Oil has been used to create henna tattoos for many years. The problem people do not understand is that henna is one color, natural red orange. Other colors like browns are mainly made up of indigo, not henna, but are still referred to as henna hair dye. Let's get one thing straight: Oil is to only be used for henna tattoos and in some cases "pure henna hair dye", meaning the henna hair dye is 100% Pure Lawsonia inermis (Natural red head color). Putting oil in any other colors can block color molecules and keep them from penetrating into the pores of the hair. A great example would be using darking brown henna hair dye and mixing in shelly oil or any oil for that matter. The small amount of henna in the mix will release and the indigo will not, leaving you with reddish hair, not brown.
Henna tattoos have been a growing sensation at festivals and parties for the past 20 years. Also confused with black henna (black hair dye), which leaves people scarred for life if left on the skin too long. Henna tattoos also get confused with henna hair dye with the way it needs to be processed and applied. People see on the internet that lemon and oil is good for henna. The fact is it is; however, it is not good for indigo. Indigo and oil do not get along and oil should only be used when applying henna tattoos, not henna hair dye. The same goes with lemon.
Henna Hair Dye and Oil
I see it day after day, time after time on YouTube and other websites " add oil into the mix of the henna hair dye" or worse, "use Vaseline along the hair line to prevent henna hair dye from staining the skin". This will turn out to be a huge mistake! 1. Vaseline along the hair line will help pure henna stain even better and longer; pure henna will stain the facial skin for a little while, natural recurring oils prevent henna stains from being permanent. If you are using any color henna hair dye other than pure henna, the oil or any other additive can cause a adverse effect on the hair or beard. I had a customer that was a high priest in Italy. He had a black beard and after having a reaction to chemical hair dye, henna hair dye was his only choice. Although the story is a bit funny, he didn’t think so when his beard came out a vibrant red and he had to do a sermon in front of 3000 people. His wife called frantically and seeing she was on the other side of the planet it took a few days to get a time we were both up to talk over the phone.
"My husband’s beard is red!" she yelled over the phone. "He cannot speak to 3000 people with a red beard!" She said she had followed the directions exactly, however I knew she had not. In order to get a jet black you must do a 2-step process:
Step 1. Clean the facial hair with a soft brush and mild shampoo.
Step 2. Mix pure henna and apply. Leave on 30 to 45 minutes (referring to EarthDye directions) and rinse.
Step 3. Mix Indigo and immediately apply. Leave on facial hair for 1 hour.
So finally, she calmed down and I asked her to tell me step by step what they had done. She said,
"Step 1. I washed his beard, then mixed the henna with oil and lemon. (lemon is OK with pure henna and so is oil, however the oil left behind will effect the indigo.
"OK, then what"? I said. She then went on to say she rinsed it out and mixed the indigo also the same way with lemon and oil. BINGO! Ding ding ding! Italy, we have a problem! You see, lemon counteracts indigo as does oil. Once these ingredients are mixed in the indigo, it will not work at all... leaving her husband with a red beard.
"OH!", she says- she then went on to say how she saw a YouTube video instructing this. I explained to her how henna tattoos and henna hair dye get mixed up and many people then pass on misinformation. Or maybe it is a conspiracy with big box companies to throw the henna hair dye revolution off . (By the way, it is not a revolution, it has been used as far back as Cleopatra in 30 BC.)
So when it comes to using henna hair dye, Do NOT use oils or lemon, unless the manufacturer is telling you for some reason to do so.
I can't imagine them telling you this, however through my many years of researching henna hair dye I have seen some pretty off the wall stuff. The worst recommending using urine mixed in the with powder. People seem to think if they read it on the internet it somehow must be true.
I can tell you for a fact, I have tested and researched henna for well over 10 years. I have mixed it in my kitchen well over 1000 ways. The best henna is fresh henna. That is why EarthDye is so good. Fresh henna should work just fine mixed with regular tap water. If you have to leave it out over night after it is mixed, then the fact is it is old and expired. If you are doing a henna tattoo, Shelly Oil is our recommendation.