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How Much Sugar?

How much sugar?

Let me teach you how to add the perfect amount of sugar to your paste EVERY time. Its pretty simple if you can just get past the idea that its a process, not a recipe. It will vary depending on the weather.

Here’s how it works:

Sugar will draw moisture from the air. This thins your paste. This is why some people in humid places think they can’t use sugar. They mix their paste to a working consistency, THEN add the sugar. It draws moisture from the air, and thins out some more. Now the paste is too sloppy, the lines spread, and it takes too long to dry! On a dry day, because there is very little moisture in the air for the sugar to pull into your paste, it will take more sugar to thin it to a working texture. On a humid day, each spoonful will thin your paste more because there’s lots of moisture in the air. It works out great because we need more sugar on dry days than damp days. Clear as mud? Don’t worry, you’ll get it when you see this:

Tips:

Don’t use more than 5 tablespoons of sugar. This will make sticky, nasty paste that will most likely never dry even in the driest climate. If you put 5 tablespoons of sugar into a 100 g batch and its still too thick, then thin it down with the rest of the way with water. In this case you may need some sort of seal.

Add the sugar the same day, and in the same environment you’ll be working. If you’re going to work outside, mix outside. If you’re going to work in air-conditioning, add sugar in air-conditioning. This trick is environmentally dependent!

You can mix with just liquid and oils, really thick (like plaster thick) and freeze that in advance. Pull out a bag of thick paste when you’re ready to use it, and sugar it that day.

Even stringy hennas can benefit from sugar! The natural qualities will help with draping lovely, fine, lines, but it won’t make the dry paste flexible enough to move with skin. My method will help you add sugar to even stringy paste and maintain the integrity of your lines.

This Post Has 11 Comments
  1. What area do you live? I live in Louisville Ky – very humid. I have issues with spreading paste. I have been told to not put any sugar in the past….suggestions?
    Thanks!

  2. Hi Rose! Great question. Its pretty humid up here near the Great Lakes too. In fact the area was a swamp before ditches and canals were build to dry out the land. I really think this method might help you. Its worth a try at least. The trick is in making your paste REALLY thick initially. That way when the sugar pulls in all that moisture it doesn’t turn into a sloppy, wet mess. If you make a paste that’s a working consistency, or even close to it, then add sugar in a humid area it just gets WAY too wet. Let me know how it goes if you try!

    1. thanks! I will give it a try – I just mixed up a bunch with no sugar. It’s been raining cats and dogs. It did ok, but couldn’t get fine lines (I mixed it thicker to compensate for spread, but then I have to cut tip bigger to get flow!) It’s an art- if I can just get my henna making down, I could work on improving technique. Hope it works!! thanks again

  3. Very very interesting…I would have had a hard time believing that if some one would have just told me about it! But that was amazing!

  4. Thank you for this! I will definitely try it on my next batch of henna. I use pomegranate molasses instead of sugar. Do you think the same technique would work there?

    1. You’re welcome! Yes, I think this method would work just fine with any kind of sugar. I personally find that wet sugars like molasses and honey tend to change consistency on me after a freeze thaw cycle, but if you plan on using it fresh, it should all work the same.

  5. What would you suggest for super stringy henna that Won’t Dry! I was told 100g dextrose per 100g henna powder, which I did.. no sugar just lemon water and essential oil and it Won’t Dry or stain and bleeds 😫 I’m SO SO sad cuz I feel that I ruined entire batch! Now I’m having a hard time freezing it. It just stays like a pudding texture 😿 I HAVE NO CLUE what I’m doing or what went wrong.. I’m so worked up about it tho.. I’ve been so excited n it seems that everything I’ve done has made it worse. PLEASE help!

    1. Oh no! That must be really frustrating. First of all dextrose IS a form of sugar, secondly 100 g is almost certainly too much for any henna in any climate. Also, naturally stringy henna tends to need less sugar than other henna because sugars created INSIDE the plant while it grows are what makes it stringy in the first place!

      The only way to save your henna is to add more henna powder, and quite honestly it is probably better at this point to start over. I know its a bummer. But look on the bright side! At least henna isn’t an expensive craft. You can get 100 grams of high quality henna and essential oil to replace your botched batch for about $15, shipping included! And 100 grams is more than enough for a professional henna artists to work all day long, or for a beginner to get many, many hours of practice.

      1. Lmfao! Omg, why did the company tell me to add it all ugh! Ya live and you learn I suppose! One thing that I have done is just used it to practice with. Figured there was no sense in tossing it so it’s getting put to good use either way (: thanks for the heads up! The company wouldn’t return any of my calls or emails, nothing so I didn’t know what to do lol.. thank you for the info. I’ve been really confused haha! Think I’ll buy a bag of powder from you guys this time since you’ve been so amazing! Thank you so so much!!

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