The Dangers of BLACK Henna

This is a public service announcement to all of my friends, family, and followers. It is very important that you educate yourself about Henna.

This poor sweet beautiful little girl is suffering from the after-effects of BLACK HENNA. BLACK henna is not real henna.

So you might be asking yourself, "Well then what IS henna?" Great question. Henna is a plant. To make henna paste, the leaves of the plant are removed and dried. Then they are ground into a powder. This is then activated with lemon juice and essential oils to create a big bowl of paste. The paste is then put into cones made of cellophane, or into a squeeze bottle with a very fine-tipped nozzle. The henna paste is then put into a refrigerator where it is good for approximately 3 days. OR it can be put into a freezer, in which case it is good for about 3 days after it has been thawed. This paste is then squeezed out of the applicator onto the skin, and it smells amazing. It smells like something earthy and therapeutic, so exotic and all-natural. I LOVE the smell of real henna paste. It's positively dreamy. It goes onto the skin looking like a sort of greenish-brown color. And then once it has been on the skin for a few hours and the crusty part comes off, your skin will look like a golden-orange color beneath where the henna paste once was. The next day much of those areas will have turned from a light golden orange to a deeper reddish-brown color. The color is darkest on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, but regardless of where you put it, the color intensifies over a few hours until it's as dark as it is going to get. Then it begins to lighten up until it is all gone, and that takes a good week and a half or so, depending on the amount of oils in each individual's skin.

So what is BLACK henna? Well remember when I mentioned that henna paste is only good when it has been kept in a fridge for approximately 3 days after it has been made? Unless it's in a freezer? You might be wondering what happens if it isn't stored in a cool dark place like a fridge or a freezer. Simple. It spoils. Once it spoils, it doesn't work. It doesn't stain. So what do some incredibly dishonest people do to FORCE it to stain? They add chemicals. Very DANGEROUS chemicals. Usually black hair dye. This is why you should never buy henna cones that you find in the states in Indian supermarkets, (they say they come from India, but they aren't kept cold, and took longer than 3 days to get here and get sold... so... chemicals). Also, to be perfectly frank, organic henna is expensive. Hair dye is CHEAP. A dishonest artists can lie and tell you it's real henna, while really covering your skin with black hair dye from a dollar store. Think of the profits they make! All of these reasons are precisely why you should be incredibly wary of getting henna tattoos at tourist resorts.

Why tourist resorts? The answer is simple. Many tourists aren't educated about henna. They get the black henna, not knowing it is dangerous. They don't know that the awful chemical smell is a red flag that something terrible is happening to their skin. They don't know that it shouldn't look black, and shouldn't smell bad. they don't know that when the crusty paste wears off, it should look light orange underneath at first, before the color deepens over time... and not look like a black design from the get-go. And by the time the blisters start to form, and they are having a severe chemical burn as a reaction, it is too late. The crew who applied the henna are long gone, having moved on to the next tourist trap. THAT, or the tourist is already home. This is how these henna "artists" (really CON-ARTISTS) make their money. By preying on innocent tourists who were only looking for a nice time.

So before you get a henna tattoo, ask the artist "is this organic henna?". They might lie and say yes, but if they are excited to prove to you that it is, that's always good news. Does the henna smell good? Does it smell earthy and natural, or does it smell like chemicals? Does your nose burn a bit when you take a whiff? Does it look dark brown or dark green? Or does it look black? Does it itch or burn on your skin? Or does it feel cooling and nice? When the crusty part of the paste comes off, is your skin stained an orange-yellow underneath? Or is it already black?

Should you get a chemical burn from black henna, go to the doctor right away. This is a medical emergency. And make sure that you never dye your hair ever again. The reaction has created an extreme sensitivity in your system that will make you allergic to hair dye for the rest of your life.

There are PLENTY of safe options for henna out there. SO many WONDERFUL henna artists who PRIDE themselves on using NATURAL ORGANIC REAL henna. A real henna artist is always DISGUSTED and ANGRY about the very existence of black henna. I know TONS of real henna artists who are absolutely SPECTACULAR! THIS is who you want to hire.

We only use organic henna (you should peek into my freezer!) and the henna artists I meet at conventions proudly do too. Ask questions. If in doubt, don't get it done. It's as simple as that. The after-effects of black henna will last a lifetime.

To read the entire story and see all of the photos so you can educate yourself further on what black henna looks like when it is applied, and when it first starts to stain and react, please ready the full article HERE. 

My heart sincerely goes out to this beautiful little girl and her family. Lots of get well hugs and healing vibes to you, dear Madison. <3 We are pulling for you and hope you feel better soon! :( <3 (((((((GENTLE HUGS)))))))))

Guess who is the new face of face painting for / / Family Fun? THIS girl! That's right, America! You can now watch me as I show off my tricks of the trade from the studios at Parents Magazine! 

Only a couple of videos have aired so far, but we taped several so far. They will be released over time. And new ones will be taped soon! 

For those of you who are curious to know, I purchase my face painting supplies from my favorite store on the planet, Silly Farm Supplies in Davie Florida. My favorite brand of face and body paint is FAB. If you would like more in depth classes on face painting, I encourage you to subscribe to FABA TV! I started out by learning from FABA TV, and now I am one of their many talented instructors from all over the world who teach you from the comfort of your own home. So subscribe to FABA TV today! 

I am so honored to join the family, and huge thanks to my producer Dan and executive producer Annie for this incredible opportunity! 

See me paint a butterfly here!
See me paint a princess here! 
More to come! 

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Fit Pregnancy

Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE to paint baby bellies! It's one of my favorite things to do. I've painted bellies all over NYC, including on The Today Show with Spanx CEO Sara Blakely for The Belly Art Project and Every Mother Counts, on FABA TV (Face & Body Art Television), and now I travel teaching the art of belly painting at various body painting conventions all over the country. It is a beautiful art form that transforms the ordinary maternity photoshoot into something extraordinary! 

So imagine my delight when I was contacted by Fit Pregnancy to run a story about me and my belly paintings. The article, entitled "6 Decorated Baby Bumps You Should See" was such a hit, that they then asked me if I would consider painting bellies live on air for their FB page. WOW! I get to go into their studios and do live belly demos for one hour at a time, in celebration of various holidays. So far, I have painted a Halloween belly, a Christmas/Hanukkah belly, a Valentine's Day belly, a St. Patrick's Day belly, and an Easter belly. You can view past episodes as well as any upcoming ones by simply liking the Fit Pregnancy FB page, and tuning in when I go live. I'll let you know via my FB page, my Instagram page, Twitter page, and this blog when upcoming episodes will be.  Its such an exciting process, and I have fallen madly in love with my Fit Pregnancy family!

You Only Die Once: THE SERIES (Season One)

I was the lead make-up artist for the purposefully campy, cheesy, delightfully good fun comedy/horror series "You Only Die Once". It is a continuation of the original short film, "You Only Die Once", which I was also the makeup artist for. Assisted by my great friend and fellow makeup artist Jessica Mellow, we made a frightfully good team! 

Watch Series One on YouTube, if you dare! ;) 

The Oz Project

Performing my makeup magic on Tony nominee Joshua Henry, our beloved cowardly lion from The Wiz.&nbsp;

Performing my makeup magic on Tony nominee Joshua Henry, our beloved cowardly lion from The Wiz. 

When director Sean Barrett emailed me at the recommendation of Broadway actress and mutual friend Pamela Bob (A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder and Hand to God), he introduced himself and told me that he wanted me to come on board for a very special project. Sean asked if he and Pamela could meet me at Gossip Coffee in Astoria (our favorite local coffee-spot), to tell me more. A big fan of all things Broadway, how could I possibly say no? 

So on June 2nd, 2016, I walked into Gossip, said hi to all of my favorite baristas, and grabbed us a table where we could talk. Sean Barrett walked in first, and it was a thrill to meet him in person. Then Pamela walked in, and after excited hugs and orders of coffee and donuts, we finally sat down to hear what this project was all about. Just before he began, I turned to Sean and said "I am getting goosebumps! Like something big is about to happen!" He grinned at me and said "Oh Honey... HUGE. Something HUGE is about to happen. TRUST ME." Pamela said "We should get a picture of this moment!" And so we did. :) 

Left to right: Director Sean Barrett, Broadway actress Pamela Bob, and face and body painter Lenore Koppelman.&nbsp;

Left to right: Director Sean Barrett, Broadway actress Pamela Bob, and face and body painter Lenore Koppelman. 

By the time we ordered our second round of tasty caffeinated goodness, we were squealing with excitement over Sean's idea: To take the story of The Wizard of Oz, unite it with the story of The Wiz, and to create a music video mash-up of both musicals. Brought to life by an all-Broadway star cast. All in time for the anniversary of The Wizard of Oz! 

Our star-studded cast of Broadway favorites includes Kate Rockwell and Brynn Williams as Dorothy, Henry and Ben Jacoby as the Lion, McClure and James T. Lane as the Scarecrow, Grasan Kingsberry and Ryan VanDenBoom as the Tin Man, Nancy Opel and Jennie Harney as Glinda, Liz Larsen as the Wicked Witch of the West, Mykal Kilgore as Evillene and Patrice Covington as Addaperle with Andrew Keenan-BolgerNatalie Joy Johnson, Ashlee Dupre, Alan Wiggins, Julia Knitel, Marty Thomas, Louis Jones and Gabrielle Reed.

Our crew was equally as talented! Here I am with the rest of "The Four Musketeers", my hair and makeup family on set. We became like family! 

From Left to Right:&nbsp; Rachel Estabrook (beauty makeup for The Oz Project) Ish Peralta and Lenore Koppelman (SFX makeup for The Oz Project) Marty Thomas (hair artist for The Oz Project)

From Left to Right: 
Rachel Estabrook (beauty makeup for The Oz Project)
Ish Peralta and Lenore Koppelman (SFX makeup for The Oz Project)
Marty Thomas (hair artist for The Oz Project)

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Feel free to browse through the galleries for The Oz Project by scrolling on through! Simply click on the arrows to experience the magic for yourself. 

You Only Die Once

I had a crazy amount of fun doing makeup for this short film. You Only Die Once (#YODO) is a horror/comedy about a trio of vampire-killing girls who are out for blood. Literally. 

I began my shopping spree at Alcone in Times Square, where my great friend Jacob Hyzer was eagerly awaiting to hear what my latest project was all about. "Ooooh... you're going to need BLOOD! And SLIME! Mix them together to make bloody slime!" He began grabbing things off of the shelves eagerly for me. A Skin Illustrator palette for the veins. Jars of 3rd Degree for bite marks and the like. Little plastic pellets to melt into fangs. It was a really fun shopping experience. 

The cast was phenomenal. All amazing actors and comics and writers and the like, they kept me thoroughly entertained at all times. As if the script itself wasn't hilarious enough, the cast and crew were equally fun to work with. Amanda Goodman blew us all away by writing, directing, producing, and starring in this gem of a short. You may recognize her from her hilarious role as a flight attendant in this season's Broad City episode "Getting There" (Season 3, Episode 9). Lyssa Mandel and Philip Casale of the tremendously popular podcast "The Bitch Seat" also star in the film, as well as the extremely talented Teegan Leah CuritzJohn DeSilvestriJen KeefeJanet Kim, and Lianna Nielsen

For a silly good time, you can watch YODO here: 

Here are some fun behind-the-scenes photos for you to enjoy. And stay tuned for more episodes! Thanks to YODO's popularity, Amanda B. Goodman has decided to turn it into a web series! So you haven't seen the last of these sexy vampire hunters yet! 

White Privilege Frankenstein

I had the immense privilege of being hired to do the makeup for this incredible, funny, and thought-provoking short film. White Privilege Frankenstein really makes you take pause, and think. It only took one full day to shoot, but I truly believe that the way it will affect people will last a lifetime. 

Here is a link to the film for you to enjoy and hopefully share with your friends. 

 Here are some fun behind-the-scenes photos of the cast and crew, as well as photos of us winning first place at one of the many film awards this film has kicked absolute ass in! WOOT WOOOOOT!!!! Feel free to click on the arrows to move through the slideshow. It's a fun one!

Many thanks to writer and producer Chris Carfizzi for finding my website and deciding to hire me for this honor in the first place. I had such a blast with this incredible cast and crew! I have fallen madly in love with them all, and feel so lucky and blessed to forever be a member of the White Privilege Frankenstein family.