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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Must-Know Info About Essential Oils and Henna Paste

Sara used ORa henna and 10mL oil

Need the down-low on essential oils and henna?
Need it in easy-to-understand English? Got it!

Are essential oils needed to mix henna? Technically, no, they aren't, but if you want great henna stains, the right essential oils are necessary. Essential oils (EOs) can make henna stains substantially darker, but only the right EOs will help your henna paste.

Essential oils need monoterpene alcohols to create darker henna stains. These terpenes are hydrocarbon solvents and that is what releases more of the dye in henna. Safe terpenes include terpineol, geraniol, cineol, cedrol, and linalool.

Don't worry about all these technical names. Below is a list of oils that work well and are safe for the skin. Yes, there are others, but these are the high-performance mehndi oils.
  • Tea Tree 
  • Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)
  • Cajeput
  • Ravensara
  • Geranium

Are there additional reasons to add essential mehndi oils to henna powder?

Yes! Essential oils change the texture of henna paste and add scent to henna paste. Essential oils thin henna paste and create a smooth silky paste. A paste that smells good is always a plus!

How much oil do I mix into henna powder?

Great question! Use the least amount of oils you need to get good color.

Essential oils are the most expensive part of your henna paste so using the least amount you need saves you money. Essential oils are also VERY powerful and are the ingredient in your henna paste that is most likely to cause a reaction. Having the mildest possible henna mix is best for your customers.

Generally you need 10-30mL (1/3-1 ounce) of oil per 100 grams of henna powder. Do not use more than 30mL (1 ounce) of oil per 100 grams of henna powder. The better the henna powder the less oil you need to get great color.

For the hobbiest, 10mL is normally just fine, but for professional artists, 20-30mL is needed.

When do I mix the essential oils into the henna?

You can mix the oils in using a one step method or a two step method. The one step method is adding the powder, liquid, oils, and sugar all at the same time. The two step method lets you add your liquid in first then wait for 4-12 hours (depending on dye release time of the henna powder you are using) then add the oils into the paste. Which method you use depends on what type of henna you use, what liquid you mix with your powder, and personal preference.

- Type of Henna Powder
The essential oils need time to do the job of drawing out more dye from the henna. Different henna powders have different dye release times. Henna with short dye release times (less than 6 hours), should use the one step method, adding the oils into the paste at the beginning. Henna with longer dye release times, like Jamila, can use either the one step method or the two step method.

- Liquid in the Henna Mix
If you use lemon juice to mix henna, you can use either the one-step method or the two step method. If you are mixing henna powder with water, use the one step method. Water will allow the henna to release dye much quicker than lemon juice.

- Personal Preference
If you are new to henna, make it easy on yourself and use the one step method. If you like the idea of really focusing on controlling your henna mix, try the two step method. I personally use the one step method for both our ORa henna powder (my preferred henna powder) and Jamila henna powder.

What do oils do you use in your henna paste?

I use equal amounts of tea tree and lavender oil and I use 30 mL of oil per 100 grams of henna. The smell is positively divine and I get superb color. I use ORa henna powder, lemon juice, a bit of sugar, and tea tree/lavender oil in my henna paste.

You can buy a henna refill kit here that includes 100 grams of ORa henna powder, 15 mL EACH of lavender and tea tree oils, and 25 cello triangles so you can roll your own henna cones. If you want to try more essential oil or the same recipe I use, you can double the oil.

I hope this gives you a clear understanding of essential oils for henna paste!


  1. Hi,
    Thank you for your nice sharing. This is a very nice idea to use of essential oil and henna mehedi. This is a very ideal post.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Can I use lemongrass oil as an essential oil for henna

  4. I totally missed this comment...sorry about that. Lemongrass oil can be added for scent, but it will not help with color. It's not the best essential oil to use with henna.

    If you really want to use lemongrass oil, consider adding one of the high-terp oils I mentioned above as a main oil and then adding just a couple of drops of lemongrass oil for scent.

    Good luck!

  5. Hi, can we use frankincense oil in henna paste

    1. Yes, but it's best when used just as a scent. It's moderately high in terps, but about 10 times as expensive as the other oils for a quality fankincense. You'll get the best results for less money using the other oils mentioned.

      Adding a few drops of frankinscense along with your main oils will give you the scent with great results and without busting the bank!

  6. Can I use eucalyptus or lavender oil that’s what I have

    1. Lavender is an excellent choice and is one of the oils I personally use. Some eucalyptus oils are good for henna but more are not high terp. You are likely better off with just the lavender oil.