Henna body art is special, as many of you already know. Everything about it is organic - the paste is made from plants (even the sugar and the oils), the drawing is done free-hand and will come out a little differently every time. Everything about it also takes patience, from the mixing, to the coning, to sitting still while it's applied, then drying time, then waiting time, then picking off time, and finally, the days that it will take for the stain to fully develop.
"Days?" Yup, Days! If you've had henna before, you'll remember that the stain on your skin is orange when the paste is first picked off. You'll see it gradually darken over the next 48 to 72 hours. The biggest difference is when you wake up in the morning, and it's jumped from "rust" to "coffee." And it's exciting! Sometimes, you'll think the henna is as dark as it's going to get, then you wake up once more and are surprised with a shade darker than you went to sleep with.
The stain really can't be rushed. Unscrupulous business owners and artists will sometimes add chemicals to their paste to aid the process, but it's nothing you want on your skin. We're talking gasoline, hair dye, turpentine, food dyes, and mystery oils that haven't been proven to not wreak havoc on your skin or liver. Of course, Crimson Art Henna doesn't recommend using these pastes; ours is made in our kitchen, starting with nothing but pure henna powder, so that we know exactly what we're puting on our customer's skin.
There are other methods to get it darker faster, but they are just plain dangerous. Heat will hurry it along, but not significantly, and burning yourself with steam over a pot of boiling water is hardly worth a faster brown. We've even heard of people dipping their hands into ammonia to darken their stains faster, but, as you probably know, that's a horrible idea. Not worth it, even for the most impatient of brides!
For us, the wait is just part of the process. It's fun, not tortuous. It's a part of history. We even relish in the intense orange that hides under the crusty paste - a hint of the color that's to come. And the gentler you are to the skin where the design is, the longer that design will last. So, enjoy the wait! Cherish the slow stages of a body art, thousands of years in the making. Henna waited on you, so be patient with her while she takes her time to make you beautiful.