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What is henna?

Henna, also known as Lawsonia Inermis or mignonette, is a heavily scented tree or shrub that may grow up to twenty feet tall. It blooms with small, fragrant, pink white, yellow, or red flowers, and produces blue-black berries. The fragrance of the flowers is sweet with a slightly musky scent. This plant grows best in hot weather where there is little moisture. It is native to the Middle East, North Africa, and the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Only a few countries export their henna while others grow theirs for local commercial use.

The part of the plant most widely used is the leaf, and these are cultivated during the plant’s growing seasons and dried. According to Juliette de Bairacli Levy, “The whole shrub, skin of roots, bark of trunk and branches, and fresh berries yield henna, the alcanna of the Arabs. This herb is extremely penetrative and therefore a very effective and very popular dye.” (Levy; 78) Chemically, henna is known to contain coumarins, naphthoquinones (including lawsone), flavenoids, sterols, and tannins. (Chevalier; 225).
Then once the leaves are dried they are ground up into a very fine powder. Some areas will sift their henna powder by hand to make it extra fine. Once this henna powder is ready, it's made into a paste, which can be used on hair or on skin. It typically dyes the skin and hair an orange to cherry red-brown tone (tone varies on the person's skin, and hair color etc).

This plant grows best in hot weather where there is little moisture. It is native to the Middle East, North Africa, and the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Only a few countries export their henna, while others grow theirs for local commercial use.

What is black henna (body art)?

Black henna is not the same as natural henna. Do not be fooled by its dark stain. Black henna colors the skin jet black.

It contains PPD (para-phenylenediamine) which is a black chemical dye that is used is used to make KEVLAR®, epoxycoatings, including fungicides, corrosion inhibitors, urethane coatings, rubber chemicals, hair dyes and polyurethane.

Please don't ever get this applied onto your skin.

PPD is a toxin that can get into the bloodstream through the skin. It can cause damage to kidneys, liver, skin and possibly even cancer. 

You can read more about it here :

In French:

Is henna painful?

No. For body art henna is placed on the skin in a similar way as if someone was painting on you. The paste is laid down from a small bottle or cone that doesn't have a needle. There is no piercing of the skin, but only the top most layers of your skin is dyed. Henna feels cool to the skin. Professional henna artists usually make their own henna paste by hand. Be sure to ask what the ingredients are before getting henna applied. Natural henna is very safe and allergic reactions are rare.

Here at Henna Sooq we use a henna paste which we make with lavender essential oil for safest and best results. Our recipe is safe for pregnant, nursing mothers, children and the elderly. Should you have any concerns please contact your doctor or midwife.

For hair care henna feels similar to a mud mask treatment for hair, and slightly heavier then chemical dye treatments. It has cooling properties which you will feel on your hair and scalp. Should you have any smell or migraine sensitivities please be sure to add essential oils to your recipe so that the henna or ayurvedic herbs scent doesn't bother you. Take it easy and sit down with a good movie or book. Do not sleep with henna or ayurvedic herbs overnight if this applies to you.

How long does henna last?

This varies depending on many factors such as your skin and body temperature (henna loves warmth), rate of exfoliation, the quality of the henna paste, and how well you cared for your henna. You should leave your fresh henna design on your skin from 3-4 hours, and overnight for best results. Try to avoid water going onto the henna design for at least 24 hours to allow it to oxidize and darken. The henna design usually lasts 1-3 weeks.

On hair, henna is a permanent hair dye and will last as long as it takes to grow out. The average person does do their henna treatment every 4-6 weeks for best color results.

Does henna come in different colors?

Henna does not come in a variety of colors. Pure 100% natural henna powder or paste only dyes in orange/red/brown shades. Any other colors will have other substances added (some of which are very dangerous like PPD, found in black henna) to it. If you have any reactions to henna please contact your physician immediately.

For hair care, some commercial boxes of henna claim henna colors but when you read the ingredients you will find a variety of herbs, blends, additives, chemicals all listed on the box of "henna color". Henna only dyes the hair reddish tones. We recommend for all your henna and ayurvedic needs you use all herbs in their natural state and combine them together to make the best hair treatment for your hair.

Is henna safe to use on hair?

Yes, henna is very safe for hair, and in fact it's the natural alternative to chemical dyes. Henna conditions your hair, strengthens, thickens, add shine, and gives it a great color coverage. The color your hair will get depends on your hair tone. You'll get orange to reddish tones. You can get varying tones using other ayurvedic herbs in addition to your henna powder.

Henna that is pure and body art quality are safe for chemically treated hair. Please use our henna powders for best results.

Is henna safe for chemically treated hair?

Yes it is safe when you use pure henna and ayurvedic herbs such as what Henna Sooq carries

Is henna safe for pregnant women?

Yes, both henna body art and henna for hair are safe for pregnant women. You can also check with your midwife/doctor to be certain that they allow it. Henna and ayurvedic herbs is the perfect alternative for pregnant women to use to dye their hair since chemicals should be avoided during pregnancy, and afterwards.

What is dye release?

Dye release is the term used to describe the amount of time needed for henna and ayurvedic herbs to achieve color release. Color release means that your henna and/or ayurvedic herb is ready to use, and the color is ready to apply. This is applicable for both body art and hair care. Every henna, and ayurvedic herb has an allotted amount of time it needs to release it's color before it's ready to use. Please follow our guidelines below:


  • Moroccan Henna: 1-2 hours for hair use, and 6-8 hours for body art use
  • Yemeni Henna: 3-4 hours for hair use, and 10-12 hours for body art use
  • Organic Rajasthani Indian Henna: 3-4 hours for hair use, and 10-12 hours for body art use
  •  Jamila Henna: 10-12 hours for hair use, and 24 hours for body art use
  • Indigo: 15-30 minutes
  • Cassia Obovata: 3-4 hours for hair use
Where should I get my henna supplies?

A good place is right here at Henna Sooq. We carry premium quality henna powders that are 100% natural, fresh, and finely sifted.

We do not recommend that you buy from your local Indian or Middle Eastern markets as you do not know how long the henna powder has been on the shelf. Cones with pre-made henna paste are also not a good purchase as you also do not know how long it has been on the shelf and it most likely has unnatural ingredients to make it last longer. Being out on the shelf for too long dimishes the quality of henna, and therefore when using these henna products your stains won't usually be very dark or long lasting.

How do I store my henna supplies?

Henna powder and ayurvedic herbs should be kept in the freezer, fridge, or cool dark place to ensure freshness and to preserve its dyeing properties.

Fresh Henna Paste is a perishable product, and must be kept frozen when not in use. It can last from 4-6 months in the freezer.

Essential oils are affected by light (sunlight) and temperature, and it is recommended that all essential oils be kept in tightly closed amber glass bottles, and in your refrigerator.

Natural hair care products can be stored in a cool, dark place such as hair oils, and shampoo bars.

All of your other henna supplies can be stored in a small case, or any other convenient place.

Where can I learn more?

You can take one of our workshops and learn more about henna body art & natural hair care.

Find out more: Our Workshops

Ask your library, school, store, or salon to have us teach a class on henna body art or natural hair care.

Where can I get henna services?

Book with us! We will be more then happy to schedule an appointment for you. We also offer free consultations for your bridal henna. Henna fundraisers are also a great way to raise money for your organization. Contact us

Where can I get more information?

Once again, please contact us if you have any more questions or comments, and we will be more then happy to assist you in any way we can. To reach us please email us at or call 416-302-6163.