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How Do I Choose the Best Henna Makeup?

By Megan Shoop
Updated May 21, 2024
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Henna makeup comes in a variety of styles, colors, and mixtures. Choosing the best one for your purposes can be difficult, but narrowing down your options can make things much easier. The steps to picking the right henna makeup usually include knowing how you want to use it, what color henna you want, and what kinds of additives are in each kind. Going through these steps may narrow your search for henna makeup and help you zero in on the perfect kind for your purposes.

The first step to choosing henna makeup is typically considering how you want to use it. It can be used to apply temporary tattoos, dye your hair, and stain your fingernails. You can even use henna makeup as semi-permanent eyeliner.

Powder mixes for skin and fingernails come in two basic forms: pure henna and colored henna. Colored henna comes in every color, from red and pink to blue and green. This kind of henna may work well as colorful eyeliner or for creating intricate and colorful temporary tattoos. You will probably need a variety of colored powders to create pictures and designs. For traditional tattoos and deep, dramatic eyeliner, pure henna powder usually works best.

If choosing henna for hair, you must decide what color you want your hair to be. For black, you should typically choose green henna powder and “black henna” or indigo powder. Coloring hair with indigo over a layer of henna results in raven black hair, while mixing the two in equal parts yields chestnut brown. Henna by itself, or mixed with cassia powder, generally creates bright red locks. Amla powder mixed with henna yields a brunette color, and may help your hair grow in thicker.

Reading the labels on your henna products is an important step in choosing henna makeup. Colored henna usually contains artificial colors, but body-art-quality henna powder should contain nothing but powdered henna. There should be no dyes, sand, additives, or preservatives listed on the label. If this is the case, you may want to look for a more pure powder. Makeup with such additives don’t usually stain as deeply or last as long as pure henna. Some preservatives may also irritate skin or dry out your hair.

The last choice you must make when choosing henna makeup includes picking a source. Jamila and Yemeni henna powders come from Pakistan and Yemen, respectively, and take up to 12 hours to release their dyes, once mixed. Moroccan and Indian henna only require up to three hours of release time. If you have the time to wait, the longer release times usually ensure darker henna stains. The other two kinds of powder still yield dark stains, but they may not last as long.

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Discussion Comments
By stoneMason — On Sep 29, 2014

@fify-- There is an organic brand that I know of that makes henna makeup and it's completely natural. I believe they use other herbs and roots to get the variation in colors and shades. But you are right, it's a good idea to do some research before investing in henna makeup.

By fify — On Sep 28, 2014

Those who are interested in henna makeup thinking it to be more natural than other types of makeup should think again. Most cosmetics that contain henna, henna oil or extract, also contain artificial dyes and chemicals.

Natural henna is a plant with green leaves that are turned into a green powder. It is then mixed with water to make a paste and applied on skin and hair. It's absolutely natural but there aren't many options in terms of color. Henna always creates a red dye on skin and hair. Depending on how long it is left on, it can range from a light orange color to a very dark red.

Henna makeup, however, comes in many shades, including brown and black. Obviously, there are other dyes used in addition to the henna.

By SarahGen — On Sep 27, 2014

My sister got henna eyebrow tattoo done recently. She was tired of filling in her eyebrows every morning. Henna is not permanent, so she felt that it would be a better option than permanent makeup.

The only issue is that her eyebrows turned out darker than she had expected. They had different shades and she could have picked a lighter shade but the artist didn't help her too much.

So anyone planning to have henna eyebrows done should think about the shade. When in doubt, go with the lighter shade. The good part about henna is that it fades after three weeks. But it's still better to avoid embarrassment.

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