What is Henna?
Henna is a plant that grows in warm regions where even night time temperatures stay above 40 degrees. The plants produce the most dye in areas that are also dry, such as Northern Africa, Northwest India, and the Middle East. You might consider it a small tree or a large bush at 2-6 meters high. The plant produces a red/brown dye in its leaves. They dye loves to stick to protein making it a great dye for hair, skin and even nails..
Everywhere henna grows people have been using it as a dye and a medicine for thousands of years. Only in recent generations has henna spread to to rest of the world. Time, heat, and moisture damage henna reducing its potency. With faster transportation and more advanced packaging powdered henna leaf can be shipped everywhere and still be perfectly fresh when it arrives.
How Does It Work?
The dried leaves of the henna plant are ground into a fine powder. Then the powder is mixed with a slightly acidic liquid such as lemon juice or strong black tea. This breaks down the plant matter and sets the dye molecule free. Certain essential oils such as cajeput, eucalyptus, or lavender are added to dissolve the dye. Sugar is sometimes added to help the paste be more flexible when dry and to stick better to skin. This paste is then applied to skin, and over several hours the dye in that paste is absorbed into the surface layers of skin, and attaches its self to keratin in the skin. When the paste is removed the design remains beneath. At first the henna pattern is an orange color, but matures to a color about like chocolate over a day or two. These designs do not wash off, but will fade over time, as the surface layer of skin slowly wears away and is replaced by fresh, unstained cells.
What’s in Henna Paste?
Our henna paste is made from safe, gentle, natural ingredients. We use fresh henna powder, lemon juice, sugar, and cajeput essential oil. For prenatal art, or those with allergy or other health concerns, we make an even more mild recipe with henna, herbal tea, sugar, and lavender essential oil.
Is Henna Safe?
Natural, pure henna is safe for almost everyone, but as a person with very sensitive skin myself, I want to make certain that all our clients have every bit of information available! Instances of severe skin reactions and scarring are actually caused by chemical additives used by shady “artists” to produce temporary tattoos that are black and nearly instant. This product is often called “black henna” even though its not really henna at all. Its chemical hair dye, and its not legal for use on skin! For more information on how to detect henna imposters and chemical additives read this!