We have a very simple answer to your question. Get a traditional tattoo. That’s the only way to make it happen.

Of course, if you Google “how to make a henna tattoo permanent” you will find a number of other articles purporting to provide the answer. However, these tips (reapplication followed by the constant application of lotions and creams, etc.) only artificially extend the life of your current henna tattoo, and will require constant upkeep. In other words, the design will only endure if you keep putting in the work. But even then it’s not quite the same. Eventually the henna could change the tone of your skin, but the integrity of the exact design will suffer as the fine lines that distinguish the work will “bleed” into one another. Over time the design will resemble little more than a blemish or birthmark.

To reiterate, you can only make a henna tattoo permanent by getting a permanent tattoo. But there’s more you need to know before you go for it. Let’s review.

3 Things You Need to Know About Transitioning Your Henna Body Art Into a Real Tattoo

You Can’t Tattoo Over Henna

If you’re in love with the current henna art on your body, your first thought for making it permanent is probably to ask a tattooist to tattoo over it. Theoretically this would recreate the exact same design while making it everlasting. However, it’s not practical, nor suggested, and you would not likely find a tattooist willing to do it.

It’s important to remember that your skin must be completely cleaned and sanitized before a tattoo can be applied. While tattooed skin cells are deeper and do not exfoliate (unlike henna) it is still necessary for the stratum corneum of the epidermis (top layer of skin) to be free of artificial elements, which includes dirt, debris, and in this case – henna paste. If it’s not clear, the ink which penetrates the stratum corneum is compromised, with microscopic debris making its way through to the stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum and deeper into the dermis where tattoo ink must reside to remain permanent.

Instead, you need to let your henna tattoo run its course until it fades away completely. If you want to expedite the process be sure to exfoliate often. But before it fades naturally or with some extra attention, be sure to do the following.

How to Get the Henna Design onto Tattoo Transfer Paper

Since you can’t tattoo over henna, you need to get the current design from your skin onto specialized thermal paper, which will then transfer the design back on to your skin in the form of a real tattoo.

To accomplish this, try and track down the original art. The person who applied the henna design may still have it, and should be open to either giving it to you, or selling it for a small price. What if the henna design was applied by freehand? If so, you will need to take a panoramic (to account for curves, if any) photograph of the body art so that you can edit it (for contrast and clarity) and subsequently print it so that you can take it to a tattooist. From there they should be able to trace it onto thermal paper for skin transfer.

While the above are DIY steps that you can initiate on your own, we do encourage you to consult with a tattooist right away, before the henna fades any further. A tattooist prefers to see firsthand exactly what the henna design looks like on your skin. They will analyze exactly how the design merges with the contours of the part of your body that the design has been applied to. They may take video or photos of the existing design to ensure that the permanent tattoo is placed exactly where the henna one is. Remember, the henna must be gone before the permanent tattoo is applied. By waiting to book a consultation, you run the risk of getting a less accurate replica. That said, be sure to choose the right tattooist before moving forward. Beyond following these tips to choosing a tattoo artist, you need to find one who is best suited to doing the work. Read ahead.

Choose a Tattooist Who Specializes in Fine Lines

Typical henna tattoos incorporate fine line work by a very talented freehand artist. Either that, or it was transferred over from intricate specialized transfer paper. So if you want to make a henna tattoo permanent, you need to find a tattooist who specializes in fine line tattoo work. If in Vancouver BC, you’re already in the right place. Sleight of Hand Tattoo in downtown Vancouver has a very talented fine line tattoo artist on staff. Claudia will turn the dream of making your beloved henna tattoo a permanent one, into a reality. Book your consultation today.

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Sleight of Hand

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