or on days when school is canceled. In fact, the employees’ children love to play with each other. Jen’s daughters are great models for body art, sitting still while having their hands or faces painted. They have been featured in many of our promotional photos. Maria’s son has also had his face painted his fair share of times.

Staff kids at the office during the winter holidays. Photo credit: Jenifer Jeney

Playing dress-up, Becoming Moonlight® style.

Body art by Maria Moore and Alexander Limbach, respectively. Photography: Roy Jones. Visual Montage: Alex Morgan

              Finally, we are like a family to each other. We bring in snacks and groceries to share with one another. We trade clothes. We talk about our families and our lives. We spend time with each other outside of work. For me, one of the hardest parts of moving out of Ohio was leaving my co-workers. I am still a part of the company and communicate with them over the internet, but I miss the day-to-day camaraderie.

Thank you!

     is a company that values solid research and creative collaboration. Our staff come from diverse backgrounds and bring their own unique skills. We love our products and are happy that you do, too. When you order from us, you are supporting a small business, and you are receiving products and knowledge that we are proud of. You are supporting our ongoing research and innovation. You are supporting our families and fur babies. On behalf of everyone at, thank you for being part of our family!

Alex, Michelle, and Maria (Empire, Inventory, and Customer Service, respectively) after a body art and makeup photoshoot. Photo credit: Alexander Limbach

In memory of Carl and Jenny <3.

Author: Rebecca Chou
Updated: Maria Moore November 2022

Seven Great Gift Ideas from Mehandi.Com

The holidays are coming fast. Ancient Sunrise® and Becoming Moonlight® products from make great gifts for a variety of people. You might know someone who has been interested in trying henna, or someone who has been a devoted henna-head for years. Maybe you have a cosmetics-lover in the family, an artist, a frequent flyer, or someone who is always busy but wants to look their best. Here are eight gift ideas to make everyone happy.

You could also share this post with loved ones (nudge, wink) to point them toward what you might want this season.

1. A Stocking-Stuffer Starter Kit the Curious But Hesitant

Your friend has been admiring your hair for ages, and they’re finally ready to try henna, but they don’t know where to start. Put together a sweet and simple gift bag with everything they need to begin.               

If they’re not sure about their mix, start them off with a few kit samples that are closest to what they want. They can use these to conduct strand tests to help them decide on their mix. Add in a packet or two of our famous Ancient Sunrise® Rainwash treatment, some disposable gloves, hair clips, and a warm knit cap. Write a nice note offering to order their first kit and help them apply it once they’ve figured out what they want.

Sample orders ship free!

Toss in some extras goodies that are sure to please anyone:

Ancient Sunrise® Zizyphus Spina Christi is a wonderful cleanser and conditioner for any hair type and color. Learn more about Ancient Sunrise® Zizyphus here.

 Ancient Sunrise® Cassia adds strength and shine with minimal color change.

Spellstone hair ornaments make beautiful, unique gifts, and are 50% off with coupon code “Spellstone” until January 6th! They come in a variety of designs to fit every hair length and texture. Each design has a unique meaning. Each piece is made from ethically sourced water buffalo horn or bone.

2. The Ultimate Pampering Package

Know someone who likes to turn their henna day into a full spa day? Make them a basket of Ancient Sunrise® products to make their experience extra special.

Ancient Sunrise® Amla powder makes for a great facial mask that cleans, exfoliates, tightens, and brightens. It is high in Vitamin C which is known to brighten complexions, and has anti-microbial properties. Ancient Sunrise® Amla powder is tested for purity by an independent laboratory. Amla has many beneficial uses which you can learn about here.

Ancient Sunrise® Amla powder is great for the face. Just mix with water and apply for 3-5 minutes once or twice a week.

Ancient Sunrise® Henna Attar has a wonderful earthy aroma reminiscent of chocolate and tobacco with a faint, sweet floral note. Dab it on the wrists, behind the ears, or dilute it with a carrier oil. A little goes a long way. Add in a comfy robe or a candle, and this gift is a winner.

3. For the Constant Doodler and/or Glitter Lover

 Becoming Moonlight® body art products are wonderful for those who have an artistic spirit, or those who were a unicorn in a past life.

The Gilding Kits are a great introduction for those who have not used gilding paste. They can be used to create beautiful, sparkling “white henna” patterns and more. Each kit comes with a cone of Becoming Moonlight® gilding paste, glitter, gilding powder, gems, alcohol swabs, and instructions.

Create gorgeous works of art on your skin with Becoming Moonlight® body art supplies.

This is a great gift for teens who can’t stop drawing on themselves, and is much safer than those “white henna” tutorials online which use anything from white acrylic paint to white-out. Becoming Moonlight® gilding paste is specifically designed for body art use, and is non-toxic and latex-free. As it is flexible and water-resistant, Becoming Moonlight® gilding paste lasts up to a week or longer on the skin.

Print out the free 2018 Henna Page Calendar or one of the many free pattern books, to provide some artistic inspiration.

Becoming Moonlight® glitters, gilding powders, and gems are all body-art quality and make for great stocking-stuffers, too. The gilding powders are wonderful as eye-shadows and highlighters.

4. For the Frequent Flyer

You may know someone who is always traveling, be it for work or for wanderlust. Put together a travel bag they can easily take with them wherever they go. These products are much better than those little bottles in hotel bathrooms, and won’t be a problem when going through airport security.

 Ancient Sunrise® Shampoo bars are fantastic for travel. Your loved one won’t have to worry about bringing another liquid through TSA, or having a shampoo bottle leak in their luggage bag. They can even cut off small pieces rather than taking the whole bar. The shampoo bars are made from all natural ingredients, are vegan, cruelty free, and pH balanced. They leave the hair soft and moisturized;  following with conditioner isn’t necessary, so that’s yet another bottle they won’t have to pack!

Each Ancient Sunrise® shampoo bar lasts several months. As they are water-soluble, keep them dry to make them last longer.

Water quality varies greatly from place to place, and hard water wreaks havoc on the hair. Luckily, Ancient Sunrise® Rainwash Treatment is easy to pack and clarifies the hair to leave it smooth, soft and manageable. It comes in both single-use packets and 50g jars (enough for about ten uses).

Ancient Sunrise® Zizyphus is a great option for those who are going to the beach. It is a natural 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner that protects the hair from salt water and wind. It comes in a powder form which is mixed with water to form a paste. For campers, it’s safe to rinse outside or in a body of water because it does not contain anything that is harmful to the environment.

If the person in mind colors their hair with Ancient Sunrise® henna, ask them what they use, and portion it out into single-use packets that they can take with them to touch up their roots when away on long trips. Root touch-ups usually take about 50g of powder. Add a fruit acid powder into their henna/cassia so they can just add water. Just remember to keep the indigo powder separate from the rest.

5. For the Busy and Bearded

You may know someone who colors their facial hair or beard with henna. As facial hair grows quickly, it can become time-consuming or annoying to do frequent touch-ups. Give the gift of convenience by mixing up a batch of henna and separating it into single-use portions which can be kept in the freezer and thawed quickly.

Dye-release henna and separate into plastic bags for easy application.

If this person uses a henna/indigo mix, measure portions of indigo powder into individual baggies so they can just thaw their henna, mix their indigo, combine, and apply. This is a great idea for root touch-ups, too.

Throw in a tinting brush or toothbrush for easy application, and a cool handkerchief so they can keep the paste warm and look like a bandit at the same time.

6. For Those Visiting From Afar

Shipping costs can add up quickly, especially for those henna-heads who live on the west coast, or outside of the United States. If you live closer to Ohio and have friends or relatives visiting from a far-off land, offer to order their favorite plant powders in bulk. Ancient Sunrise® products can be brought across borders without problem. If you order for the both of you, you get the benefit of a bulk discount as well.

 Just make sure to account for shipping and handling times so they don’t go home without their goodies. Most orders take about 5-6 business days. Shipments within Ohio can be faster.

7. For the Henna Nerd

The Ancient Sunrise® Henna for Hair E-book has become something like the henna for hair bible. Many long-time henna users still visit it over and over again. The newest chapters include wonderful knowledge about the history of henna use. The best thing is, it’s free to download.

Create a unique gift by downloading the chapters onto a USB drive, and taking it to a printer to have it printed and bound. It will be a lovely addition to a library or coffee table, and very useful for when your loved-one is midway through mixing their paste and just needs to do a quick check.

Final Notes

When ordering your items, remember to check how long the shipping will take, to ensure your package arrives on time. Express shipping is available at extra cost if you order directly with Customer Service through phone, email, or online chat.

Office hours may change during the holidays. Liking and following our Facebook pages is the best way to keep up to date on any changes. Mehandi’s Facebook page is here, and also be sure to join the Ancient Sunrise Henna group if you haven’t already.

Indigo powder and gilding paste are affected by cold temperatures. If you live in an area whose temperatures fall below freezing, you may want to request extra insulation or express shipping to make sure your indigo stays safe.

  Be sure to check the return/exchange policy here.

We wish you a wonderful holiday and hope your friends and family absolutely love their gifts.

Author: Rebecca Chou December 2017
Edited: Maria Moore September 2022

Henna on Fingertips, Feet, and Nails: Cosmetic and Practical Applications (Part Two)

How To Henna Fingertips, Nails, and Feet

Part One of this two-part series explored the use of applying henna on fingertips, nails, and feet. Henna was used both as a cosmetic and as a way to heal and protect skin, nails, and hair.

To read Part One, click here.

This section will describe how to use henna paste to decorate and strengthen fingertips, nails, and feet.

Note for US Residents:

The color additive “henna” is approved by the FDA solely for the use of “hair dye” (see, 21 CFR 73.2190); it may not be used for dyeing the “eyelashes,” “eyebrows,” nor the “eye area” for cosmetic product applications. Neither is it approved for cosmetic “skin tattoo” purposes. To use a color additive in any cosmetic product application for which it is not listed for regulation renders it “adulterated” and/or “misbranded.” (see section 601(a) and/or 601(e), and/or 602(e) of the FD&C Act)
Here are the US FDA regulations for the use of henna for the purpose of body art. These regulations have the force of law:
If you live outside of the US, this does not apply to you.

Always make sure you are using only 100% Body Art Quality (BAQ) henna whether it is on the hair or skin.

How to Apply Henna to Fingertips

Save this for a time when you don’t need your hands. I do this before bed, and sleep with wrapped fingertips.

            Henna on smaller areas of the body is easily done with a rolled mylar cone filled with henna. If you are unfamiliar with how to roll and fill cones, click here to learn.

Set Up

You will need:

  • A cone of henna for outlining. (Or you can use medical tape. See below.)
  • A small bowl or shot glass with about 1T henna. (You can just squeeze out the rest of your cone after outlining.)
  • A small brush
  • Toilet paper or other soft paper
  • Tape


Start with clean hands that do not have lotion or oils on them.

            Use the cone to draw an outline. You may need a friend to help if you wish to do both hands.

            Alternatively, you can wrap a strip of medical tape around each finger. The result will be a nice, crisp line. You will want to choose a waterproof tape with a straight edge (some have a zig-zag edge).


Fill in the skin from the line or the edge of the tape, to the tips of your fingers. I prefer to apply in layers, allowing each layer to dry. This prevents having fingers covered in a thick layer of wet paste that will take forever to dry.


Wait until the paste is dry enough to touch without lifting any away. A hair dryer can help speed up the process. Wrap tissue or toilet paper around each finger, securing with tape.

            If you like, you can pull on a pair of stretchy fabric gloves. The warmth will deepen the stain, and the gloves keep the wraps from slipping off.


            To remove, unwrap your fingertips and gently scrape the paste away with a wooden craft stick or the blunt side of a butter knife. A stiff nail brush helps to remove extra bits. Try to avoid water for the first few hours while the stain settles and oxidizes.

            The stain will deepen over 24-48 hours. To expedite the process and darken the result, gently heat or steam your hands.

On the left, the fresh stain is bright orange. On the right, the stain has oxidized to a deep burgundy after 48 hours.

How to Apply Henna to Fingernails and/or Toenails

If you would like to stain only your nails rather than your fingertips the process is similar, and simpler.

            You can do this either with a cone or a clean, small brush. A recycled nail polish brush would work nicely. Trim and shape your nails as you prefer.

Using a Cone

Squeeze the cone gently and fill over the nail using back and forth motions.  It works well to apply a thinner layer, then apply a second layer as the first dries. As the paste dries,  it darkens and flattens. You will be able to see where you would like to add more paste.


Using a Brush

Henna tends to slip over the surface of the nail, so it is helpful to use dabbing motions rather than treating it the way you would nail polish. Let the first layer set, and then go back in to fill any areas that are thin.


You can either choose to wrap your fingertips similarly as described above, or allow the paste to fully dry on the nails. Damp paste will continue to stain the skin, leading to darker results. If you let the paste dry, keep it on for as long as possible (several hours is good) before gently scraping it away.

            Again, the result will be brighter at first, and deepen over the next couple of days. You can reapply to deepen the color, and apply as necessary as your nails grow. I find that doing this weekly keeps my nails a deep red hue. My nails grow longer and chip less when I maintain hennaed nails.

            Henna will stain the nail permanently, so if you choose to stop applying henna to your nails, a good way to hide half-hennaed nails is to paint them over with polish until the stained portion grows and is clipped away.


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Hennaed nails are a deep red. This color fades very little over time.

How to Apply Henna to Feet

You will definitely want to do this on a particularly lazy day, or in the evening before bed. You might want to have a friend to help you. I am a pretty flexible person and have found that hennaing one’s own feet is possible, but requires awkward positions.

            Start with clean, scrubbed feet. Henna will help the feet shed excess callus and dry skin, but if you’d like your stain to last for a long time, it is a good idea to scrub off anything that is on the verge of shedding already.


Feet can be hennaed in many styles. Hennaed feet have varied by culture and time period. Some people prefer to apply only to the soles. Some apply to the balls of the feet and the toes.  Once you have decided on your henna-feet style, use a cone to draw an outline along the tops and sides of your feet. I prefer a full slipper.

            A helpful trick for keeping it symmetrical: Put on a pair of flats and use an aquarellable pencil to trace outlines on your feet along the edge of your shoes.

You can also use medical tape to create a clean outline. Just apply the paste right over the edge of the tape.


Using the brush or craft stick, apply the henna paste evenly all over your feet. Make sure to apply henna between and under each toe. The paste will want to squish from between your toes while it is wet. Keep reapplying in layers.

            Let each layer dry, then apply again until the paste is opaque and even.  You can use a hair dryer to set each layer before beginning a new one.

            I’ve found that this works better than applying one thick coat. The first layer helps the second layer stick better, and it all dries much faster. If you slather on one super thick layer and try to dry it, the surface will dry but seal in underneath. Once you wrap your feet and get up, all that wet paste squishes out and slides around. Walking around with squishy paste against your feet is really weird.

If you do apply a thick layer, expect to wait a while for it to dry. Put your feet up in the sun, enjoy a beverage, take a nap…


Once your final layer is dry to the touch, use toilet paper to wrap your feet like you are a mummy. Be generous. The layers closest to your feet will get damp and rip. You’ll want several layers over everything, especially the balls and heels of your feet, where you put most of your weight. Use some tape to hold it in place if necessary.

            Then, wrap your feet in plastic. Plastic wrap works well enough. So does a grocery bag. Secure with tape. Finally, pull on a pair of socks and you are ready to walk around!

            Again, I prefer to do this at night and sleep through the processing time. I’ve found that my feet are too fat to fit into any shoes once they are hennaed and wrapped.

Here, just the balls of the feet and toes were hennaed and wrapped.


In the morning (or after as many hours as you can stand), unwrap your feet and gently scrape the paste off with a wooden craft stick or the blunt edge of a butter knife. I prefer to do this either outside or sitting on the edge of the tub with my feet in the tub (paste bits are rinsed down the drain for easy cleanup). Use a stiff brush to clear the remaining flakes, and do a quick wipe with a clean, damp towel.

Getting Fancy

            Want to add some complexity to your hennaed fingertips and feet? Take a look at all of the free pattern books available at The Henna Page. You can even add gems, glitter, shimmering powders, and more.

These feet were hennaed and decorated in multiple steps. Toes and details were hennaed, left for several hours, and allowed to deepen with oxidation. Applying henna and removing after a short period of time created the bright orange stain. Finally, gilding and jewels were added.