Should I try henna brows? Things to know before trying this eyebrow treatment
EyebrowQueen founder, Nilam, shares her thoughts on the pros and cons of henna brows
Henna brow tinting has become a popular treatment in the professional eyebrow shaping market, thanks to its perception as a natural, safe and long-lasting option to traditional tinting. But does it live up to all the hype?
Henna has been used to dye hair and skin for hundreds of years, particularly in the East. In fact, when I was a child I would see relatives using henna not only for patterns on the hands but also to dye their hair and eyebrows.
During my time in the beauty industry, I have seen people toy with the idea of using it as a ‘natural’ alternative to hair dye, especially for those who were allergic to dyes. Back then henna only came in one colour and turned orange over time, so it didn’t really take off and black henna contained PPD which is the ingredient found in hair dye which people generally have the reaction to. I came across it in a big way when I was working in Russia, around five years ago.
I saw that henna was a popular eyebrow treatment there with an array of colour choices from light blonde to black. It was being sold as a treatment that dyed the hair and stained the skin to look like brow shadow and lasted up to two weeks. However, when I started trialling it myself I found that it really wasn’t living up to these claims.
How long does a henna brow treatment last?
Henna brow treatments often claim to stain the skin for up to two weeks and dye the hair up to six weeks. Personally I have not seen this longevity of the result. The henna brow treatments I tried all stayed on the skin for approximately four days max as the stained skin exfoliates away. Clients would really have to not wash or cleanse the area to make it last longer. It also didn’t really do the job of looking like brow makeup, such as brow pencils or powder. It looked great on some but awful if clients had porous or dry skin. I did find that henna dye lasted on the actual hairs for around the same time as eyebrow dye. However, this can vary depending on the products you use because some tint dyes are more permanent, rather than semi-permanent.
What are other problems with henna tinting?
I find henna a difficult product to use and perfect, so there is little room for error. Application has to be the perfect shape the client is looking for as you can not remove any stains easily from the skin.
The result is reliant on skin texture as it doesn’t even out any imperfections so often comes out looking uneven. This is particularly a problem for anyone with sparse hairs, dry, oily or porous skin. Because of this, it is really hard to make it look like an eyebrow pencil or shadow which would sit on top of the skin and cover all these imperfections.
Even the new generation of Henna brow dyes tend to change colour a little as they fade, becoming a bit orangey - and I’ve found this to be the case regardless of the brand or colour that I use. The only time this doesn’t seem to happen is with black henna dyes which don’t seem to warm up as it fades.
However, clients need to be aware black henna dyes contain a chemical called PPD (paraphenylenediamine) an ingredient contained in hair dyes, which can be dangerous and requires a patch test.
The benefits of henna brows
While henna may not be the right brow treatment for everyone, it can give you a nice shape and definition to the right skin and hair type.
It is a good solution for people who struggle to design and fill in their brows as it gives them a base shape to follow. It is especially good for clients with little or no hair on their brows. I actually used it when I had clients considering microblading as they could live with a ‘brow shadow’ for a few days to see if they like the shape.
I find henna suits clients with fine fluffy hairs the best. And the lighter colours contain no PPD. Henna can be a good choice for people with old permanent makeup or tattooed eyebrows that have changed colour. Henna can temporarily ‘freshen’ the brow colour up for a little bit longer.
Alternatives to Henna Brows
Makeup is the perfect temporary alternative to Henna. If you’re looking for an easy way to enhance your brows, the products in the EyebrowQueen shop can give you the brow shape and definition you desire, without the commitment of henna tinting. Check out our video tutorials for step-by-step instructions on how to get the thicker, fluffier brow look, without any long-term treatments.
Brow pencils, pomades and powders are perfect for filling in the shape.
Create different looks, from hair strokes to shading, with the long-lasting EYEBROWQUEEN Brow Pro. For budge-proof makeup dab some EYEBROWQUEEN Brow Fix over the makeup to make it waterproof and smudge-proof.
Coloured brow mascaras are perfect for temporarily coating hairs with colour. Coat each hair with waterproof colour and set into place with the EYEBROWQUEEN Brow Colour Boost. Hair-like fibres add volume for a fuller brow.
A more permanent alternative is to have microblading or semi-permanent make up which are both forms of brow tattooing.
- Make sure you paint the henna on perfectly and protect any surrounding skin with a Vaseline based barrier
- Choose the correct colour
- Perform a patch test as a colour containing PPD may have to be mixed into your lighter colour for tone
- Remove henna from the bulb area sooner to avoid a blocky hard look
- Use brow fix after the treatment daily to seal in colour and make the result last longer
- Use your henna as a template to practice your makeup application over the top. The more you practice the quicker you will familiarise yourself with the shape and designing your brow makeup will be easier.
- Fake tan a week before or directly after
- Have it done the day before an important event
- Use harsh cleansing products or products with retinol in it around the brow area. These products exfoliate the skin and will remove the henna faster.
Looking for Henna brow courses? Check out @hello_hennabrows on instagram