How to Make Temporary Henna Tattoos

In the past, temporary henna tattoos were only found in India, Pakistan, and Sudan. They were often seen at Indian weddings. The bride and the other women in the party would get together the night before the wedding and have their feet and hands decorated with the intricate reddish brown designs and patterns. This tradition is still practiced today for wedding ceremonies and other celebrations.

But today, much has changed. Temporary henna tattoos have now been accepted by the Western world thanks to celebrities like Madonna, Gwen Stefani, and Prince. This form of body art can be seen regularly in magazines and music videos.

Henna is made by grinding up the dried leaves of the henna plant into a powder. The powder is then mixed with a liquid like strong tea, hot water, or clove or eucalyptus oil to form a paste. The paste is put in an applicator bottle or cone and is applied to the skin to make temporary henna tattoos.

When the henna plant is made into a powder, it releases an organic compound called Lawsone. Lawsone in the paste is attracted to the protein in the outer layer of the skin and attaches to it easily leaving a reddish brown stain. This process does not harm the skin in anyway.

One of the benefits of henna tattoos is that they are temporary and last from a week to a couple months depending on the application time and care after. After applying the paste to the skin, it is important to let it dry for at least 8 hours for an effective stain. The longer the paste is left on the skin, the darker the stain will be.


Traditionally, temporary henna tattoos were only applied to the hands and feet. Today they are applied to all the visible parts of the body much like permanent tattoos. They're commonly found on the legs, stomach, back, shoulders, arms, forehead, and neck.