What is Black Henna?

You’ve heard of black henna. Is it really that bad you think? How different could it be? This type of ‘henna’ is a dangerous alteration of henna that can cause permanent scarring and allergies. You never want to use this, and making sure your artist is using natural henna is of the highest importance. Below are what the differences are and how you can spot if you are getting natural, or black henna.

Natural Henna stains a light orange color that develops in 24-48 hours into a rich brown that lasts 7-20 days!

‘Black Henna’ gives ‘instant color’, in about 15-20 minutes (Bright orange, black, or reddish-orange) due to chemicals mixed in, which can scar your skin permanently.

Natural henna contains 4-5 ingredients depending on the artist: Henna plant, sugar, essential oil, and water, lemon or apple juice. Must be frozen or refrigerated if not used right away.

‘Black henna’ can contain PPD, gasoline, turpentine, and/or kerosene. These chemicals make it shelf stable, and also can cause severe skin reactions, itching, blistering, and permanent allergies.  

Natural Henna paste is a usually a greenish brown, but the stain will turn into a natural mahogany or deep brown color.

Black henna also goes by ‘Golecha, bridal henna, instant henna, or red henna’. Labels are not always accurate and can be misleading.

Do not buy henna from amazon, or a store that keeps it on a shelf. Buy natural henna cones from a local artist or reputable seller, my personal favorites are Henna Caravan and Henna Lounge.

Natural henna smells great and feels cool on the skin. Know the difference, enjoy the art.

If you are unsure how to ask your henna artist what they are using, check out my blog 4 questions you need to ask your henna artist, to help you know what you are putting on your body. Henna is a beautiful art form, and the majority of artists use reputable supplies; it is always better to be safe and ask, then be sorry.