This depends on your patience! While jagua takes longer to dry than henna, jagua generally does not require being left on the skin for as long. While I’ve heard of people leaving jagua on overnight, as some will do with henna, 3 to 5 hours is plenty of time to leave jagua gel on.
If you get your design wet for any reason, either due to exposure to water or sweat, it’s strongly recommended that you remove the gel immediately to avoid smudging. If the gel is exposed to even subtle amounts of moisture, the design may begin to smudge. Please note that it will not be apparent that your design has smudged until the following day, as the stain requires some time to darken before you will see the final result. Other than helping to keep your jagua design crisp, avoiding exposure to water (other than during the gel removal process) over the first two days after application will also result in a darker stain, similar to henna designs.
Keep your design crisp: How to avoid smudges when removing jagua gel
Wash the jagua off under a stream of warm running water. If your design is anywhere other than your hands, where a sink will work, you will want to remove the jagua gel while in the shower. This allows you to have a constant flow of water to remove any potential residue quickly and thoroughly, so as to reduce the risk of smudging your design. As water is applied to your design, the jagua gel will be able to cause a stain with any skin it comes into contact with unless it is rinsed immediately. You will want to gently lather soap and wash the gel off, and then let the area remain under the shower for a few minutes to ensure all the jagua gel has been washed away. Gently pat dry, avoiding rubbing or excess exfoliation of the area.
Stain transfer & how to avoid it
During the first couple days after application, the design may transfer to your skin in another area. For example, if you have jagua applied to your hand and you sleep with your face rested on your hand trust that you’re going to wake up with a jagua design on your face. Once a stain has transferred, your skin has been stained and it is simply a waiting game of gentle exfoliation until the stain fades. Some people who’ve experienced stain transfer have used cover-up in the meantime. If you design is on an arm, leg, etc. you may find it easiest to wear clothing that covers the area while resting. Putting your hand in a glove/ mitten/ sock can also eliminate the risk of stain transfer while sleeping, and put your mind at ease.