How To Get Dark & Long Lasting Mehendi (Henna)

This festival season, I had some beautiful mehendi (otherwise known as henna) applied to my arms and legs. What a treat! I really didn’t like my mehendi at our wedding,  it looked awful, so I did everything I could to get the stuff of as soon as possible (this involved scrubbing it with salt and washing my skin almost immediately).

Looking to buy henna cones online?… US, UK, India

However, this time I wanted my mehendi to be as dark and long lasting as possible. After sitting for almost three hours getting it done, I was going to look after this mehendi

mehendi henna mehndi art design

There are  many superstitions about mehendi, the most popular being ‘the darker the mehendi, the more your husband will love you’. Obviously you shouldn’t sit watching your mehendi stain with great anticipation and expect to see how much your husband will love you. I am guessing that this superstition developed as a way for girls who have an arranged marriage to get an indication of how much this boy will love her.

Of course it’s just a superstition, even when we know that the colour of our mehendi doesn’t have any relation to anything except the way we took care of it, like with all superstitions there is still a small part of us can’t help but take it seriously. I know that I won’t have bad luck if I step on the small cracks in the pavement (a common Western superstition), but I still avoid those cracks!

So, even though we don’t believe in superstitions, here are some tips for dark and long lasting mehendi (you know, just in case)

9 tips for dark & long lasting mehendi…

  • Make sure your skin is clean, without traces of oils, lotions or potions. Products will create a barrier between your skin and your mehendi.
  • Visit the toilet before you begin (this probably won’t make your mehendi darker, it’s just tricky to visit the restroom once you’re in the middle of the application)
  • Once the paste is applied, it will dry quickly. To keep it moist and avoid cracks in your design, carefully dab lemon juice or sugar water (dissolve sugar in warm water) on the paste with cotton wool.
  • Leave the paste on for as long as possible, ideally for six hours or more.
  • Heat helps the colour develop, so keep warm (which isn’t difficult if you live in India!).
  • Once the paste has been rubbed off, apply vicks vapour rub or beesbax balm all over your design. This helps the colour develop from bright orange to deep red.
  • Make sure everyone knows that you are exempt from housework of any kind for twenty four hours (or as longer if possible, see what you can get away with).
  • Don’t bathe for twenty four hours, this one can be tricky, especially if you are stinky, so try and have a bath just before your mehendi is applied. You simply cannot get your mehendi wet, I was caught in a monsoon just after I rubbed off my paste, so I had to frantically run home!
  • When you finally do have a wash because you cannot stand your own stench any longer, apply Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to your design for protection.

Looking to buy henna cones online?… US, UK, India

After doing all the above, here was my result:

dark mehendi bridal
2 days after application
Four days after application
Four days after application

Not only did my henna become really dark, it was ten days before it started to fade (with the exception of my hands because had to start washing, cooking and cleaning)

Looking to buy henna cones online?… US, UK, India


Do you have more tips? Do you know any other mehendi related supersitions?


  1. Henna need acid agents to stain as well as sugars, this is the reason why lemon juice and water are used to keep it moist. Acidic and sweet elements are also going in the making of the mehendi paste. A good quality brewed paste also goes a long way in making it dark, and the paste should be fresh, the longer the paste sits unused in a cone, the lesser the staining power.
    Another trick to help the mehendi to stain the skin faster and darker is to regularly pass the henna-ed skin over a pot of steaming water, it keeps the paste from drying and brings a lot of heat. Apparently wearing gloves or wrapping the hands in tissue paper while sleeping also helps, thoug I have t tried this one myself


    • Hey Cyn,
      Great tips!! This mehendi was really nice, all the way from Rajasthan! I think that those cheap cones you get in supermarkets must sit there for months and maybe even years!!

      I hope you guys are well!! 😀 xxx


  2. Stunning designs Lauren, really glad this mehendi worked out for you after reading about your wedding. I found the quickest way to get mehendi to fade is to swim in a chlorinated pool!


  3. I was quite surprised to read (in your previous post about the mehendi application) that the mehendi artists this time were two men. I would have imagined it was a bit taboo in Indian society to have men performing something so intimate for a woman, but evidently not?


  4. Hi Lauren, I went through your pages and appreciate your tenacity to stay put and stead fast even during odd situations. That’s British! Having worked with Europeans and British during my jobs I can understand the culture shock you went through and how you adjusted to it is an achievement in itself. Wish you best of luck!.




  5. Beautiful Lauren 🙂 I loved my Mendhi so much I kept it on for 12 hours and it took 5 hours to apply! I slept with plastic wrap around my arms and legs so that the henna wouldn’t crack off onto my bed clothes. Mine lasted over a month and I worked at the time in hospitality and had to sneek past the boss and where gloves before anyone could see my hands 🙂


  6. I spent over an hour doing a intricate design on my leg. When I scraped the gena off it was orange. 😦 I am so heart broken. Can you recommend a henna brand? I love your henna colour, I want a colour like that, not orange lol -.-


  7. Oh wow! Totally stunning! I also do mehndi/henna. My tip: do not scrub your arms/feet before hand. The more skin layers you’ve got, the deeper the henna will get. Mixing your henna paste with some sugar, will prevent it from flaking off the skin. I do this all the time since I live in the cold and rainy Netherlands :-).

    btw, love your new layout!

    Take care!


    • Hi Aartie, ive been wanting to use mendhi for a whlie now to strengthen and nourish my nails,and darken my hands and feet how do i make the mixture, not gona make any art work, just want it to last for awhile. I went to a Indian shop their offered me two options the corned design and the henna powder. I got the powder its green in colour. How do i mix and apply. Thank you Yolanda


      • Hi Yolanda, good you’ve got the powder. Please stay away from the ready made cones. They contain PPD, a chemical that can cause serious burns. I don’t know what kind of henna you’re using (triple sifted? or something else?).

        Well, I’ve got this recipe:
        – 25 grams henna powder
        – 2 tsp (8 ml) of essential oil(like lavender of cajeput)
        – water to consistency.

        First mix the powder with the oil. Then gradually put in water. You’re looking for a toothpaste kind of thickness. Mix well. Set aside for 12 to 24 hours in a natural warm place for its dye-realise. After the dye-realise, you just give the paste a good stir to remove all lumps.

        If you still have questions, you can contact me at



  8. […] I discovered the colour from the pulp which covers the seeds is a really effective dye (used commercially as a food colourant, along with several medicinal uses), as even after scrubbing with soap and water, I still had my graffiti on my hands! I guess it could also be used as mehendi (henna)! […]


  9. Wow ! I loved the colour of your mehndi ! I wish I had read this before. I did a mehndi few days back and it lasted only for a day….. It has almost got faded 😦 Well I am still a child so it’s fine…. But I just love doing mehndi in my vacations, by myself on my hand….. By the way, best of luck for your future experiences in India !!


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