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