Pre-care is so important when it comes to your henna. Before your henna appointment make sure to exfoliate the area you are going to have henna'd. Do not apply any kinds of body oils or lotions to the area, it creates a barrier on the skin making it hard for the henna to stain. If you plan on getting waxed, spray tanned or having your nails done it is best to do it before your henna appointment. Dressing for the area you are going to have henna'd is also very important, for instance if you plan on having your back done be sure to wear something that is backless.
People ask me all the time how to achieve a rich henna stain, the answer is good paste and following the after care instructions. Once the henna is applied I will spray it with a lemon juice and sugar mixture, it is going to make you very sticky but it is worth it, it helps the paste stick to your skin when it dries. Once the paste is on your skin you have to wait about 15-30 minutes for it to dry, once dry I recommend leaving the paste on for about four to six hours at a minimum. The longer you leave the paste on the darker the stain will get and the longer it will be on your skin. When it is time to take off your henna, flake it away don't use water to take it off, using water to take off the henna will hurt the stain, try to avoid water for 24 hours or as long as you can. Keeping the henna moisturized after paste removal is crucial! I recommend using my hand made aftercare balm, it is a mix of coconut oil, almond oil, beeswax (from my mother's bees) and a blend of essential oils, using this daily and especially before you shower is going to help your henna stay at its darkest point the longest.
It is important to remember that once the henna paste is flaked away the stain underneath will be a bright orange. On average it takes about 24- 48 hours for the henna stain to reach its darkest point. Once it reaches peak darkness using the aftercare balm will help keep the stain dark for as long as possible.