Whether you have been doing henna for years or weeks, you have probably used one of those icky premade cones at one time or another. You know the ones, right? You can order them online or find them on the shelves of you local Indian/Middle Eastern grocery store. They are usually super sized and packaged with pictures of beautiful bridal hands and colorful printed foil or plastic. You probably remember them being clumpy, oily, dry or smelly – but even if not, keep reading.
To explain what is wrong with these cones we should first explain what is RIGHT about freshly made natural henna. Henna powder is the leaves of a plant, dried and sifted into a fine powder. It is then mixed with various natural ingredients to create a paste. Commonly, henna paste recipes call for lemon juice and quality essential oils. Once mixed, the henna paste needs to go through dye release, which can take anywhere from 4-24 hours, depending on what type of henna you are using. When dye release occurs, your natural, fresh henna paste is ready to use… BUT if you don’t use it within about 5 days it will start losing its ‘staining power’. That is why most professional artists will freeze their henna after it goes through dye release.
So back to our original question, why are those other cones so bad? Well now that we have gone over how henna is made, and how it works, you can imagine why these premixed, imported cones could be problematic. They are mixed months or even years before they get to you. Do they come frozen? No! So how on earth do they still stain? Premixed, imported cones contain dyes, preservatives, chemicals and more. You may still get a stain, but it is not the henna doing it. Its the dyes. That is why these stains don’t last very long.
In some cases, these icky cones are harmless, except for the disappointing stain, but some of them can cause serious skin and health problems. You can get a chemical burn, or have the dangerous ingredients enter your blood stream! No matter what the cone say on the package, or what the ‘artist’ that is using them tells you, they do not contain fresh or natural henna. Labeling laws are not the same in other countries. They could say that the henna is 100% natural but still contain harmful ingredients.
Now that you know why these pre-mixed, imported cones are so bad, you can help spread the word! Use only natural safe henna!