Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions
What is henna, and how does it work?
Henna is a small tree, and its leaves contain a dye which stains your skin - similar to turmeric or beets. However with henna, the dye molecule (lawsone) binds to the keratin in your skin, which makes it a permanent stain!Henna paste is applied to your skin and dries to a dark brown-black color. The paste is removed after a few hours, and the resulting stain is initially a bright orange. It gradually oxidizes to a dark red-brown after about 24-48 hours. It may be nearly black in solidly colored areas and where skin is thickest (like the palms or soles of the feet)Henna penetrates only the top few layers of skin, so as your skin exfoliates away, so does the henna stain. This is what makes it temporary compared with a permanent ink tattoo. The stain will gradually darken over the course of about 48 hours. This happens because of oxidization. Air oxidizes the henna stain much like it does an apple. settings and press "Manage Questions" button.
Is henna safe?
Natural, unadulterated henna is extremely safe, and has been used as a natural form of body art for thousands of years. Henna is the dried and powdered leaf. It's mixed with a liquid, sugar and essential oils to get the proper consistency for body art.
It is extremely rare for someone to have an adverse reaction to henna. Some people may be allergic to those other ingredients used in making the paste, usually the essential oils. You should always ask the artist about the ingredients in their paste. The Dermatology Online Journal writes, “Contact dermatitis as a reaction to pure henna is extremely rare despite its frequent and repeated use over thousands of years all over the world.” ¹
Those with the rare disorder G6PD deficiency (or are allergic to aspirin or fava beans) should not get henna, nor should children under age 6 because they may have undiagnosed G6PD deficiency.
Bad press related to henna has to do with adulterated products containing harsh chemicals that are not meant for skin. These are typically found in the mass-produced "henna" cones sold on eBay or at some Indian markets. Henna is not shelf stable - it must be kept frozen until ready for use. If the product looks to be mass-produced, is not stored frozen, or is shipped overseas, avoid it. Side effects from these products can range from itchy rashes to scarring and even organ failure.
Imitation "henna" products use a variety of unsafe ingredients, including: gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, paint thinner, benzene, and PPD (p-phenylenediamine or paraphenylenediamine)*. These are frequently used in high concentrations. For example, PPD is a common chemical in hair dyes though the concentration is typically under 3% (further, the box will instruct you not to allow it to touch your skin). However, PPD concentration in imitation "henna" products is typically 10-40%. It has lead to severe blistering, permanent scarring, organ damage and even death (see links at end).
* PPD is especially dangerous because it is a sensitizer. That means that repeat exposures increase your chance of a serious reaction even if you've never reacted before.
2017 - 7 year old girl burned and scarred by imitation "henna"
2017 - 22 yr old woman suffers severe burns following exposure to chemical "henna"
2016 - 38 year old woman dies from PPD-tainted henna in Libya, the third death this year
2015 - Woman dies after repeated PPD exposure from chemical "henna" and hair dyes
2015 - 16 year old Mary Bates permanently scarred after PPD exposure from chemical "henna"
2014 - 3 year old boy suffered anaphylactic shock after PPD exposure from chemical "henna"
2011 - 17 year old Tabatha McCourt dies after PPD exposure in hair dye
2011 - Woman hospitalized following PPD exposure in hair dye
¹ Wolf, Ronni MD; Wolf, Danny MD; Matz, Hagit; & Orion, Edit. (2003). Cutaneous reactions to temporary tattoos.Dermatology Online Journal, 9(1). Retrieved from: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5dd6616d
Can henna be beneficial?
Henna has been called "healing" for a variety of reasons. I love to use henna to create henna crowns for those who have experienced hair loss during chemotherapy. My clients have described their experiences as "healing", "empowering", and "warm". If you're interested in this service, please contact me.
Henna also has a cooling effect on the skin. Some people have found it to be an effective relief from Hand Foot Syndrome (HFS/PPE), which is a painful side effect of many drugs including capecitabine, sorafinib and regorafenib. Read more about using henna for HFS relief in this journal article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24021017
Henna is an excellent conditioner for the skin as well conditioning and strengthening the hair. Note that this is different from many "henna" hair dyes found on store shelves, which typically include many other ingredients (some being quite harsh). The conditioning and strengthening qualities come from pure, natural henna (100% lawsonia inermis).
How henna works
Anywhere from about 1-3 weeks. Many factors are involved, but generally the darkest, longest-lasting stains will happen where your skin is thickest: the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. The stain is lightest on your torso.
Additionally, skin that is more alkaline tends to stain better, as well as the skin of people that are younger, healthier and more active. Warmer body temperatures will also help to darken the henna!
Your own aftercare will have a big impact on how long your design lasts.
I never get good henna stains even though I take good care of them, how come?
In addition to some of the individual factors mentioned above, good quality henna matters too. Henna has a short shelf-life and must be stored properly and used within a couple of days. It may be that the henna paste was old. We only use fresh, homemade paste - every time!The location of the design matters - if your henna was done on your neck or torso, for example, the resulting stain will be much lighter.Were you able to take good care of the henna? The henna paste should be left on for 4+ hours, and then it should be scraped off (not washed off). You should avoid water for 12-24 hours after removing the paste, and then avoid chlorinated water, salt water, and any other exfoliating agents in order to preserve the design.Your body chemistry plays a role, too. Thin skin may not stain as well, and even certain medications you might be taking can all contribute to different results.
What if I get a suntan or sunburn while I have henna on my skin?
Henna-stained skin actually blocks sunlight, and will prevent that area from tanning or burning. After your design fades, you may end up with a reverse henna pattern on your skin!
How do I care for my design?
Getting great results is 50% the quality of the artist's product, and 50% your aftercare. If you've come to us, then you have the quality product.
Preparing for your henna appointment
To ensure you get the darkest, longest-lasting stain possible:
Exfoliate up until 1-2 days before your henna. Henna works by dyeing the top few layers of your skin, and it seems to stain best when there is just a couple of days of skin buildup.
Depending on where you plan to have your design applied, it may be helpful to remove any hair on the area before your appointment. This helps the henna paste to achieve full contact with your skin and ensure an even stain.
If you are having your palms or feet done, you may need to plan for someone else to be your driver for the day.
On the day of your appointment, keep your skin clean and oil/lotion-free. Oils and lotions will interfere with the henna stain.
Schedule spray tans for after your henna is applied (ideally, at least 24 hours later).
The first 24 hours:
Leave the henna paste on for at least 3 hours, and no more than 12. It's traditional to leave it on overnight (if the design is done in the evening), and this gives great results! The longer the paste is on your skin, the deeper the stain.
Heat helps intensify the stain, so keep your skin warm while the paste is on and through the first 24 hours. In the cooler months I like to cover the design with tissue and then place a heating pad over it for a few minutes at a time. A space heater works well too, but try to avoid drying out the henna too much. Small doses work great. Note: Avoid perspiration on the area of the henna design while the paste is still on, because the henna may become runny and ruin your design. That means you shouldn't wrap your design in anything that isn't breathable (such as plastic wrap).
When you're ready to remove the paste, scrape it off with your fingernails or a credit card. Do not use water to wash it off! Use a little olive oil or lemon juice to remove any stubborn pieces.
Avoid contact with water for 12-24 hours - delaying exposure to water will help maximize the darkness and longevity of your henna stain!
The color will initially be orange (may even be nearly invisible on darker skin tones); and matures to a rich, dark red-brown over about 48 hours.
In addition to fresh, high-quality henna and proper aftercare, body chemistry plays a part in the intensity of your stain. If you tend to "run warm" or if your skin is more alkaline, you'll usually get a better stain. Some medications, such as birth control pills, can actually inhibit the stain. Additionally, certain parts of the body will stain better than others. The thicker skin of hands and feet will produce the strongest color, whereas the back of the neck and face tend to stain very lightly and fade more quickly.
A well-cared for design will last about 2 weeks. One week of strong color, and another week of fading. Ultimately, it depends on how quickly your skin exfoliates. These tips will help to prolong the stain.
Avoid scrubbing - instead, wash gently and pat dry.
Avoid petroleum-based products, such as Vaseline, baby oil, sunscreens.
Avoid pools, hot tubs and Jacuzzis (chlorine and other chemicals can speed the demise of your stain)
Frequent showering, bathing and swimming will all cause the henna to fade more quickly.
Avoid overexposure to soaps and use natural products as much as possible, such as castile soap. These are gentler and less-exfoliating than other products. When using cleaning supplies, use gloves (though the friction of the gloves can also cause some stain demise - it's better to avoid cleaning if possible :) )
Protect the design with a natural oil such as olive or coconut oil each day, as well as prior to bathing.
Don't see the question you are looking for?
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How are you addressing Covid 19?
COVID 19 precautions. Masks, proper hand washing and proper distancing is required during private sessions and small gatherings.Henna sessions and small parties can be booked. Face painting is currently not being booked until it is safer to do so.
What can I expect when I schedule an appointment?
Private henna sessions start at $35 and go up based on time/detail of design. Henna is relaxing and pampering way to express your personal style. I’ll help you find that perfect design. Are you wanting to mark a special moment or transition in your life? I can create a design to symbolize your intentions. Appointments include access to multitude of design choices, aftercare, and one-on-one attention. I use safe 100% natural henna, mixed with lemon juice, sugar and essential oils. *if you have skin sensitivities, please let me know in advance. Please be sure you exfoliate the area in which you will be getting henna. Do NOT use any lotions. Wear clothes that are loose and won't rub into your wet henna design. We are available for private henna sessions or small groups.
What are your henna rates?
Private henna sessions start at $35 and go up based on time/detail of design.
Groups and parties start at $100 an hour. Time needed is based on the number of attendees, amount of henna wanted and event time.