About Henna Safety

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How Henna Works

For purposes of comparison, we liken henna to food.

Let’s imagine that you were to prepare a meal. When the meal is freshly made, you can consume it immediately and reasonably expect that it is at it’s best quality. If you’d like to save the meal for later, you can place it under refrigeration where it will last for a number of days, maintaining its quality. Should you wish to store the dish for an extended period of time, then you can place it in the freezer where it will maintain the same level of quality for a period of months. But you would never leave a meal on the counter for months and then return to it as it would have spoiled. Henna works in just the same way.

As a perishable product, henna must be made fresh in order to stain the skin properly. The naturally-occurring lawsone molecule, which is responsible for producing those beautiful henna stains you know and love, is activated and stains best when freshly prepared and requires freezing to maintain its quality. When left out, the dye molecule expires, resulting in weak stains.

So what about those henna cones found on the shelves of the local health or ethnic store? Henna cones that are mass commercially produced overseas, simply put, are not safe for use.

In the time it takes to prepare the henna, store it in a warehouse, ship it abroad, and stock it on a shelf for purchase, the dye molecule is well beyond expired. In order for these cones to be effective, harsh chemicals, compounds, and solvents are added to either preserve the paste or to provide a synthetic stain. These toxic ingredients can include everything from commercial dyes to turpentine, gasoline, kerosene, and even hair dye - all of which may result in immediate or delayed adverse reactions.

The solution? Always and only choose to work with henna professionals who are well informed about natural henna and who prepare their paste fresh, in house.

Cardamom & Clove Henna is dedicated to the exclusive use of fresh, natural products. Our artisanal paste is handcrafted in small batches each week for your safety and satisfaction. If you have any questions regarding henna safety, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

About “Black Henna”

Please understand that pure natural henna does not ever stain black.

"Black henna" is prepared using a chemical called para-phenylenediamine, or PPD, which is added to the paste to yield a darker stain and increase the lifespan of the design - but it comes with a cost. PPD, which is also the common active ingredient in some black hair dye, is not safe in henna (and has earned itself quite the negative reputation across the beauty industry at large).

The concentration of PPD in "black henna" and its direct application to the skin are a recipe for disaster. Local irritation, scarring, and the sensitization of (and damage to) the internal organs are common side effects of the use of "black henna."

If you would prefer a black stain, be sure to inquire about jagua services.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is henna?

Henna is a shrub whose leaves are dried, powdered, and mixed into a paste for application. We prepare our henna by hand for each event using only fresh, natural ingredients.

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How long does henna typically last?

The paste will dry within minutes, and will need to be removed after a number of hours. The stain revealed below will last between 1.5-2 weeks on average with good aftercare.

Is there anything that I should do to prepare for my appointment?

Yes! For your convenience, when you reserve your appointment, you can opt to receive our "Before Your Appointment Guide” delivered right to your email address.

I removed the henna paste. Why is my design orange?

That's perfect! Bright, pumpkin orange is the color of a baby henna stain! It will darken over the next 48 hours into a rich cherry or mahogany color.

Where can I get my henna done?

The hands and feet are most common locations, but you can choose to get your henna placed elsewhere. Our clients often explore using henna in other areas, to include legs, shoulders, backs, bellies, and beyond. Please note that placing designs on the neck is not recommended as it can easily smudge.