Henna ink is derived from plant molecules that naturally bond with proteins found in skin and hair. The dye is characterized by a red tint and will last for 3 to 7 days. Henna, in various forms, is used on the arms, hands, legs, feet and hair.
Henna On Eyes
Traditional henna paste that has been made of ground plant leaves mixed with a liquid to form a paste creates a red tinted dye that is safe to use on appendages. However, henna paste can be dangerous if accidentally put into the eye and should not be applied near the eyes.
Black Henna Warnings
It is especially important to avoid "black henna," which could be mistaken as a suitable eyeliner substitute. "Black henna" has been mixed with chemicals often found in hair dye that force the color to adhere to the skin quickly. These chemicals can be a dangerous skin irritant and should always be avoided.
Black Henna Kits
Some companies use low quantities of chemicals to mix "black henna" and legally market it as an alternative to permanent tattoos. Be sure to read all labels carefully before purchasing a product like this, and do not put it anywhere on the face. Henna that has been mixed with indigo can be a safer alternative to "black henna."
In recent years, cosmetic companies have started to create makeup with natural, plant derived henna color as the foundation. These eye shadows, eye liners and other products can be a safe and less sloppy alternative to applying henna paste to the body, as the makeup comes in easily controlled containers, such as pencils and liquid liners.
Permanent Henna Makeup
Another option for using henna as a cosmetic product is permanent henna makeup. This product is really a tattoo and is applied with small needles. The ink is comprised primarily of henna leaf molecules. The tattoo can last for years before it begins to fade, and if applied by a licensed artist, can be a safe and lasting method to utilize the natural properties of henna as a cosmetic.