It's unfortunate to say that the dangers and consequences of black henna is not widely known. I'm still constantly requested to use black henna and people have little to no idea the truly harmful effects of it.
You might be amongst the lucky ones to not have had black henna negatively affect you, but trust me if it did, you'll be truly regret it.
Black henna can be damaging to your skin, your internal organs and your overall health.
(LEFT) What black henna can do to you (RIGHT) what a natural henna stain looks like
This is seriously no joke. And if you're a henna artist who's still using black henna on clients, claiming that you've never had complaints, do you really want to wait around for one? Not only are you putting your clients at risk, but your reputation can be deeply impacted as well - with very good reason.
So how is black henna any different from natural henna? I'm glad you asked! Black henna contains a chemical called para-phenylendiamine (or PPD in short). This is essentially a synthetic tar that can have long lasting damages to your skin.
Natural organic henna is green in powder and reddish brown in application. Fortunately, it's easy to distinguish black henna from natural henna.
So how can we distinguish it? Here are your hints:
Black henna cones like golecha and kaveri will be mass produced whereas natural henna cones are individually made by a henna artist. So you can imagine the amount of work and effort that's put into it.
Another tell tell is that natural henna usually has a pleasing scent which is a result from the essential oil that was added. It either smells like tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, (insert common essential oil here). Black henna cones either have no smell or an unpleasant one at that.
Natural henna always needs to be stored in the freezer when it's not in use to avoid spoilage. Black henna usually rests on warm shelves. Think of it this way. If you wanted a fresh meal, are you likely to eat one that was refrigerated OR a meal that was sitting on a shelf all day?
If you come across an artist who is unable to list each and every single ingredient in their henna paste, this is a TRUE cause of alarm. Some henna artists purchase natural henna cones from other artists and that's totally fine. I know I used to do that when I first started out. But even then, I knew exactly each and every component that was in the henna paste I'm using.
A black henna stain is almost instant whereas a natural henna stain can take 1 - 3 days. I admit, having to wait that long for your natural henna stain to mature can be a bummer, but I'll take that over an instant stain if it's not putting my health at risk.
I know what you're thinking. If black henna is so unsafe, then why are artists still using it? It's because it's constantly being demanded. People actively request black henna because they don't know the dangers of it. But as henna artists, we're 100% accountable to educate ourselves about these things. Black henna is also cheaper, more accessible and instant in its stain progression.
But there's a VERY good reason why natural henna is priced the way it is. It's individually made and packed by henna artists. It requires a GREAT deal of effort, time and even research.
Natural henna is truly TOP quality and you should never cut corners when it comes to quality.
I know that my official henna supplier Stain Henna Art has dedicated an entire year to perfecting her henna recipe and sourcing the best henna powder manufacturers. That's why her cones are priced the way they are as opposed to the cheap garbage black henna cones. You can't put a price on safety! Especially if it's expensed at your own health.
So in conclusion, always say NO to black henna. Yes, the stain might be darker, but is it really worth putting your health at risk? I think not :)