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Risky Business of Henna – All You Need to Know About Black and Brown Henna

We often find people debating about black and brown henna. Some argue that both are the same and there is no difference at all while others disregard black henna altogether. In this article, I am going to tell you my opinion, the difference between the two, and is there any natural alternative to the conventional black henna sold in the market.

The Worst of All Trades

For starters, there is no such thing as black henna (don’t freak out, I am going to explain myself). Henna is derived from a henna plant that gives off a reddish-brown color. Anyone who claims that they have derived black henna directly from the henna plant is lying to you. 

Now, there are natural black henna products available in the market which are a mix of indigo and henna powder but they are very hard to find. The worst type of black henna you find in the market is in the form of premade cones that are loaded with chemicals, preservatives, and artificial dyes.

We all know that natural henna is a perishable product. It will go bad within 3 days if you make it yourself with organic henna hair color. There is a reason why premade henna cones last months. However, they can cause extreme allergic reactions such as swollen hands, skin peeling, and itching.

Now, it doesn’t mean that you cannot have access to save black-ish henna that is natural. But is extremely hard to find, especially in the form of cones. The best way to go about is by mixing indigo powder and henna powder in the right proportions and them converting into cones.

Natural Henna vs Black Henna Hair Dye

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Natural Henna – An organic henna plant is derived from a plant called Lawsonia Inermis. It contains no artificial dyes, preservatives, chemicals, and harmful ingredients. It can be used both as a hair dye as well as for creating henna tattoos on your hand.

Black Chemical Henna – Black henna for hair will give you a jet black color but most of the time it is filled with metallic dyes and PPDs which defeats the purpose of using henna instead of a chemical dye on your hair. I have already mentioned the disaster of using premade henna cones above. I do not recommend going for a chemical-based option under any cost.

Black Natural Henna – Contrary to popular belief, there are natural options available for black henna. One of my personal favorites is Black Henna Hair Dye from ‘The Henna Guys’. It gives off a jet black color and is made from only two ingredients; henna and indigo powder. This henna is completely safe to use.

Difference between Brown Henna Hair Dye and Natural Black Henna Hair Dye

  • The main difference between the two is the color and the formulation.
  • Natural Henna will give you a reddish-brown tint to your hair while natural black henna will give you a get black look. Natural henna is made up of the Lawsonia Inermis plant while natural black henna is a combination of Indigofera and Lawsonia Inermis.
  • Both can be used as a hair dye as well as for creating semi-permanent tattoos.
  • Both have a natural, earthy scent.
  • Natural henna will have a more greenish color while natural black henna will have a brown color due to the presence of indigo powder.

Difference between Natural Henna Dye and Chemical Black Henna

  • For starters, there is a pretty obvious color difference.
  • The next thing is that black henna is loaded with metallic dyes, chemicals, PPDs, and salts while henna is simply made up of henna powder. Natural henna takes a long time to develop while a chemical based henna will give you instant results.
  • Natural henna will never irritate your skin but black henna can cause itching, irritation, and even swelling in some cases.
  • Natural henna will go stale in a few days after making it while black henna will last ages similar to chemical dyes.
  • Natural henna works as a natural hair conditioner while black henna can damage your hair instead of nourishing it.
  • Natural henna has a very pleasant natural and earthy smell while black henna will simply smell of chemicals or hair dyes.
  • Natural henna will have a greenish-brown color when you prepare it with water while black henna will turn into a black paste.

How can I Tell Apart Fake Henna from Natural Henna?

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So, now that you understand that there is a lot of varieties available in henna. Not all brands list the right ingredients on the packaging and laws in most countries are not very strict about it. 

Hence, it is quite hard to tell the natural ones apart from the chemical ones. I am going to list a few pointers that will help you make the right choice. Without further ado, let’s get doing:

  • Scent of Henna

Always check the product before purchasing it. Natural henna will not smell like chemicals. It should have a natural, leafy and earthy scent. Stay clear of anything which smells of hair dyes, petrol, or chemicals even though it is labeled natural.

  • Looks do Matter Even in the Case of Henna

Natural henna paste will be greenish-brown in color when you first make it. It will turn dark brown as it dries. Once the henna dries, it will become a darker brown once it dries completely on your hands or hair. On the other hand, an unnatural black henna paste will be getting dark grey to black depending on the amount of artificial colors used.

  • How Quickly the Color Develops?

If any henna powder or cone claims that you can keep the henna on for 1 minute to an hour and get the most saturated color possible, the product is unnatural. With natural henna, you’ll need to keep it on your hair or hands for at least 4 hours before washing it off.

  • Storage Factor

If you are using natural henna, it will go bad in 3 days. If it is an unnatural one, you can store it for weeks and months depending on the brand. This is one thing that can easily tell apart the natural and unnatural ones.

My Recommendation

There are a lot of henna brands out there in the market. However, there are very few ones that use natural ingredients while giving you a wide color range. One of my favorite henna brands is ‘The Henna Guys’. Their extensive color range includes: black, dark brown, medium brown, natural red, deep red, burgundy, light brown, auburn, orange-red, wine red, and mahogany. Such an extensive color range is even hard to find in conventional hair color brands. Let alone henna dyes.

Along with these premade colored options, they give you the option of buying henna powder and indigo powder separately which allows you to create a perfect shade for yourself. Their products are completely free from chemicals, PPDS, and metallic salts. Moreover, they are a vegan and cruelty-free brand which is extremely affordable as well. That is why it makes to the top of my favorites list. I cannot recommend it enough!

What is your favorite natural henna brand? I am a henna junkie and would love to expand my choices based on your recommendations. Comment your favorite ones below. 

Risky Business of Henna – All You Need to Know About Black and Brown Henna was last modified: by