Store-bought henna is baaaad

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Posted by Paul Cerra on June 24, 2002 at 15:59:21:

Hi all, I haven't had much time to enjoy henna lately (although the
weather has been downright chilly, esp. given that summer is
starting), but I thought I'd post this message in case there are any
folks reading this forum who wonder if they'll get good results by
going down to their neighborhood store and buying henna off the shelf
instead of ordering it from a reputable online vendor. Because the
answer is nooooo!

I tested four different store-bought brands this weekend. These have
been sitting in my fridge, tightly sealed, for up to 3 months. I
purchased them before I found the online henna community. All of them
gave pathetic stains, yet somehow I couldn't bring myself to throw
them out. So I decided to add terps (something I hadn't done
previously) to see if any of them could be salvaged. All designs were
wrapped and left on overnight (about 8 hours) before the paste was

Brand #1: Baadshah brand (India)
This henna powder must have been older than the Holy Land. Even with
terps, the stain it gave could barely be seen by the naked eye.

Brand #2: Swamy brand (from a henna kit, so presumably repackaged
from another source)
With terps, this gave a tan colored stain, but the color was pale
compared to fresh henna.

Brand #3: Unknown brand (also from a henna kit)
About the same as brand #2.

Brand #4: Al-Aroosa (Pakistan)
The only surprise of the bunch. Gave a fairly nice brown/burgundy
color. Some areas even went to purple. There was no mistaking it...
it was definitely a purple color. Very striking.

Just for the heck of it, I tried "Brand #5" -- which was a cone of
terped Sharkiyya that I'd mixed up two weeks ago. It had been sitting
in the fridge. I pulled it out and did a quick design on the top of
my foot. Like the others, this design was wrapped and left on over
night. In the morning, the Sharkiyya design was bright orange at
paste removal. Now, almost 48 hours later, it has become much darker
than any of the store-bought brands, with colors ranging from
cinnamon to a beautiful red and, near the toes, a very dark color...
black cherry, perhaps.

So to summarize: only 1 in 4 of my store-bought brands was worth
keeping. The other 3 packages went straight into the trash can (uh...
rubbish bin, for you Brits)... all 300 grams of 'em. Even two-week
old henna paste, when kept refrigerated and when made with high
quality henna from the online vendors who frequent this forum, can
put store-bought henna powder to shame.

I know I'm preaching to the choir. This message is for those who
haven't heard the gospel. ;)



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