Bringing Henna with you on a Plane – Air Travel Tips for Henna Artists

Maybe you’ve been invited to do bridal henna for a far-off relative’s wedding. Maybe you’ve been hired to work out of your home state, because a special client really loves your personal style. Maybe you’ve been hired to teach at a conference far from home, and really want to bring your own paste with you because you’re super picky. Maybe you just want to make sure you’ve got henna on hand while you’re on vacation, because it’s a fun thing to do!

Whatever may be the case, there are some times when you need to bring henna on a plane. You absolutely must bring your own henna, because it will be hard if not impossible to source professional quality henna powder upon your arrival. If you’re working in a professional capacity, having high quality, fabulously staining, reliable, well-tested paste is your professional obligation to your clients. With restrictions on carry-on luggage, paste integrity concerns, and the possibility of lost luggage, what is a henna artist to do??

Here is our method for carrying henna on long flights, when it is absolutely essential that there be henna ready to use upon arrival at the destination. You might consider it overkill, but when you add up the actual cost of all the henna used (about $10-35 US, if you are buying your henna and oils in bulk from a professional source like Artistic Adornment), it is very much well worth it for the huge peace of mind you will find in being 100% prepared and ready for all possible disastrous situations that may occur in your travels! Yes, we *were* Girls Scouts as children, and yes we *do* like being over-prepared 🙂 If you want to cut back and take just some of these suggestions, that is of course fine, too.

  1. Pack as many henna cones as you will actually need in your carry-on.
    You’ll have these ready to go, no matter what, to save you in a pinch. Be sure the cones are well-labeled and the size of each cone (as well as the total volume) is in compliance with current FAA carry-on luggage regulations such as the 3-1-1 rule for liquids in carry-ons. There’s still a chance that someone will wonder what the heck your henna is at security, so this cannot be the only henna you bring with you. If only it were that easy.
    Pro: ready to go upon arrival, with you the whole time
    Con:  paste may demise over course of trip, changing security / carry-on regulations
  2. Pack  frozen paste in your checked luggage.
    Pack your paste in a container with a very good seal. The bigger the container, the larger the frozen block of henna will be, the better it will retain its cool temperature throughout your trip. Double/triple bag your container, to avoid any problems with it bursting.
    Pro: paste will stay cold, ready upon arrival
    Con: be careful about bursting, luggage may get lost by airline
  3. Pack what you need to mix a batch of henna into your checked luggage.
    This henna will make its way safely to your destination. Chances of accidental messes are low. Be sure you have *everything* you need to get this batch from start to finish – henna powder, essential oil, mixing bowl, mixing spoon, applicators, carrot bag to get henna into applicators, proper tape, scissors, etc.
    Bring a henna with a speedy dye release time (like Mohana) to ensure that you do not waste precious time on your trip waiting for dye release.
    Pro: henna will arrive safely
    Con: luggage may be lost by airline, takes precious time away from trip to mix henna
  4. Mail henna to someone at your destination.
    Who will be there when you first arrive? Mail that person enough henna powder and essential oil to make an emergency batch, just in case all else goes wrong. Your henna will *probably* make it past security in your checked luggage, but what if you labeled poorly and happen to get a grumpy security person? Your checked luggage will *probably* arrive safely, but it seems that at every professional henna conference we’ve ever attended, at least one person has their luggage lost along the way – what if that’s you this one time when it really matters?
    Pro: you look super on the ball to your client, you are saved in case of a series of unfortunate events
    Con: it costs a little money

If you do all these, your mind will be very much at ease about your trip, and you will be in an excellent position to do some fabulous henna!

Do you have any other advice for traveling henna artists?

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