Why I don’t use black henna
Black henna is a manufactured henna product that contains a dye called Para-phenylenediamine (PPD). PPD is a common ingredient in hair dyes and is highly allergenic. In 2006, Medscape.com voted PPD as the allergen of the year. It was banned from France and Europe for most of the 20th century and is currently not approved by the FDA for use on the skin. It can cause blistering, scarring, and lifelong sensitization to black henna and hair dyes. The amount of PPD in black henna is also much more than you would find in hair dyes, increasing the risk of an adverse reaction.
How to identify black henna
PPD will not be listed on the ingredient list (because it is illegal?), so how can you tell if henna that you purchased has PPD in it? Black henna is usually sold in colorful cones off the shelf. Natural henna wouldn’t last more than a day on a shelf at room temperature before it started losing its ability to dye the skin, so this should be your first sign that something is fishy.
Also, if the cone says that it dyes the skin fast – that is another indication. Or if it has a warning like the one I found on a few of the cones pictured below: “These types of preparations may cause serious inflammation of the skin.” The cones you see below are black henna cones that I purchased from a local Boise India shop to show my students in the community ed class I used to teach what NOT to buy!
I use all natural henna
I mix my own henna paste using organic henna powder, organic sugar, water, and a mix of essential oils that not only helps to produce a dark stain, but that is safe for the skin.
Achieving a dark henna stain is very possible with natural henna and both the henna artist and the client play a part. The paste must be made well, applied properly, and then after the paste is applied the client should practice proper aftercare. Leaving the paste on for as long as possible, and avoiding water on the area for the first 24 hours will both contribute to a dark stain. I love the rich brown/red color of natural henna. I would never use anything else!
Comparing Black Henna to Natural Henna
I did a Facebook Live video where I talk about black henna and I actually open up a black henna cone and test out the consistency of it compared to natural henna. Not on the skin, of course! Check it out below!
Kingdom Henna is located in Boise, ID and offers all natural henna tattoos for every occasion.