Sarahkate Butterworth Henna Tattoos & PhotographyWhat is Henna? Henna is a plant, and it's leaves are collected, dried, crushed and sifted into a fine powder. I mix this with 3 more ingredients: eucalptis oil, lemon juice, and sugar. It is the world's oldest cosmetic and has been used for thousands of years. The natural dye molecule in the henna plan will seep into your skin while you wear the paste for 2 to 6 hours. 

How long with my henna tattoo last? It will last anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on your body type and how often you wash the tattoo and expose it to chemicals - such as swimming. I can go over the henna tatoo to make it darker.

How do I care for the henna tattoo? You can peel off the paste as soon as it dries, which can be anywhere from 30 minuets to 2 hours. However, the longer you leave the paste on, the darker the tattoo will become. I advise to keep it on until bedtime, and that you scrape it off in your bathtub/shower (without the water running). You may need to use edible oil and a paper towl or cloth to wipe it off. Once the henna paste has been removed, step out of the bathtub/shower and rinse all the henna down the drain (without getting yourself wet!). Rub edible oil on your tattoo several times a day to keep it looking nice as it darkens up. It will peak in color in 2 to 3 days. Avoid contact with water for the first 1 to 2 days while tattoo is setting.

Is is traditional to have your belly adorned with henna to celebrate pregnancy? The original tratidion that inspires my work with pregnant women comes from Northern Africa and involves painting the hands and feet of the pregnant woman to honor her during her 7th month. They also adorn the hands and feet of the woman once she has given birth (postpartum henna!) and have a ceremony to celebrate her rise in status to mother. We are less modest here in America, and it's fun to paint the belly, even though it's not traditional. I enjoy creating new ways to honor pregnancy that make women feel beautiful. 

How dark will the henna tattoo get? After painting 300+ pregnant women, I've discovered that everyone responds differently, and it is difficult to predict how dark it will get. Take a look at the photos below to get an idea of the variations that can occur. The photo on the left shows the pregnant belly freshly painted. When dry, henna looks dark brown or black, though I do not use black henna. I only use the safest ingredients - natural henna, lemon juice, sugar and eucalyptus oil. The photo on the right show the belly after 2 or 3 days, when it is at it's peak of darkness. 

The tattoo above came out so light that 3 days after the initial painting (photo on left) I went over the main part of the design for the photos (photo on right).

Do you have a question that isn't answered here? Please feel free to contact me and ask.