How Does Henna Work ?
The henna plant produces a dye called lawsone that is found in the leaves of the plant. The leaves are harvested, dried, and ground into a fine powder. The powder is mixed with a slightly-acidic liquid (lemon juice, tea, coffee ... there are as many recipes as there are henna artists!) to break down the plant cells and release the dye molecules. Many artists then add essential oils to their mix. Several types of essential oils contain something called monoterpene alcohol that, when mixed with the henna paste before application, actually improves the quality of the final stain
The paste is then applied to the skin using various methods - anything from a small Mylar cone, to a "jack bottle" (something that looks like a Puffy-Paint bottle), to a stick. The paste should be left on the skin for at least several hours. During this time, the dye molecules in the paste bind to the proteins in the top layer of skin - the layer that exfoliates. After several hours, the paste can be brushed off. The resulting stain usually starts out as a light orange, and darkens to its final color over the course of a day or so.
Is Henna Safe ?
Brown henna is a natural product which is made using the process described above. It is safe on most people's skin. If Henna is mixed with chemicals some people's skin may be allergic, so I prefer Natural Henna.
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