1) What is Henna?
Henna is a shrub known as Lawsonia Inermis. It holds a red dye that stains or prints on any natural surface it comes in contact with (wood, leather, paper, skin, hair), when appropriately mixed. For more information see Henna Caravan’s site.
2) How long will the henna tattoo last?
It will last anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks depending on your body temperature level, where the henna is applied (palms, fingers, feet, and soles of feet are the darkest), the type of skin you have, and how often you wash the hennaed area. The more you wash your henna tattoo the faster it will fade away. You can redo-it over to make it darker. Hands and feet last up to a month and anywhere else is approximately one to two weeks. For more information see Earth Henna’s website.
3) How long should I leave the paste on my skin?
You can peel off the paste as soon as it dries. Dry time is about 15-25 minutes. However, the earlier you take the paste off the lighter your henna tattoo will be. I recommend that you leave the henna paste for at least 3-8 hours in order to get a dark and long lasting henna tattoo. On parts of the body where skin is thin (belly, upper arms, really anywhere besides hands and feet) I recommend you leave the paste on at least 6-8 hours to get a good stain.
4) Do you have black henna?
Absolutely not. My henna is 100% natural, organic, and chemical free. So called “black henna” is actually not henna at all. Henna is always a variation of brown (chocolate, reddish, blackberry) but never ever black. “Black henna” is comprised of a chemical called PPD. This chemical (P-Phenylenediamine) causes an allergic reaction on the skin of many people. You should always ask the henna artist what is in his/her paste prior to getting a henna tattoo. “Black henna” is usually offered in tourist areas since it takes a few days for the allergic reaction such as burning, blistering, and scarring to occur.
You can reach a dark brown-to-black color henna tattoo by re-applying henna twice over the
same design. Other options are using Harquus (a black body paint) or gilding with mica powder. These tattoos generally last about five to seven days. For more information on black henna please see the Henna Page’s information.
5) What color does the tattoo come out to? Are there any other colors to henna?
A natural henna tattoo is a variation of reddish brown, from copper-orange, to red, to chocolate brown, to blackberry. Cultivating the henna plant can be a lot like any crop or a vintage of wine. Growing factors influence what color the stain will be. A tattoo will start orange and then darken within the first 24-48 hours. Some people advertise as having “colored” henna. I do not use colors because the only way to obtain them is by adding chemicals that dye the henna.
6) Can henna be used for hair?
Yes. Henna has first been used to nourish and dye hair. It is the only 100% natural hair dye. It also works very well as a conditioner. The dyed hair with henna gives a red to brown color tone depending on your original/natural hair color. While I do not personally administer henna for hair you can find more information on it here.
7) Where do henna traditions come from?
Mostly India, the Middle East, and North Africa as well as parts of East Asia. Traditionally henna is used to celebrate weddings, pregnancies, and festivals. A bride is hennaed a few days before her wedding to achieve a dark stain. She is not allowed to do housework in the groom’s new home until the henna has worn off. A woman is also hennaed in her eighth month of pregnancy to deter evil spirits, then again after the birth. She is not allowed to do any work until the henna wears off to encourage her to rely on others during that period of adjustment.
For more information on the richness of henna in history please visit The Henna Page for a wealth of information!