How to Take Henna Off After It's Already On

Mehndi designs might be pretty, but they also mark important rite-of-passage events.
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The divine whorls, curves and curlicues of henna designs are beautiful to behold -- but the long-lasting nature of these traditional temporary tattoos can feel like more of a punishment than a plus if they aren't perfect. A laissez-faire approach isn't an option in the case of less-than-marvelous mehndi -- the shedding of skin cells takes nearly a month to fully fade the design. Put your botched henna illustration behind you and shorten your skin-symbol sentence with a few skincare secrets.

Squeeze a dollop of exfoliating cream or scrub into the palm of your hand and work it into the henna design once daily to speed up skin shedding. Rinse the excess scrub thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat the skin dry with a clean towel.

Soak a cotton ball with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol and dab it onto the design once daily to help break down the henna stain.

Apply a petroleum product, a skin cream or an oil -- all of which act as bleaching agents on henna -- to the design once daily. Options include sunscreen, petroleum jelly, lotion, baby oil and cold cream.

Soak the design frequently in water to help it fade faster. Take long baths, or skip the gloves when you're washing dishes if the henna design is on your hands. Chlorine pool water is also effective, so swim or soak in a pool as much as possible.

  • Moisturize after taking long baths or soaking your hands.

A writer with a Bachelor of Science in English and secondary education, but also an interest in all things beautiful, Melissa J. Bell has handed out beauty and fashion advice since she could talk -- and for the last six years, write for online publications like Daily Glow and SheBudgets.