What is henna?
Henna is a tradition that goes back about 3000 years as skin art. The paste is made from the ground leaves of the henna plant, which grows in deserts. Ours comes from near Delhi in northern India. We import the powder ourselves and mix it with bottled lemon juice, Bulgarian lavender essential oil, cajeput essential oil (a close cousin of tea tree, just smells less like feet), and table sugar.
How does henna work?
We mix up the paste, put it in little Mylar cones, and draw the designs onto your skin, freehand without the use of needles or anything painful! We frost you like a cake. If you like, we can dust some cosmetic glitter over the top to make it pretty. The paste will be dry within about 20 to 30 minutes to the point where you don’t need to worry about it smearing. After that, you will want to leave it on until it falls off naturally. We recommend at least a couple of hours, and longer is better. When the paste comes off, it starts off orange, and then darkens over the next 2 days to a final reddish to chocolate brown, which lasts on average two weeks.
Does it work on dark skin?
Yes! Henna is used traditionally by people of all skin colors. If you have darker skin, you will have a more tone-on-tone effect, so choosing a design with bolder lines and lots of shading will make it stand out better.
Can you henna my (body part)?
Well, yes, but you may not want us to. Henna stains best on hands and feet. Arms and legs are quite good. Everywhere else depends heavily on the person and their skin chemistry. Pregnant bellies don’t get super dark, but they do last very well. Other than that, we generally recommend against henna for the torso, unless it is super bold.
Can you henna children?
Yes and no. It depends on the child. If a child is old enough to hold still while it’s applied, and not touch or smear the design for an hour, then yes. Some children, mostly girls, especially from cultures that do henna all the time, are ready as young as two. Some children, mostly boys, will still smear it around as teenagers. If we are hennaing at an all-ages party, the parent makes the call. If you want us for a birthday party, we recommend glitter for under age ten. If we are hennaing at a festival and you trust the child to walk around by themselves, we assume you trust them to make a good decision about henna for themselves, too.
Will you do black henna on me?
No, for two reasons. First, henna is never black. If you get offered something called black henna, someone is lying to you. There simply isn’t any henna that’s a color other than the lovely natural brown.
The second reason is that the black stuff that people do use is usually either black leather dye or hair dye. There’s a reason that hair dye packages say not to put it on your scalp. The main ingredient, PPD, is known to cause contact dermatitis, permanent scarring, bladder cancer, and even death. Many children who got “black henna tattoos” while on vacation end up with nasty bubbling scars for the rest of their lives. A simple Google search will show you what we mean.
Sometimes people will get the black stuff and not have a visible reaction. It’s like poison ivy or a bee sting. You may get it once and nothing happens or you may immediately swell up like you have mumps and it never goes away. Even if you don’t have a visible reaction, it’s still building up in your system, waiting. We never harm anyone with our art, and we never use anything but safe, natural henna.