Re: Is indigo acceptable for use on skin?

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Posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on July 13, 2002 at 12:30:17:

In reply to: Is indigo acceptable for use on skin? posted by Erika on July 13, 2002 at 12:21:04:

: What happens if you mix it with henna?

You can stain skin if you have very, very fresh indigo. I've seen
Erfan's indigo work and it's very intriguing! However, if its not
fresh, it's not going to happen!

Indigo does not penetrate as deeply as henna, as the indigol molecule
is larger than the henna molecule. Indigo prefers an alakaline
medium, and henna prefers an acid medium, so mixing them together in
the same paste isn't all that helpful. They can complement each other
in the same design, though, and Erfan has told me about traditional
Persian multicolor effects achieved with different plant dyes. I've
found verification of these effects in paintings and manuscripts and
in my own experiments.

The Arab did fingertip dying and ornamentation with indigo through the
medieval period, and I've found this supported in miniature paintings
and manuscripts. Women's eyebrows were lengthened and enhanced with
indigo. I found some absolutely lovely examples of this from the
Qajar period, where women had lenghened their eyebrows to meet in a
pale indigo arc over their noses, and then ornamented that with a
black harquus. Lovely, lovely! In the early medieval period, Sa'di
praised the loveliness of women who had enhanced their eyebrows with

Is indigo acceptable to the FDA for use on skin? Probably not.


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