• Nadiyah Mahmood

Henna Vs. Jagua

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

Wondering what the difference between henna and jagua is? Please take a few minutes to read up on the differences, pro's and con's, and stain instructions of the two forms of body art.


What is henna? Henna (also known as "mehndi" in Hindi/Urdu/Farsi/Pashto/Punjabi) comes from the plant Lawsonia Inermis. The word 'henna' is actually Arabic and is most commonly used around the world to describe this plant. The henna plant is mainly grown in the North African and South Asia regions in countries such as Morocco, Egypt, India and Pakistan. I usually inquire my henna powder from Sojat, Rajasthan in India where the powder is the richest and of high quality. The greener the henna powder, the fresher it is. If the henna powder is brown, it is likely that it is expired and will give very light stains when made into a paste. Henna is used for a variety of forms of art and is considered a holistic remedy for many skin conditions and issues that date back to thousands of years before our modern times. It is commonly used for body art and a natural hair dye.


15 hour stain using handmade organic henna paste!

* Henna paste only requires 4 ingredients; a good quality henna powder, sugar, essential oil(s), and water or lemon juice. Of course henna powder is key in making henna paste, but what about the other 3 ingredients?

- Sugar is needed in order for the henna design to stay on the skin longer; the longer it stays on the skin, the darker the stain will be. Without a sticky substance like sugar, the henna will likely flake off immediately after it dries thus giving weak stains. You don't have to use just plain sugar, you can use molasses, honey, or my personal favorite, cane sugar.


- Essential oil is probably the second most important ingredient when making henna paste. Not just any essential oil can be used, it must be one or a combo of the following essential oils: Lavender, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Frankincense, Geranium, Ravensara, Naiouli, to name a few. My signature essential oils are Lavender and Eucalyptus. The reason essential oil is needed for henna paste is because it contains a chemical from the plant it originated from called monoterpene. The monoterpene alcohol is key for the henna paste to give dye release. Dye release is the oil that secretes from the paste when henna powder and essential oil mix which is what gives us the henna stain. Choose wisely about the essential oils you use as some people may be allergic to certain kinds. You can make henna paste without essential oil but the stain may not be as dark as it would be with it.


- Water or pure lemon juice is needed to combine all ingredients together and make the paste. Lemon juice is a common use in henna paste by many artists due to its great relationship with sugar when combined together to make the paste stick longer to the skin. I used to use lemon juice but I find that some clients and customers may have an irritation to the citrusy liquid when the paste is applied to the skin but water is always safe to use and gives just the same stain as lemon juice would.




Dye release steps

* Henna stain instructions: It is best to leave the henna on the skin from 6 hours to 24 hours. I personally leave my henna on 12-15 hours (usually sleeping with it on) to give a darker stain. Natural henna gives an orange stain once freshly peeled from the skin and gives a mature dark red to mahogany stain after 24-48 hours. After peeling/flaking the henna off, it is recommended to apply a natural body-safe oil such as coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil or homemade organic aftercare balm to the fresh henna stain to help achieve darker stains. Avoiding excessive use of water; preferably not using water all, for the first 24 hours after ridding the dried henna peelings from the skin is also key in for dark henna stains.


15 to 48 hour henna stain results!



What is Jagua? Why is it different from henna?

Read more in the link below


Jagua is a fruit based ink from the fruit, Genipa Americana, in South America, Caribbeans and southern Mexico but most common in Brazil. The name itself comes from the word "jaguar". Both jagua gel and ink should be kept frozen when not in use just like henna paste should be. Jagua is very perishable and must be cared for like plants and fruits. The ink is made into a gel using a sugar substance, citric acid and essential oils like lavender. It now comes in a powder form where you can keep stored in a cool dry place and make your own jagua gel.

How the stains will look when applied on the palm

Jagua stains start off very faint and light looking but within 6 hours or more it will turn into a navy bluish-blackish stain. Like henna, the longer you let it sit on the skin, the darker the stain will come out.

How the stains will look on the inner-forearm and wrist

Jagua stain results!

Unlike henna, you only need to leave jagua on the skin for 2 hours or more then wash it off. Yes, you read that right, wash it off. It is not recommended to sleep with jagua on without washing it off with cold water and soap first as the gel itself can stain other parts of the skin while you're asleep tossing and turning.


Jagua left on for 2 hours then washed off with cool water and soap!

Jagua Henna

Jagua henna is basically jagua ink or powder mixed in with the henna paste to help give even more darker henna stains. This does not mean it will give dark bluish-blackish stains. It is henna with jagua added to it. I personally use jagua henna very often as I find the results are very dark and satisfying with very little effort. You don't have to leave the paste on your skin for super long periods of time like regular henna, however, you still should leave it on AT LEAST 6 hours or more. Better safe than sorry with stain results.


Jagua Henna stain results!

Jagua henna left on overnight


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