If you’ve been on holiday outside the EU this year you may have been tempted to have a decorative black henna tattoo applied.

With the current trend for tattoos and body decoration a temporary tattoo may just seem a bit of holiday fun which will fade as quickly as your tan. “Be careful,” warns Salon Director Fran. “If you colour your hair these seemingly innocuous tattoos can trigger new allergic skin reactions – even if you’ve been colouring your hair for years.”

What are black henna tattoos?

The henna tattoos which have been used in wedding and cultural festivities across Asia and the Middle East for centuries are not harmful. They are created using natural reddish-brown henna which when applied decoratively to the skin leaves a “tattoo” as it dries. This tattoo gradually disappears after a few weeks.

Outside the EU some unscrupulous tattoo artists darken the henna (hence the name black henna) with the hair dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine). This chemical can cause painful blistering of the skin where it has been applied. Even if your skin doesn’t react adversely to the tattoo itself, the PPD in the tattoo can still sensitise you to it and set off sudden new reactions to hair colourants in the future.

Safe for use in hair colourants

Whilst illegal for use in tattoos, PPD is a safe legal ingredient in many hair colourants and fully regulated under rigorous EU cosmetic regulations.


If you’ve had any temporary or henna tattoo since your last colour services please let us know when booking your appointment. We’ll carry out a quick complimentary skin test at least 48 hours before your colour appointment to ensure your wellbeing and give you peace of mind.