When applying henna on yourself or others its important to give the henna the best chance possible of making contact with and staining fresh skin cells. Here are the steps I take and ask my clients to take.
Exfoliating- Henna is temporary because it stains your skin cells and then your skin cells exfoliate and leave your body. Applying henna to skin cells that are about to fall off means your your henna stain will come off faster. Exfoliating before applying henna creates an amazing fresh surface for the henna to stain. Its easy to exfoliate with; a dish scrubby (lightly), washcloth or sugar scrub. Its not the end of the world if you are unable to exfoliate but it can help extend the life of your henna by a day or two.
Removing lotions and cream- Lotion is a barrier between the skin and the paste and it must be removed before starting a design. Lotion has the potential to seriously mess up a stain.
Hair removal- This isn't necessary for henna application however it makes getting those perfect lines down WAY easier. If you are concerned about hair growing back darker or thicker let me tell you from experience this is a big old myth! I have been shaving my left arm almost every week for four years. The hair is just as thin and blond as the hair on my right. Think about it this way, have you ever gotten a hair cut? Did your hair change color or become thicker? Didn't think so.
Waxing- Waxing is wonderful because it takes care of both exfoliation and har removal all at the same time! I suggest sugar wax because it does far less damage to the skin and exfoliates more then traditional wax. It is important to get waxed 24 hours before your henna appointment! Waxing opens up your pores and giving them time to close before applying henna insures you wont have any unnecessary irritation.