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Henna is used as a temporary dye for the skin in things like mehndi. It usually lasts 14 days or more and may be removed once it starts to fade. From salt water to hair conditioner, here are tips for removing it.

Henna is a dye derived from the leaves of the henna plant. In the ancient art of mehndi, the dye is applied to your skin to create intricate, temporary tattoo patterns.

Henna dye tends to last two weeks or so before it starts to take on a faded appearance. Once the henna dye begins to fade, you may want to remove the henna design from your skin quickly.

Keep reading for some methods you can try to get rid of a henna tattoo.

1. Salt water soak

You may want to start the henna removal process by soaking your body in water with an exfoliating agent, like sea salt. Epsom salt, or even table salt, works too. The sodium chloride in salt can help nourish your living skin cells and get rid of dead ones.

Pour about half a cup of salt into the warm water of a half-full bathtub and soak for twenty minutes.

2. Exfoliating scrub

Scrubbing your skin with an exfoliating face or body wash may help remove henna quickly. Using one that contains a natural exfoliating agent, like apricot or brown sugar, minimizes the irritation to your skin.

Make sure to use a moisturizer or apply coconut oil after exfoliating your henna tattoo.

3. Olive oil and salt

Mixing one cup of olive oil with three or four tablespoons of sea salt creates a mixture that may be able to loosen the henna dye from your skin while exfoliating the fading tattoo.

Use a cotton swab to fully coat your skin and let the olive oil soak in before gently rubbing off the salt with a wet washcloth.

4. Antibacterial soap

The high alcohol content and exfoliating scrubbing beads in antibacterial soap can help get rid of henna dye. Scrub your hands a few times a day with your favorite antibacterial soap, but be careful about drying out your skin.

Apply a moisturizing cream to your body after using antibacterial soap to get rid of henna.

5. Baking soda and lemon juice

Lemon juice is a proven skin lightening agent. Baking soda and lemon juice can work together to lighten the henna dye and make it disappear faster. However, never apply baking soda and lemon juice to your face.

Use half a cup of warm water, a full tablespoon of baking soda, and two teaspoons of lemon juice. Apply this mixture with a cotton swab and let it soak into your skin before removing it. Keep repeating until the henna can’t be seen.

6. Makeup remover

Any silicone-based makeup remover can work as a gentle way to get rid of henna dye.

Use a cotton swab or Q-tip to fully saturate your henna tattoo and then remove the makeup remover with a dry cloth. You may need to repeat this a couple of times.

7. Micellar water

Micellar water can bond to henna dye and help lift it away from skin. This method is especially gentle on your skin.

Make sure to soak your skin completely with the micellar water and let your skin absorb it. Then apply some pressure as you rub your skin dry.

8. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can lighten the appearance of your skin, but this method may take a couple of tries to remove henna. Use diluted hydrogen peroxide meant for cosmetic use, and apply it generously to the area of your henna tattoo.

After several applications, the tattoo should fade beyond visibility.

9. Whitening toothpaste

Put the whitening ingredients of your toothpaste to good use by applying a generous amount to your henna tattoo and rubbing it in.

Let the toothpaste dry before using an old toothbrush to gently scrub the toothpaste off.

10. Coconut oil and raw sugar

A mixture of room-temperature (melted) coconut oil and raw cane sugar makes a powerful exfoliation agent.

Rub the coconut oil on your henna tattoo and let your skin absorb it before layering the raw sugar on top. Rub the sugar over your tattoo before applying pressure with a loofah or washcloth to remove the oil and sugar from your skin.

11. Hair conditioner

A hair conditioner product meant to moisturize your hair can also remove henna.

Apply the conditioner to the tattoo and make sure your skin has time to absorb it fully. Rinse off with warm water.

12. Go for a swim

The chlorinated water in a public pool might be what you need to remove the henna from your skin, and you get some exercise in the process. Hit the pool for forty minutes or so, and any sign of henna on your skin will probably fade beyond recognition.

Even if you have trouble removing henna dye from your skin using the methods described above, you won’t have to be patient for long. Henna dye isn’t permanent and should be gone on its own within three weeks if you shower daily.

If you have an allergic reaction to henna, trying to get rid of the tattoo yourself probably won’t solve the problem. Speak to a dermatologist about any negative reactions or marks on your skin that you get as a result of henna.