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What Color Is Henna?

Henna is only one color. That is, the color of henna. :)
The henna plant, lawsonia inermis, contains a red dye molecule called lawsone. When henna paste is applied, the molecule binds with keratin molecules in skin, fingernails or hair.
When the paste is removed, the lawsone oxidizes and within 24-48 hours produces a final color somewhere along the red/brown spectrum.
The final color of any henna application depends on several factors:
  • The quality and freshness of the henna paste. (Old/dead paste will not stain beyond light orange.)
  • The region where the henna was grown.
  • Whether the paste contains essential oils.
  • How long the paste is left on the skin.
  • The Ph level of the person's skin.
  • The color and tone of the person's skin. (The final stain is a combination of the translucent henna color + the person's skin color.)
  • The location of the henna stain. (Palms and soles stain darkest and tend to have a redder tone, while upper arms may stain a milk chocolate color.)
On the red/brown spectrum, there actually is a wide variety of shades that henna can produce. Some of the stains I've seen on myself and others could be described as:
  • Espresso
  • Mahogany
  • Suntan
  • Chocolate cherry
  • Blackberry
  • Burnt umber
  • Cinnamon
  • Dark chocolate
  • Bing cherry
  • Brazil nut
Natural henna can never be purple, green, blue, white, yellow, etc. And you've probably heard my rant about so-called black henna. However, the colors produced by the alchemy of henna and human skin tones makes natural henna stand out on its own as a beautiful art form!
However, if you want a mehndi-style design in a color, Blue Lotus Mehndi has beautiful body paints and glitters that are waterproof but removable. :)

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