Henna, natural ingredients

Is Black Henna any close to Natural Henna?

picnic-2271272_1920Natural henna dye is prepared from the plant Lawsonia inermis. It’s been used to dye skin, hair, nails as well as fabric since ancient times. On the contrary black henna is a misleading marketing name derived from mix of indigo plant and synthetic chemical dye such as p-Phenylenediamine (PPD). Black henna is popular for temporary tattoos and permanent hair colour.

Natural henna leaf is difficult to stain on its own. The leaves are dried and finely powdered and made paste with water, lemon or strong tea. The paste is left for several hours to release lawson molecule. This henna paste when applied on skin or hair and left for few hours, leaves a reddish orange stain. This is a completely natural process to dye hair and skin, with a very low probability of any skin allergy or reaction.

Black henna may contain unlisted chemicals. Most commonly used chemical is p-Phenylenediamine (PPD) which gives a very quick black stain on skin and hair. PPD can cause severe allergic reaction and potentially sensitize skin. In USA, FDA specifically forbids PPD to be used for this purpose, and may prosecute those who produce black henna. Artists who injure clients with black henna in the U.S. may be sued for damages. In Europe, any product containing PPD must be labelled “For professional use only. This product can cause severe allergic reactions. Read and follow instructions. This product is not intended for use on persons under the age of 16. Temporary ‘black henna’ tattoos may increase the risk of allergy. Eyelashes shall not be coloured if the consumer: — has a rash on the face or sensitive, irritated and damaged scalp, — has experienced any reaction after colouring hair or eyelashes, — has experienced a reaction to a temporary ‘black henna’ tattoo in the past. Rinse eyes immediately if product comes into contact with them. Contains phenylenediamines. Wear suitable gloves.”

Recently, natural henna is becoming more commercially available as a safe alternative to chemical dye. LUSH Henna is one natural henna hair dye which can be used as a safe option over black henna or synthetic hair dye.

Temporary tattoos containing PPD is very popular during summer time or holidays. This is used by people of all age group resulting in severe lifelong allergic reaction. The British Skin Foundation has launched #AVOIDBLACKHENNA campaign as summer months approach.

Dr Flower says that everyone should be suspicious of black “tattoos”.”Real henna is never black, but is orange-brown,” he explains. “Any very dark temporary tattoo should be treated with caution.”

Lisa Bickerstaffe at the British Skin Foundation agrees. “Check the colour if a product is described as ‘henna’,” she says. “Henna is an orange-red colour, so if you are offered a temporary tattoo with ‘black henna’, it isn’t actually true henna. If in doubt, stay away.”

Both Flower and Bickerstaffe advise reading the list of ingredients. Avoid the product if it lists PPD or paraphenylenediamine. But even this is no guarantee of safety, as the ingredient list might not be accurate or comprehensive.

natural ingredients, Policosanol

Policosanol: Potential Adjunct in Anti-Acne formulations

Policosanol is a mixture of higher aliphatic alcohols extracted from plants such as sugarcane(saccharum officinarum) or yams or from beeswax. It is produced, promoted and researched extensively in Cuba. The extract appears as off white to yellow powder


Policosanol Chemical Composition –

The highest percentage of alcohol present in policosanol is 1-octacosanol, 1-dotriacontanol, 1-tetracosanol, 1-tetratria-contanol, 1-hexacosanol, 1-heptacosanol and 1-nonacosanol.

Policosanol : Cosmeceutical application

  • Topical application controls sebum level of skin and scalp.
  • Natural anti microbial ingredient in anti acne formulations
  • Increases blood circulation of skin and liven up the blood cell
  • Effective in some skin diseases and inflammations like eczema,acne,skin allergy etc.
  • Promotes hydration and softening of skin
  • New patented solvent free extraction process has low environment impact.

Policosanol: How it is effective in controlling acne?

  • When excessive secretion of sebum by sebaceous glands , alteration in sebaceous ducts occurs leading to their blockage.
  • Further encourages proliferation and accumulation of bacterium propionibacterium acnes.
  • Human sebaceous gland can synthesize cholestrol from acetate and metabolize to steroids into potent androgens. Acne is known to be an androgenic skin disorders. There for agents that beneficially effects cholestrol metabolism may have a potential role in management of acne.
  • Policosanol is found to inhibit cholestrol biosynthesis and favorably influence sebum level in the skin.

Plicosanol: Formulation and preparation

Policosanol is recommended for oily skin as it provides all the sebum control benefit. The O/W and W/O formulations for oily skin and acne prone skin.

It is oil soluble at raised temperature, so it must be added in the oil phase of the emulsion. It contains mixture of higher fatty alcohols, so it has a high melting point and may increase viscosity of O/W preparation specially lotions.

Formula with Policosanol as an active ingredient

Phase A

  1. Decyl Oleate)-5.7%
  2. Ethylhexyl Stearate)-6.5%
  3. Glyceryl Stearate-0.5%
  4. Stearic Acid-0.5%
  5. Policosanol-0.5

Phase B

  1. Cetearyl Glucoside-1.0%
  2. Creatine-0.5%
  3. Glycerin-3.0%
  4. Water-80.1%

Phase C

  1. Carbomer-0.2%
  2. Ethylhexyl Stearate-0.8%

Phase D

  1. NaOH (10%)-0.7%
  2. Preservative, parfum-q.s.

Preparation of Policosanol lotion

  • · Heat phase A and B separately to approx. 80°C.
  • · Add phase B to phase A without stirring.
  • · Homogenize.
  • · Cool with gentle stirring to approx. 60°C and add phase C.
  • · Homogenize for a short time (20s).
  • · Cool with gentle stirring and add phase D below 40°C.

Sugar cane Plant
Sugar cane Plant


Policosanol is known to support cardiovascular health and wellness.As a cosmeceutical, Policosanol is an effective natural approach in modulating sebum levels in the skin and scalp, a natural antimicrobial adjunct in anti-acne formulations, and a non-animal derived emollient – a potential substitute for wool-derived lanolin in cosmetic formulations.

Source: sabinsa

Phase A

(Decyl Oleate)


Ethylhexyl Stearate)


(Glyceryl Stearate


Stearic Acid




Phase B

Cetearyl Glucoside








Phase C



Ethylhexyl Stearate


Phase D

NaOH (10%)


Preservative, parfum


natural ingredients

To What Extent Your Cosmetic is Natural?

If one accepts the meaning of natural as having a source in nature rather than being synthesized in a factory, then the animal, mineral & vegetable fats, oils & waxes, gums, sugar, mineral such as talc, kaolin, bentonite, hectorite, fuller’s earth, sulphur & mica, pearl essence, starches, rubber latex, placenta related extracts perhaps even alcohol derived by natural fermentation of carbohydrates & concentrates are all naturals.

The other synonym used for natural is organic, from a chemist point of view consider a substance organic if it is a carbon compound. Then all the oils, fats & waxes, emulsifiers, gums, polyols & their ether & esters, fragrance, soluble colorants etc. are organic. Then even most of the creams, lotions & oils are organic.

Most of the women believes that, natural or to some extent even organic is real, meaningful term when it comes to beauty products. But that’s not true – not yet anyway.

A natural product should be free from ” parabens, synthetic preservative, sulphates, animal products or any thing with suspected potential human health risk”.

Natural product should contain minimum of 95% natural ingredients.

In any case, natural certification shouldn’t be confused with safety testing (plenty of natural ingredient aren’t safe)