What is Henna?
Henna (lawsonia inermis) is a small tree that grows in hot, dry climates, the leaves of which are dried and ground into a powder that is mixed with various liquids, sugar, and essential oils to create a paste that is then applied to the skin. The paste should be left on for several hours and once it falls off, leaves behind a stain that will last anywhere from 1-3 weeks!
It is used in cultures all over the world, but is especially well known in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia where it most commonly grows. It is one of the oldest cosmetics and is often used during times of celebration, but is also a part of everyday use in many parts of the world.
[L to R: Paste on (8hrs), immediately after paste removal, 24 hour mature stain.]
Henna is Never Black
Black "henna" often contains very little actual henna and creates a black stain with the chemical PPD (Para-phenylenediamine) which is found in black hair dye and has a number of industrial uses. It is however, used unsafely in black "henna," and is illegal for use on skin in the US. It can cause severe skin reactions such as itching, burning, blistering, and scaring. Not to mention being carcinogenic and linked to a number of serious health issues. I recommend avoiding anything labeled "instant" or "emergency" henna. Safe, natural henna comes in one color and requires refrigeration after it is mixed with liquid in order to maintain quality staining ability. Please only obtain henna paste from an artist who mixes their own, or make your own using powdered henna leaf!
|Grassroots Henna and Design||
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