is Black Henna?
Black henna, a green powder that smells like frozen peas, is neither black nor henna. It is indigo, Indigofera tinctoria
Mehendi, often referred to as henna tattoos, is done by applying a paste made of henna powder and lemon juice on skin. With the help of heat, moisture and time the paste leaves a reddish brown stain on skin, first light, then darkening during the next 24 hours. The method has been in use for hundreds of years.
The henna powder is made by drying and grinding the leaves of a henna plant (lawsonia inermis). Pure, 100% henna always leaves a brown stain: the shade variates according to the quality of henna used, the ingridients of the paste and the methods used when applying, and sometimes the color can darken to almost black, but basically the colour is brown. All products claiming to be "Black Henna" have other ingridients than henna added in them. A chemical dye called Phenylenediamine, referred to as PPD, is often used to create a fast-taking, jetblack result. Unfortunately PPD is very harmful on skin, often causing a so-called chemical burn. This is much like a strong allergic reaction, many people get it and many don't, but I advice you not to take the risk. A black henna burn takes a long time to get better and often leaves a scar.
Please stay away from these products and stick to pure henna. Allergic reactions to henna are very rare, it is safe to use and the result is beautiful. If you already have a black henna burn, please go to see a doctor as soon as possible to get treatment. If you are a henna artists, plase note that I shall not allow the commercial use of my designs for black henna users.
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