Dancing Armadillos uses only natural brown henna that we mix ourselves. All that is added to the henna is lemon juice, essential oils and sugar.
We will only use products that are safe and all natural!
Here is a sneak peek into some basics about the the henna plant and some information on black, white, and pre-mixed "henna".
At the end there is also a guide of simple things to ask you artist to make sure you are getting the safest and best experience possible.
What is henna?
Pictures from the henna mixing process
Henna is a desert plant that is typically found in semi-arid climates.
The leaves of the henna plant contain the molecule Lawsone. When this molecule binds with Keratin (found in our skin, and most strongly in our hands and feet) it can oxidize into a beautiful orange or brown stain (1). There are many factors that play into how dark your henna tattoo will stain, but the level of Keratin in your skin is one of them.
We receive our henna as a powder (pure ground up henna leaves) and we mix it into a paste. Recipes very a little, but at Dancing Armadillos we mix our henna powder with lemon juice, pure essential oils, and sugar. Because we use only natural ingredients, the henna is perishable and must be kept in the freezer until used. Even in the freezer it has a shelf life, so we are often busy mixing new fresh henna for our events!
If you see henna that is not perishable and can be left out, it has nasty chemicals and may not even contain the actual henna plant. More information on fake henna is below.
(1) Cartwright-Jones , C. (n.d.). The Molecular Sequence of Henna Dye Release. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from http://www.hennapage.com/henna/encyclopedia/dye-release.pdf
Black henna? White henna? Pre- mixed henna? Help!
Henna is always beautifully brown.
However some people try to sell products that they call "henna" that have nasty chemicals in it which makes it stain black. NEVER GET BLACK "HENNA". Many people have allergic reactions to the chemicals and it can leave serious chemical burns unlike natural henna, which can even be good for the skin. In fact Black "henna" is specifically not covered under most artist's insurance. One of the main ingredients in black "henna" is PPD, a chemical found in some hair dye. We won't add any images of people who were burned by this unfortunate product, but feel free to google image it to learn why we feel so strongly about it.
White "Henna" is a slightly different story
Again, actual henna is always brown. There is a product out there that is labeled as white henna. This is safe, however it is not actually henna. Think of it more as a glitter tattoo or eyelash glue with pigment. It is a medical grade adhesive with pigment that sits on top of the skin. It is NOT a bleaching agent. It does not change the skin pigment at all. (if the artist has any color of "henna" that they claim stain your skin anything besides orangish/brown stay away) Again, it is similar to waterproof make up. It lasts for several days depending on placement. You may also see this product labeled as Henna Glam, or White Body art.
This is a product that Dancing Armadillos offers by request at private events or for personal appointments, but the cost per hour is a little more. At this point we do not offer white body art at public events.
Pre-mixed henna cones.
This is another unfortunate product that not only exists, but is easy to find and order anywhere. An example of a package of pre-mixed, factory made henna is provided. These henna cones are usually left sitting out, and do not expire, because there is little to no actual henna in them. Even though it might stain brown and not black, that does not make it safe. Natural henna is a product made with plant material. It will go bad unless kept in the freezer.
You can buy safe henna cones from a local artist, and they can even be ordered online in state!
Most artists that sell natural henna cones only ship fairly locally because the product is perishable. They might come in a customized box and have a logo sticker on it, but they should never look like the picture provided. Also a local artist that is selling cones can tell you exactly what is in the henna you are ordering.
A simple guide to make sure you are getting safe henna:
Whew. That was a lot of information and a little peek into some of the unfortunate confusion around what should be a fun, safe and beautiful body art experience. Here is a simple list of questions you can ask a potential artist to make sure that the henna they use is safe and natural.
Do you mix your own henna?
Can you tell me what is in your henna?
If you see they are selling black henna, don't get any type of body art from them.