Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Put a little sugar in it
In my most recent video I had a question asked about sugar from a subscriber. In the video "quick and easy henna paste" I didn't use sugar. In this post we'll discuss when, why, and how to use sugar in henna paste.
First let's discuss why henna artists add sugar to their henna paste. Sugar helps henna that's not naturally stringy to become stringy. What is stringy exactly? Stringy is a texture that allows you to lay and drape thin lines and delicate motifs in your henna designs, without breaking the lines. This is really helpful when applying complex designs like an artist would in a bridal design. Henna from Rajasthan India and Morocco are naturally stringy without the use of sugar, I highly recommend them both for bridal henna application.
Sugar also slows the drying process once the henna is applied to the skin. The goal is to keep the wet henna paste on the skin for as long as possible to achieve the darkest possible stain. Adding sugar to the paste with the intention of slowing the drying process is ideal during festivals/street fairs when the weather is often hot and dry, and the henna will dry too quickly. Of course adding sugar is ideal for bridal when achieving the darkest possible stain is ideal.
Is sugar right for every henna paste or a requirement? No. As mentioned earlier Moroccan and Rajasthani hennas really don't require sugar due to their naturally stringy qualities (unless of course you want to delay the drying time, and there are other ways to do this). Adding sugar to henna that's already naturally stringy can backfire on you, making the henna too sticky.
Speaking of sticky, the third reason to add sugar to henna paste is to make it sticky. This is recommended for festivals/street fairs when the customer will move shortly after the design is applied, and will be out in dry heat. Without sugar, the design may dry too quickly and fall off resulting in a weak stain and unhappy customers.
In the video I didn't add sugar because I was using henna powder from Rajasthan and because sugar is optional, not required.
I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions about henna paste I'm always happy to answer.
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