PPD Deathpaste Strikes Again! Be Safe, Get Natural Henna.

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Evil PPD Deathpaste, aka “black henna”, strikes again. This time a five year old girl from the Twin Cities Metro is carrying the scars. This is so wrong and should have never happened.  I’m on a mission to raise awareness about PPD.  Here is some information to help you navigate the body art booths during the summer festival season.

With summer approaching fast, henna artists across the country are gearing up for henna season.   You will find us at corporate events, charity events, graduation parties, school carnivals, and hanging out in our booths at various farmer’s markets, festivals and fairs.  Here are a few tips to utilize if you stop by one of our henna booths this summer.

  • If you are looking for a good price, go to the henna booth early in the day. Usually the henna booth is pretty quiet during those hours and the henna artist might be feeling more generous and open to negotiation.
  • Asking for Artist Choice will generally give you more bang for the buck. While you won’t have a say of what design is put on your skin, you will probably walk away with a more elaborate design for the price you paid.
  • There are no stencils or transfers for what we do. It’s all free-hand and each artist has his or her own style. If there are multiple henna artists in a tent, and a group of you want matching designs, request in advance that only one artist do the work on everyone in your group. You increase the likelihood of the henna designs looking the same this way.
  • Go on rides before you get henna! Nothing worse than spending the money for a lovely henna design only to have it smeared when you go on the Twister right afterwards!
  • Come to the henna booth sober. Just as with the rides at the fairs, drinking increases your chance of smearing a henna design.
  • Most artists will henna children above the age of one, however some won’t unless a child is school age. Despite parental concern, from toddlers on up, children with wet henna are generally VERY careful with their designs. If the design is accidentally smudged, go back to the booth as soon as possible for two reasons. First, the smudge will stain as a smudge if it isn’t cleaned up asap. Secondly, most artists will fix it for free… but only the first time it happens.

Lastly, as always, be aware of PPD/ black henna and premade cones from the local Indian or Middle Eastern grocery store. Reputable henna artists will have information warning about the dangers of black henna in their booths, and share freely their list of safe paste ingredients.  Some of the dangers of black henna include, but are not exclusive to:

Chemical burns, blisters, permanent scarring, asthma, cancer, kidney failure, sensitization to cosmetics, sunblock, dark clothing and some medications as well as other health problems.  It can take 3-7 days for a reaction to occur.  Seek medical attention if you’ve had a reaction to ppd/black body art.  Subsequent allergic reactions can put your life in jeopardy.  Contact the Minneapolis FDA district office at 612-758-7221 to report your reaction.

Premade henna cones from the Indian or Middle Eastern grocery store do not have an ingredient list and when tested by an independent lab, have been proven  to contain lead  and/or dry cleaning fluid along with a host of preservatives not good for your skin.

Do you want to know if the henna you’re about to get is safe?  Ask these two questions:

  1.  How long do I wear it?   Henna must be worn 4-24 hours to achieve a dark long -lasting stain.  A henna artist will tell you to wear it as long as you can. PPD or black henna stains the skin in as little as 30 minutes. Those who are selling PPD may have you sign a waiver and will often tell you to wash it off as soon as it dries.
  2. What color is it going to be?   Henna stains start out orange to light brown and darken in color over the first 24-48 hours and last about 1-2 weeks.  PPD stains jet back with no color change.

Remember this little poem:

If it’s black, it’s whack!
If it’s brown, go to town!


Thank you Amy Leinen pf Mehndi Moments for your interview in the recent Strib article and for your huge contribution to the info piece.


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