Henna has existed for many centuries, and is rooted in numerous cultures and traditions. Henna (also known as ‘Mehndi’) has continuously evolved, and is now celebrated in weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, baby showers, and on and on.
Its early documentation has yet to let us know where it’s originally derived from, but it’s believed that in some humid countries, people would mix some henna powder with water and rub it over their skin for its cooling effects on the body as a way to fight the hot climate. It was then discovered that this technique stained the skin, thus a new art craft was born.
There’s a wide misconception that henna comes in many variations and colors. This could not be further from the truth. Henna is ONLY brown in color and will only ever be brown.
So first thing’s first – there is no such thing as ‘black henna’ and any henna artist that tells you otherwise is either ripping you off or just doesn’t know any better. No natural henna is ever black, FULL STOP! Black henna is an artificially produced henna paste and is ILLEGAL in most countries. Its dangers are due to the fact that it has been chemically made, containing artificial dye called para-phenylendiamine (or PPD for short). This synthetic coal tar dye can cause bad skin reactions – to say the least. Sure, black henna is a more popular trend, since it’s seen as a darker contrast, but unless you’re one of a lucky few, you might be spending a few of your days in the hospital.
Natural organic henna is green in powder and reddish brown in application. If your henna artist cannot name every single ingredient in their henna paste, this is a cause of alarm. RED FLAG! RUN AWAY!
A good henna artist usually mixes their henna paste themselves, as opposed to purchasing it in bulk from God knows where. If you want to make sure your artist isn’t lying about whether or not they mixed their own henna, ask them how they store it. Unless their answer is a freezer, you better turn the other way and SAVE YOURSELF.
There are 3 stages of how a natural henna stain progresses:
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