How to Plan For Your Vacation Henna

Vacation Henna

Costa Rica.
Puerto Rico.
…and more.

Over the past week, I’ve had the pleasure of serving women with envy-worthy travel plans, and frankly, I’m thrilled to know that so many of you are out here living your best life!

What makes me even more happy is the fact that you’re planning ahead and choosing to get your henna done before boarding that flight or ship (or both!) for vacation.

It is not lost on me that many of the popular vacation destinations provide access to a great number of “henna artists” who are more than willing to serve tourists from far and wide, so it brings me great satisfaction to know that my clients are not only informed about the risks regarding getting their henna done in these tourist traps - they’re planning their henna around their itinerary.

“What’s so risky?,” you ask.
Pull up a beach chair. Let’s chat.



Let’s back it up for a second and cover what henna is and how it works, alright? Henna is a plant whose leaves produce a naturally-occurring dye molecule which can be used to stain the skin and color the hair. Once a design is applied to the skin, the dye molecule bonds to the keratin in the skin which ultimately yields a stain.

…but here’s the thing:

The stain produced by natural henna starts off as a bright, pumpkin orange and requires time to mature into a rich, dark stain. This process of maturation is only possible through oxidization which takes place over a period of 48-72 hours. And guess what adversely affects the slow and steady oxidization of a henna stain Prolonged exposure to water.

Inquiring minds want to know why, then, would henna be popular on the boardwalks and beaches of tourist traps around the world - and the answer is simple: enter here, “black henna.”

“Black henna” is a paste which is prepared with an extra ingredient, p-phenylenediamine (also called PPD for short), which serves as the active ingredient in some boxed hair dyes. PPD darkens through rapid oxidization - turning jet black upon contact with air - and staining the skin immediately in the process.

For beachfront vendors, offering “black henna” is an easy way to reap the profits of the much sought after vacation henna designs without encountering the issue of clients and customers returning after not staining well. In short, it’s cheap, it’s easy, it stains quickly, and they’re able to quickly take advantage of the demand for henna without having to spend time explaining the importance of aftercare to their guests.

So what does this all mean to you?

Sadly, there are many horror stories regarding vacationers experiencing severe adverse reactions to the “black henna” found in tourist areas, but this can be avoided. If you’re headed on vacation, it’s best for you to schedule your henna session with a local trusted henna professional rather than hoping to find natural henna beachside. Ideally, it’s advisable to get your henna done a day or two before your departure. This way, your henna will have had the opportunity to mature into a beautiful, rich stain before you are ready to hit the sand and waves. Not only will your stains be strikingly dark by the time you’re ready to flaunt them, but mature stains can also sustain exposure to salt water as long as the skin is well protected with a rich balm such as beeswax or raw shea butter.

Bottom line:
Skip the boardwalk henna.
Visit a henna professional before your trip.
Schedule your appointment for a few days before you leave.
Enjoy your trip with gorgeous henna - without the risks.

xo, Chelsea

P.S. When you’re ready to take me on your vacation, know that I’m ready with plenty of safe, natural henna. 😉