• In the news

  • In search of the henna mystique
    Cincinnati Post, OH -
    ... my brown hair began its morph to blond, my sister (who had beautiful highlights in her long tresses) was more or less convinced to "try a little henna" on hers ...
  • Temporary dye, permanent scar?
    The Scotsman, UK -
    A SENIOR consultant last night called for street artists using black henna to be licensed after treating a string of casualties burnt by the synthetic ink. ...
  • Henna Tattoos Turn Problematic For Local Family
    Click 2 Houston.com, TX -
    HOUSTON -- Celebrities like Madonna and Demi Moore have made henna tattooing a popular form of body art. But what started out as ...
  • A prep school for bar girls in Agra
    Sify, India -
    ... Interestingly, the other two arrested women, Henna and Rakhi, claim to be the daughters of Vimla Bai, also a former bar girl, who was arrested along with them. ...
  • Allergic Reaction to Henna Sta
    allergies.about.com -
    Applying henna "tattoos" may cause allergic skin reactions that result in inflammation, severe itching, and rash, warns a dermatology report. ...
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtales
Family: Lythraceae
Genus: Lawsonia
Lawsonia inermis
Henna is a dye made from the dried leaf and petiole of Lawsonia alba Lam. (Lawsonia inermis L.). It may be identified by its characteristic odor (which smells slightly like soapy cow dung) and by characteristic plant histology. Henna in its common form is a greenish-brown powder, which is mixed with water to form a mud-like paste prior to application. Lemon juice and essential oils are often added to extract the dye from the leaves.

Henna is traditionally used as a hair dye and temporary skin dye in India, Pakistan and North Africa, and in expatriate Indian and Pakistani communities. As well as adding a deep red tint to the hair, henna improves the condition and shine of the hair. As a skin dye, it produces a dark brown stain which lasts for about a week. Henna is predominantly used by women in these cultures to create traditional hand and foot decorations known as mehndi.

Henna is only approved for sale as a hair dye in the United States, and is not approved for any other use in the United States. Some unapproved henna products (sometimes sold under the name "black henna") have been adulterated with unsafe chemical dyes such as paraphenylenediamine ("PPD"), and should not be used for any purpose.

Henna decorations became fashionable in the West in the late 1990s, as a form of body decoration that did not involve permanent marks, unlike tattoo.

External references