Henna  Safety

Natural Henna

The henna plant, Lawsonia Inermis, is a shrub that grows in hot arid regions such as Africa, the Middle East, India and Pakistan. The leaves of this plant are harvested, dried, and ground up into a very fine powder. The powder is then mixed with an acidic liquid, such as water or lemon juice, in order to release the dye from the plant. Next, sugar and essential oils are added. This paste mixture is then applied to the skin and left on for several hours. Once the paste is scraped off an orange stain will remain which will darken over 48 hours to a reddish/brownish colour and will last seven to ten days. Please see the FAQ for more information on natural henna.

Henna prepared in this way is perfectly safe for use on skin and has been used for thousands of years in many parts of the world. The studies that have been done on henna have found that there are no adverse effects from using this natural product.

Henna Planet's Ingredients

Henna Planet prides itself on providing the highest quality henna paste that is safe for skin. The ingredients include henna powder, organic lemon juice, organic sugar, and Bulgarian Lavandula Angustifolia (lavender essential oil). No added chemicals or toxic ingredients are added to the henna paste.

All of Henna Planet's merchandise is also properly labelled in accordance with the Canadian Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act., which is standard practice in the cosmetic industry but not, unfortunately, always followed by importers and merchants of henna products.

To purchase henna paste or powder go to Shop, or to learn how to make your own natural henna paste go to Workshops.

What is Black Henna?
Black henna is a term used to describe designs that are put on the skin using black hair dye (sometimes mixed with henna) and which subsequently leave a black stain. Unfortunately black hair dye contains a very toxic chemical called PPD (para-phenylenediamine) which can cause chemical burns on the skin. Blistering, redness, swelling and itching may occur three to fourteen days after a black henna application. 
Research shows that the use of PPD can lead to liver and kidney damage/failure, asthma, cancer and even death.
PPD is also a strong sensitizer, therefore repeated exposure increases the chance of developing an allergy and sensitivity to it and products that are related to PPD. Even if there is no reaction the first time exposure occurs, over time, sensitivity will develop and reactions are more likely.

Exposure to PPD may result in sensitivities to the following:

PPD Synonyms to watch out for 
  • PBA Based sunscreens (para-aminobenzoic acid)

  • Sulfa drugs

  • Textile and semi-permanent hair dyes

  • Black clothing

  • Benzocaine and other ‘caine’ drugs

  • Printer and fax inks

  • Some cosmetics

  • P-aminosalicylic acid

  • Para-aminodiphenylamine

  • Paratoluenediamine

  • 2,4-Diaminoanisole

  • Ortho-animophenol

  • Black rubber products

  • Sulfones

  • Sulonamides

  • Diaminodiphenyl methane 

  • 1,4-Benzednidiamine

  • Paraphenylenediamine (PPD or PPDA)

  • Para-aminoaniline 9P-animoaniline)

  • 1,4-Penylenediamine

  • Paradiaminobenzene (p-diaminobenzene)

Black Henna Burn on the body.

Black Henna Burn

Black Henna Scar on the body.

Black Henna Scar

Many people like the darker look of black henna, however, natural henna can produce dark and rich colour as well. The most important thing to start with is good quality fresh henna paste. Secondly, leaving the paste on for up to eight hours, wrapping the dry paste, and applying gentle heat will help to produce a dark stain that will last a long time. Please check out the FAQ page for more information on the henna process and aftercare instructions.

Black Henna is Illegal

Black henna is illegal for use on skin in Canada. Please see the Government of Canada’s Health Warning on Black Henna here.


Unfortunately Black henna is found in many tourist areas in and around Toronto and within Canada. It is also found throughout the world in places such as the United States, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South America, and just about anywhere tourists are found.


Although it is becoming more common to hear about black henna warnings in the media, not enough people are aware of the dangers. It is important to spread the word about this toxic chemical, so please share this information with family and friends.

Pre-made Packaged Henna Cones

Unfortunately store bought packaged henna cones contain chemicals as well. These products are not regulated by the government and often don’t include a list of ingredients. However, simply opening them up and smelling them will provide a clue as to what is in them. Chemicals such as kerosene, lighter fluid, lye, acid black #2, lacquer and PPD (paraphenylenediamine) have been found in these cones. And do not be fooled by the "Natural Henna" label on them, laboratory tests have found that there is little that is natural about them.

In Conclusion

The only way to know what is in the henna paste that you are using is to ask. 

At its basic, henna paste should include ground up henna leaves and lemon juice or water. It may also contain sugar and skin safe essential oils (lavender is one of the safest). If the person making the paste mentions anything else that sounds suspicious, if they are vague in their response, or they will not say what the ingredients are then please be very cautious.

Had a Reaction to PPD?

Go to the hospital or the doctor and be sure to report it to:

Health Canada

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