Dear Heather,

Do you have any recommendations for keeping henna on overnight? I’ve been getting conflicting information about aftercare for my bridal mehndi from my friends, family, and the interwebs. What do *you* think I should do?

Excited For My Wedding Henna

Dear Excited,

Thanks for checking in! I’m so glad to hear you’re interested in keeping the henna on overnight. There are two ways we could possibly wrap it overnight:

1) Omnifix tape

This is fiddly and time-consuming to put on, but stays put VERY well throughout the night. You’ll want to do a test of leaving it on on your inner wrist (the most sensitive skin it’ll be applied to) overnight to make sure that you aren’t sensitive to it. I don’t personally ever do this, as I prefer the way option 2) feels on the skin. If you’d like to try it, here’s a link to where to get some:

Omnifix tape for keeping henna on overnight

I personally never choose this method unless I am at a henna artist conference, if I am being guilted into it because the artist who did my henna for me is right there and they personally believe taping is the only/modern/best/whatever way to do it and will feel personally slighted if I don’t. I hate how it feels. But sometimes we make sacrifices in the name of making other people happy… (especially if those people are willing to do all the extra work of painstakingly adding the tape themselves.)

If your friends or family are really pushing for you to have plastic on overnight, this is the most breathable, comfortable way to do it.

Note that sometimes people use Hypafix, Mefix, etc instead. I personally strongly prefer the Omnifix, as it breathes and bends.

2) The more traditional method:

Dab/spray with lemon sugar mixture, let that dry, then wrap loosely with toilet paper, taping down only the ends. This works awesome, but is not 100% foolproof as far as potentially a crumb of henna maybe falling off and onto the bed. I would say it is about 98% effective, though, when done right! As I mentioned, this is what I do if I am choosing to wrap overnight on my own for some reason (did the henna on myself at home late enough at night that I don’t have 4 hours after it’s done to do option 3)

Some people will try to get you to put plastic wrap or plastic bags over it if you do 2, and I would HIGHLY advise against this as it leads to sweating and therefore bleeding out of the design. The dampness and heat are great for the color of the henna, but my henna is high enough quality that you’re going to get great color no matter what. That said, if you know you have a hard time getting good color, and you value good color over crisp design, using the plastic wrap or plastic bags is technically an option… I have never seen it end well though!! Usually if you’re paying a professional artist for your henna, and can trust their paste to be excellent, I’d really recommend against it. That said, if a mom or auntie or someone is really pushing for it and you value their approval more than having your henna be perfect, and you don’t have Omnifix on hand, caving on this wouldn’t be the end of the world. It would just mean potentially blurry lines.

Then there is always option 3), which I actually personally choose 8 times out of 10: 

3) Don’t keep the henna on overnight.

Stay up late enough that you can have the henna on at least 4 hours.  I usually choose this because I sometimes find it hard to sleep with stuff on my skin. But, admittedly, when it really counts (ie your wedding), if there aren’t four hours available to do this, you’ll have to pick option 1 or 2.  You’ll spray with lemon sugar once or maybe more if it starts to get dry/unsticky. Then once the lemon sugar has dried, you hold your hands over warmth somehow. This can be over a pot of boiling water (a wide frying pan, with cloves in the water, is my favorite), or over dry heat as is traditional in Morocco, or by using a hair dryer. If you’re opting for a hair dryer, be sure to move it around and switch between warmer and cooler settings and not overdo it. If someone is helping you (as they will be when you’re the bride and fully covered in henna), it’ll be important that you communicate with them that you need them to keep moving the hair dryer around and switching to a cooler setting. I prefer the frying pan of boiling water because then you’re in control of when you put your hands over the heat and when you take them away from it.

And there you go – more information about henna aftercare and how to best keep your henna on for a long time than I have ever written out before!

Wishing you wedding henna bliss,
Heather Caunt-Nulton
Henna by Heather