Black Henna

It is important that people realise that Henna should never be black! so called ‘black henna tattoos’/PPD (Para-phenylenediamine) has had justifiably bad press due to it being extremely harmful. Black henna can burn your skin and cause permanent scars or much worse in very sever cases. It really isn’t worth the risk. Also these days there are safe alternatives out there such as Jagua gel (see our henna alsternatives page for more information).

How To Spot PPD When It Is Blatantly Being Mis-Sold As A Safe Body Art Service Or Product

Stay Away From Products That:

1. Claim to be ‘Black Henna’

2. Have henna powder + coal tar dyes listed as part of their ingredients.

3. Have henna powder + metallic salts listed as part of their ingredients.

4. Have any of the names of PPD, as described above, in their ingredient listing.

5. Claim to be ‘Black Henna ’ and have no ingredients listed

6. Advise you to possibly seek medical attention, steroid creme etc… in the ‘rare’ case of an allergic reaction.

7. Contain a greyish – purple coloured powder that you need to mix with water.

8. Advise you to mix with plastic/wooden utensils, avoiding contact with metals.

Stay Away From Any Service Offered Where:

1. The artist claims to be applying ‘Black Henna tattoos ’

2. The artist advises against working on children.

3. The artist advises you that in very ‘rare’ circumstances some people ‘may’ be allergic to the product… and ‘may’ need steroid crème from the doctor/pharmacist

4. You can see the colour on the skin underneath the paste is turning black before your eyes

5. You can see the artist mixing greyish-purple powder with water and then putting it into an application cone or bottle

6. Be extra cautious when the artist is a street vendor in a tourist resort – most skin reactions take place 10-14 days after initial application. So usually the uninformed tourist is already on their way home before the itching starts, hence the irresponsible vendor never has any come back and continues to injure & scar countless more tourists, making money at their physical expense.

7. Don’t assume either, that just because an artist is working from a reputable department store, hair salon or beauty salon that their products are safe. A lot of stores operate concessions, and a lot of irresponsible artists have been known to use PPD in these stores. Always check the product out that they are using. Any reputable Temporary Body Artist will show you their product ingredient listing, and will also confirm that……. There Is No Such Thing As Black Henna!


black henna scar
Black Henna PPD (above)
Natural Brown Safe Henna (below)

Henna paste being applied