Henna tattoos
June 11, 2008 7:35 PM   Subscribe

I have a sealed tube of instant Mehndi paste (for henna tattoos) that's several years old. Will it still work?
posted by Krrrlson to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total)
Response by poster: (No, I can't open it right now and try it, because I have to give it to someone else. I just want to know if I should go and buy a new one.)
posted by Krrrlson at 7:38 PM on June 11, 2008

A tube like a toothpaste tube? As long as it is still moist inside, I don't see why not. My daughters play with mehndi paste that comes wrapped in a simple foil cone, and that stuff stays fresh for months, even after they've started using it. Sometimes the tip will get plugged from the drying out, but the rest of it inside will still be good.
posted by BinGregory at 9:23 PM on June 11, 2008

I have found that freshness does matter. I'd be suspicious about an old tube. Even old dry powder loses potency, it seems. I'd get a new tube, if I were you. The best stuff that I've used is powder bought from an online dealer who appears to no longer be in operation--fresh, double-sifted powder with a very fine grain. Costs more, but I think it's worth it.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:40 AM on June 12, 2008

I'd get a new tube, too. It might work, but I bet it doesn't come out as dark or as nice a color when you're done.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:21 AM on June 12, 2008

Ok, first of all a little disclaimer; I have a slightly biased viewpoint here, as I am a professional henna artist (HennaMontreal.com) located in Canada. I might be going slightly off tangent to your actual question, but I'm just trying to be helpful and provide you with more info so that you can make a well-informed decision...

Manufactured commercial "tube henna" is usually of dubious quality to begin with; and anything that old will undoubtedly have lost any of the potency it might have originally had. I would *really* recommend learning how to make your own henna paste with fresh henna powder. It's really not that difficult and is of such better quality as the henna stains are generally *much* deeper shades and longer lasting on the skin. Once you've made and used your own henna paste, you'll *never* want to go back to that tube stuff!

There are a number of reputable suppliers in North America from whom you can get really fresh imported henna powder. Some of the best known powders are from India, Pakistan, Morocco and Yemen and go by names such as Rajasthani, Jamilla and Yemeni. Much like wine, some year's henna crops are preferred over others for their deep coloured stains.

I always keep mine in the freezer -- as long as it's well sealed, henna powder can easily last up to a year or more in the freezer; well-sealed henna paste can last anywhere from several months to a year.

I would strongly recommend that you visit HennaTribe, an online group of supportive and friendly henna artists from around the globe. They will be able to point you in the direction of the nearest henna supplier, as well as providing you with several easy recipes and instructions on how to make your own henna paste and even lots of free henna design patterns and lots of other great advice. (You can let them know that Capucine from HennaMontreal sent you...) Good luck!
posted by Jade Dragon at 4:20 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

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