I try to live as naturally as possible, eating local food, and using personal care products that use as few harmful chemicals as possible. Plus, I run as often as my body will let me. These two factors pretty much add up to no nail polish. Seriously, I don’t know exactly what they put in it, but it has to be bad, as awful as that stuff smells.
Have you ever closed the bathroom door and painted your nails without turning on the fan? Not a good idea.
But I want cute toes. And I want cute toes that I don’t have to think about very often, that won’t chip. And that don’t involve nasty chemicals that stink. So I’ve gone the henna route. Unfortunately, henna is one of those creatures that’s pretty personal, so I can’t make any guarantees that you will like the color henna gives on your nails. It’s also messy, and takes a few hours to give a stain, and then you have to let it oxidize.
These are my toes after their very first henna application. As you can see, they’re pretty orange. After one more application, and a few days to oxidize, it turned into this:
I like it.
So how does one henna one’s toenails? Personally, I mix up a small amount of Jamila henna (body-art quality) with enough warm water to make a creamy paste. I let it sit for 24 hours, covered in plastic. Then I use a teensy bit (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp.) to dye my nails and pack the rest into the freezer in small blobs. I’ve recently discovered that if you freeze your blobs in the cut-out corners of a plastic bag, they come with their own little applicator. Then, I let the henna sit for 1-3 hours. You can wrap your feet in plastic (that silly picture earlier), but that will result in a little staining on your skin.
But don’t worry, the stain on the skin wears off in a couple of days, and the stain on your nails will last pretty much forever. Doesn’t chip. It does grow out, so if you don’t like the color, you have to wait until your toenails grow out. Not a big deal for the little guys, but I rarely have grown out more than half the big toe’s color before coloring again. When you color again, there will be a little demarcation where you colored previously, but it blends pretty well. Your tips might get a little dark, but I still like it.
Hooray for cute toes!