We absolutely love Henna but its important to keep your wits about you and be aware of what you are buying and using. There are different types of Henna to avoid and to trust. We have outlined some of the main whys and wherefores below but the general rule of thumb is that 100% pure henna stains skin in some colour between orange, red, burgundy, brown or coffee.
Traditional pure henna rarely causes any difficulty on the unbroken skin of a healthy adult.
A definite no-no. If you see a shop or stall offering to paint black tattoos onto your skin, don’t be tempted to get one. It could leave you scarred for life and put you at risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Often called “black henna” or “neutral henna” tattoos, these patterns painted onto your skin are readily available abroad. They may also be available in the UK, at festivals and fairs, and to buy online.
But the black paste used in these temporary tattoos may contain high levels of a chemical dye so powerful and toxic that it is illegal to use it on the skin in this way.
Real henna, which is generally safe to use, is an orange colour, with a red or brown tint to it.
Henna to dye hair
This gets a big thumbs up from us! Henna is a plant native to the Middle East, which has been used since ancient times to dye the skin and hair.
A patch test before you use henna can reassure that you’re not allergic to lawsone, which is the red-orange pigment that’s present in the leaves of the henna plant. Simply apply a small amount of the henna mixture to your skin and wait for at least one hour.
Although allergic reactions to henna are very unusual, the effects are mild – your head and scalp will itch. Allergic reactions to PPD (para-phenylenediamine) – found in synthetic dyes and adulterated henna – can cause reactions such as redness, burning, itching and irritation of the scalp, face and neck.
Henna in Pregnancy
When applied to the surface of the skin or as a hair dye, henna is generally safe for use during pregnancy.
Select your dye carefully, and make sure that the dye you are using is 100% natural henna. Natural henna stains the skin orange, red, brown, cinnamon, brick, chocolate, or coffee, and can last about one to four weeks. Safe and natural henna does not come in black colour.
Today, henna belly art is becoming popular as a celebration of pregnancy, and is a common practice during baby showers. Some pregnant women even plan a henna party, for the sole purpose of the host and her friends having their bodies decorated in henna, in celebration of her pregnancy.
Buy your natural henna from Hennacat here.