I traveled down to Loxley, Alabama, last July to spend a magical afternoon at the Garden at Bella Sera with a coterie of talented, friendly and incredible creatives to create this Bohemian wedding styled shoot! I painted the models' feet with white Henna Glam: a durable body paint that you can use to decorate skin in mehndi-inspired designs. Henna Glam doesn't stain and is removable ... a perfect option for special occasions!
Click here for the blog post and a roll call of the professionals who participated in the shoot, and here are some of the photos I took myself:
UPDATE: Henna master Darcy Vasudev shows us how to do freckles right using natural paste. Link at the end of this post.
YouTuber Naomi Jon is at it again.
After racking up more than FIVE MILLION VIEWS on her original "freckles fail" video, she gave henna freckles another go after getting advice from the beauty blogger who inspired her. While she acknowledges that many people advised her to use natural henna, in the video she admits to sticking with an "artificial" product.
She's still turning red! And her skin is burning. (She says so in the video.) And she put that sh1t around her EYES. Lord help me.
The only things she did differently this time were (1) choose a "brown henna" and (2) apply a cosmetic oil to her skin first to protect against some of the nastier effects. If she would just use natural henna, the oil wouldn't be necessary. (It inhibits uptake of the henna dye anyway, makes it less effective.)
Granted, the results one day later looks a heckuva lot better than her first attempt:
Doesn't change the fact that she put really AWFUL chemicals on her pretty skin. And survived unscathed. This time. No immediate damage, but ...
The chemical most likely responsible for causing the burning and redness in her skin is PPD. This chemical is a sensitizer, which means that the more you use it, the more sensitive your body becomes to the chemical and the more likely you are to have an allergic reaction, possibly a severe one.
Naomi definitely enjoys playing with her hair color, and if she wants to continue, she needs to keep artificial henna crap off her face. There was a case not long ago of a British woman who had a severe, blistering reaction to a "black henna" design she received while on vacation to the Middle East. That one bad reaction permanently sensitized her body to strong chemical dyes. She should've been avoiding them like the plague, yet she decided to color her hair using a typical, off-the-shelf brand of hair coloring – something that is (relatively speaking) safe to use under normal circumstances.
Problem was, her body was so sensitized to PPD, she went into anaphylactic shock and died. (That's when your throat swells and shuts off your air supply, causing you to suffocate.)
Folks ... it's possible to use "henna" that contains synthetic dyes with no apparent harm. Many, many times. Some people just aren't that sensitive to those chemicals. Many people from countries with a henna tradition are so accustomed to purchasing these cones at import shops and ethnic groceries that they don't think twice about them. Check out this video by mehndi artist Farrah for her take on using artificial cones. Doesn't mean there isn't a risk. An unacceptable one, in my opinion.
Naomi: You're too pretty to risk your skin and your health with that pre-packaged garbage cone. Please try the freckle test again with natural henna!
And now, let's watch Darcy Vasudev show us how it's done!
We interrupt our usual henna stories to bring you this special report:
Okay. It was a vow renewal service, not a wedding. Still! Look at this!
This past summer, I had the privilege of doing "white henna" for the lovely Tierra and her vow renewal service in Huntsville. Strictly speaking, there's no such thing as white henna. True henna is made from the henna plant and stains the skin reddish brown.
However, a couple of years ago, someone on social media posted photos of their "practice henna" done with body lotion. The white look became a hit, and the market responded with a variety of white henna options. I use the Henna Glam product from Henna Caravan (great company, BTW). It's a cosmetic-grade paint that sits on top of the skin. It's fairly durable and can last 1-5 days but is also removable. (You can't "stain" anything white. You can only bleach something to make it white, and bleaching skin is horrible.)
And as you can see ... it looks SPECTACULAR on deep-toned skin! I also did white henna for the guests at Tierra's reception. Just take a look at this beautiful woman. Wowza!
Some days, I cry.
And so does this YouTuber, and I don't blame her because GOD HELP US ALL!!!! Here's what happened:
She saw another YouTube makeup artist create "semi-permanent" freckles using henna paste. Okay. Sounds plausible. The reddish-brown color of henna resembles the color of a birthmark or freckle. So, she ordered "Golecha" brand henna paste off eBay and went for broke. And just let me say, thank god she didn't wind up in the hospital.
The "no harmful chemicals" claim on the packaging is rubbish. (Technically, everything is made of chemicals, and almost no chemical on the planet is completely risk-free, but I digress.) More than likely, the manufacturer is claiming it contains no synthetic chemicals such as the notorious PPD. I'm calling shenanigans.
First of all, true henna does not have that purplish-magenta tone that you see in the stain on her face. It's a much warmer, reddish brown tone. The unnatural shade is a dead giveaway that Golecha cones contain some sort of synthetic dye.
Second, true henna does NOT stain instantly like this product did! That's just not how it works. Henna paste must be left on the skin for an hour or more, and when it's removed (either washed away or peeled off), the stain is orange at first and then darkens to red-brown over 24-48 hours. Her instant color is another dead giveaway that the cone contains a synthetic dye.
Third, the burning. That is a classic sign that you've put something containing HAIR DYE on your face.
Folks, the very sad fact is cosmetic labeling is poorly regulated in many countries. They can say whatever the heck they want on the package and face no legal consequences. I'm looking right now at an eBay listing for Golecha's "black" henna. If you didn't know how natural henna works and the dangers of so-called "black henna," you could easily fall for the load of horse poop in this listing:
Henna manufacturers have realized that Western consumers are becoming educated about the dangers of "black henna" and other kinds of adulterated henna products, so they use buzzwords like "handmade" and "all-natural" and "clinically tested." It's utter cow manure, and all they care about is dollars in their pocket.
If you have a desire to put henna on your face – or anywhere else – PLEASE purchase your paste from a real human being who made it herself. Doesn't matter if you buy from me or someone else, just do business with a reputable henna artist who cares deeply about the human beings who use her product and isn't just trying to make a buck.
And Naomi, girlfriend ... I hope your skin returned to normal. 😟
UPDATE 2/7/19: She did it again.
This is what a severe reaction to a PPD burn looks like. It's ugly and horrifying Please do not take the risk!