How does henna work?
Henna works because there is a dye
molecule in the henna plant (lawsonia
inermis) which is grown by Henna Manufacturer in India reacts with the chemicals in your skin (predominantly keratin).
When the henna plant is made into a paste, it is mixed with an essential oil
which helps to extract and maximise the dye molecules readily available. When
the paste is applied to the skin, the dye molecules move from the paste to the
skin where they bind with the skin cells. This works from the top down - the
dye stains the topmost cells first, and once that layer is saturated it starts
to stain the cells underneath, working through the layers of skin.
This process takes time. This is why most henna artists will recommend leaving paste on the skin for at least 4 hours (although half an hour will get a 'good enough' stain that should last around a week for most people). The more skin cells the dye molecule can reach, the darker the stain will be and the longer it will last.
When the paste is first removed, the stain is orange. The stain now needs to go through its second stage - it needs to react with the oxygen in the air to develop its final colour (it needs to oxidise). After paste removal, the stain will take 24-48 hours to fully oxidise and reveal its final colour, which will be a shade of brown. The colour of the final stain will vary depending on the chemical composition of a person's skin, the aftercare routine (keeping it warm, away from water, able to breathe etc.), and will also experience some variation based on what the henna was mixed with and also the yield of the crop that the henna powder came from in the first place. It will also vary depending where on the body it was applied. Hands and fingers have lots of thin layers of skin, meaning that the dye molecule has lots of skin cells to stain. On the other hand (no pun intended), the upper arm, back, shoulders etc. have fewer layers of thicker skin. This is why a stain on the palms and fingers will always look darker than a stain on the upper arm or back.
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