how to remove henna from skin

How To Remove Henna From The Skin: The Best 5 Methods

It can be super tricky to remove henna from the skin. Here are our top 5 tips for doing it easily, quickly, and effectively.
Updated: January 19, 2023
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It looks beautiful, but figuring out how to remove henna from the skin can be a little bit tricky. It’s always nice to visit a cultural festival, enjoy the celebrations and immerse yourself in the traditions, but henna can be a tough substance to clean away for people who aren’t used to it.

Thankfully, we have your back. Today we’ll be discussing the best methods on how to remove henna that you can put into practice right away.

Here we go!

What is henna?

Firstly, it’s worthwhile taking the time to fully understand what henna is, what it’s made from, and why it can be so difficult to remove.

Henna refers to a natural dye that is extracted from various plants including the henna tree, Egyptian privet, and the mignonette tree. Different cultures around the world from ancient Egypt, to central Africa, and to India, use and have used henna to create wonderful and gorgeous temporary tattoos on the skin. Henna can also be made into hair dye.

Since the henna dye is so strong, henna tattoos only begin to fade after a few days, but can take a number of weeks to fully disappear, if not longer. This is due to the skin’s natural exfoliating process, which sees old skin cells replaced with new ones every few weeks. Still, the remnants of the tattoo can still remain visible for a long time, and this is where extra steps need to be taken to fully remove henna from the skin.

How to remove henna from the skin

Before we dive into the various methods and techniques we recommend you use to try and remove the henna, we must make it clear that not every one of these tips will work for everyone. Simply put, one method may be more effective for someone else than it is for you. This can be due to a number of factors, most notably depending on what stage your henna tattoo is in, how old or new it is, and of course what your natural skin type is.

Nevertheless, we believe all of these suggestions have merit and will definitely contribute towards successfully washing henna from the skin.

Let’s get started.

Saltwater and soap

Sure, soap and water on their own may be able to help fade the henna to some degree, but in our experience, it usually isn’t enough. However, taking the simple step of adding salt to the water may have a greater impact.

Salt is full of sodium chloride, which can assist in accelerating skin cell turnover by strengthening healthy cells while wiping away dead cells. Over time, the henna on your skin should begin to significantly fade.

For the best results, fill up your bathtub with lukewarm water and generously add salt to the water. This can be regular table salt, sea salt, or a salty bath bomb of your choosing. Then, submerge yourself in the water for 20-30 minutes, distributing the water to the henna and gently scrubbing at it. The tattoo should begin to dissolve and clear away, but you may need to try this technique a few times to remove all of it.

Lemon juice

Believe it or not, lemon juice can really help in softening your henna tattoo. Lemons contain a large amount of citric acid and Vitamin C, which can aid in skin brightening over time.[1] They’re also great at fighting free radicals due to their natural antioxidants and can also promote the production of collagen in the skin.

In order to use lemon juice to clear your henna tattoo, simply do the following:

  • Cut a lemon in half
  • Squeeze out the juice over the henna tattoo
  • Softly rub the lemon and juice into the skin for about 5 minutes
  • Rinse the juice away with lukewarm water before drying

Again, this might take a few tries, but many people have reported positive results using this method.

If you have naturally sensitive skin, take note.  This step might not be for you due to the acidic qualities of lemons.  You might be fine, but there’s a risk of skin irritation for certain individuals. Access your own skin type before trying this suggestion.

Coconut oil and sugar

Coconut oil is great at basically everything, it seems. It adds much-needed flavor to any meal, it is a fantastic skin moisturizer, and it’s also a very underrated tool for cleaning the skin, especially when it comes to washing away excess wax and tricky materials like glitter.

It has similar effects in removing henna from the skin, particularly when it’s mixed with sugar to form a powerful homemade exfoliator.

Follow these steps:

  • Bring a tablespoon of coconut oil to room temperature (It should be soft but not too runny)
  • Apply the coconut oil to the henna tattoo and rub it in with circular motions
  • Sprinkle a handful of sugar on top
  • Rub the mixture into the skin for 5-10 minutes
  • Gently rinse with warm water and dry

As always, this may take a few attempts, but you will see results.

Swimming pool

This may sound like an odd tip.  Spending an hour in your local swimming pool might do wonders for washing henna from the skin.

Chlorine is added to public swimming pools in order to kill germs. The chlorine morphs into hypochlorous acid and is adept at sufficiently safeguarding swimmers from potential infections, such as salmonella.

Additionally, chlorinated water is also very good at cleaning the skin, making it a good option for removing your henna. This is because the chlorine strips the skin of its natural oils, allowing the chemicals to infiltrate any surface-based dirt. You might be rather surprised at how effective taking a leisurely swim can be for cleaning the henna from your skin!

The only downside to this option is your skin will become dry, and a bit wrinkled, and you’ll have that unpleasant chlorine smell hanging onto you. Luckily, we have a helpful guide on how to remove chlorine from your skin effectively.

Use an exfoliator

If you don’t fancy trying homemade remedies, you could always fall back on a strong, well-regarded, professional exfoliator to get the job done.

Exfoliators, or scrubs, are powerful skin-cleaning products that contain millions of tiny rock-like particles in the mixture. When applied and rubbed into the targetted area of skin, they work to literally scrape away any dirt, debris, and dead skin cells that may be hindering the process of healthy skin cell turnover. This makes exfoliators an excellent option to remove henna from the skin.

However, if you have naturally dry skin, a harsh scrub may irritate your skin if overused. Be sensible and determine how much your skin can handle.

Conclusion

Henna tattoos are intended to be strong enough to remain on the skin’s surface for weeks at a time.  This makes them tough for you to remove. However, by following the tips above, removing henna from the skin can become much easier.

It’s fantastic to immerse yourself in culture and tradition. Hopefully, you will now get more enjoyment out of henna tattoos.

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