How Long Does Henna Last On The Skin?

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable woman getting henna applied to her hands in preparation for her wedding.
LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Do you want a tattoo, but you’re not sure how the design works? One way to experience body art without getting a permanent tattoo is to get a henna tattoo instead. 

Henna tattoos are perfect — you can experience the “feel” of permanent body art… temporarily. If you aren’t quite sure whether you really want to commit to a permanent design, henna can let you test out the design on your body. 

And of course, henna designs can look spectacular in its own right!

So how long does henna last on the skin? Depending on where you apply the henna and how you take care of it, it typically henna will last for a few days for up to a few weeks before it gradually fades. 


How Long Does Henna Last On The Skin?

No products found.

Henna is an ink product that is created from henna leaves. It comes in a paste form that can be used to draw different designs on the skin. When applied to the skin, this stinky substance stains the skin in a semi-permanent manner. Henna can last for a few days up to a few weeks. 

When applied to the skin, it stains the skin in a semi-permanent manner. Henna can last for a few days up to a few weeks.

The length of time a henna tattoo lasts on your skin will vary depending on a few factors.

Water Exposure

Henna will eventually wash off. If you tend to expose the area to water often, then it is likely to fade faster. 

Location on the Skin

The location where you place the henna tattoo has an effect on how long it will last. When applied to the back of the hands or the top of the feet, it will usually last for about two weeks, or less if you wash your feet and your hands often. 

If you apply it to your face, forehead, cheeks, neck, or ears, it will typically last for a week. On the other hand, if you place it on your back, shoulders, belly, or upper arm, it is likely to last for a week to up to 10 days.

Exfoliation (Natural and Intentional)

If you exfoliate regularly, then the henna tattoo wouldn’t last as long. 

Henna is a stain, and unlike a true tattoo, it only stains the top layer of the skin. As the skin naturally sheds off, the henna tattoo will fade. If you speed up the shedding process through exfoliation, you can expect the henna tattoo to last a shorter time than it otherwise would. 

Why Does Henna Last For A Long Time?

Henna is a dye or a stain that affects the top layer of the skin, unlike the ink on tattoos that are inserted into the skin. This is why you can expect that a henna tattoo won’t last as long as a regular tattoo. 

However, unlike other dyes, henna is one temporary dye that lasts for a long time. There are several reasons why that happens. 

First of all, henna binds to your skin. Have you ever held beets or turmeric? If you use those ingredients often in the kitchen, you will know that they can stain your hands.

In order to remove them, you need to scrub them off so that the stains are removed. 

Henna is different than the other plant-based stains mentioned above. That’s because the component in the henna leaves first interacts with the skin to produce a reaction and create the stain. 

It reacts with the keratin proteins on the skin to make the dye appear darker and to make sure that it isn’t easily removed, even if you wash it off. With this, the dye stays in place until that layer of the skin is shed off. 

Another reason is that henna darkens when exposed to oxygen. This process is known as oxidation. That’s also the reason why your henna seems to darken after 48 hours. 

Other dyes will eventually fade over time. Henna will darken in the first 48 hours and stay that way until some of the skin cells are shed off. This intensifies the dye first before it fades off eventually (on dark skin, henna will appear to fade more quickly). 

Other dyes will eventually fade over time. Henna will darken in the first 48 hours and stay that way until some of the skin cells are shed off.

How To Make Henna Tattoos Last Longer

Do you really like your beautiful henna tattoo design? Do you wish that it could last longer? There are a few ways you can extend its life! They are as follows: 

1. Select The Proper Location

When you want your henna tattoo to last longer, you should properly select an area where to place it. Those areas that have thicker skin will likely hold the henna tattoo for a longer time. 

If you want your henna tattoo to last longer, you can have them placed on the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet, or on your stomach. 

2. Don’t Remove The Paste Immediately

Henna when applied to the skin comes in a paste form and you have to let it dry up. Upon drying, resist the urge to remove it. The design is underneath that paste but you should keep the henna on top of it as long as you can. 

Many say that you should make sure that it lasts for a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of up to 12 hours. If you can keep the henna paste on your skin overnight, that would be better.

3. Keep It Moist

In order for the stain to take hold, some make use of lemon juice and sugar mixture. This is done by heating up the lemon juice and mixing three tablespoons of sugar in it. 

Once it is cool, you place it in a spray bottle and mist the henna tattoo. Make sure that you use it only to dampen the henna tattoo and not overdo it that it is already dripping. 

With the moisture and acidity of the lemon, the stain binds better. The sugar is used to intensify the color of the henna dye. 

4. Warm It Up

Another way to make the henna last long is to keep it warm for the first 48 hours after it is applied. Heat is a good thing when it comes to the reaction of the henna tattoo and the skin. 

However, too much could also make you too sweaty and could distort the henna tattoo. You need to find a balance in it.


Henna can last up to a couple of weeks if you take care of it and avoid exposure to water or excess sun. It is an excellent way to test out a tattoo design before permanently inking it, and it can look stunningly beautiful in its own right!

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).