Black henna

I occasionally get people asking me for black henna. In fact, I once got a girl asking me for purple henna. Here’s the truth – henna is never black. If you see black henna, walk the other way.


I DO NOT use black henna. All my henna is 100% pure and natural.
I mix all my henna myself.

“There is no such thing as ‘black henna’. To create black temporary body art, a chemical called PPD (para-phenylenediamine) is used. PPD is a substance which is most commonly found in hair dyes. It can cause allergic reactions, blisters, rashes and sometimes worse, to those who dye their hair with dyes containing PPD. This same harmful substance is then, undiluted, being applied directly on to the skin and called black ‘henna’. This has caused severe allergic reactions, blisters and even life-long scars. People have even died from a severe allergic reaction as a result from using hair dyes containing PPD.”

Black Henna is illegal in Canada and the USA, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find it. Please, if anyone ever offers you black or coloured henna other than true henna’s natural red or brown, turn them down. Always ask about the ingredients of the henna paste before allowing anybody to put it on your skin.

Some Black Henna that my booth babe Kat found in a mall in Newmarket, Ontario in 2013.

Chemicals that have turned up in imported fake henna dyes include: PPD, preservatives, turpentine, camel urine, petrol, ammonia and kerosene, among many others.  Buy your henna paste and powder from a reputable, honest source – this is usually another henna artist. An artist should be able to tell you exactly what is in his or her henna paste.

How will you know if it’s black henna?

  • The paste is black and looks more like paint that paste. Real henna has the consistency of thick yogurt.
  • The paste smells like chemicals. Real henna smells earthy
  • The paste only needs to be left on the skin for a short period of time and stains in about 15 minutes. Real henna needs to stay on the skin for a few hours.
  • The stain is black straight away. Real henna starts off orange, then darkens to brown.
  • The ‘henna artist’ is not able to tell you all the ingredients in the paste and how the paste is mixed.

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