How do you choose between henna and jagua?
What’s the difference between a henna and a jagua tattoo?
What kind of art do you create with henna, versus jagua?
We get asked these questions a lot when we’re at Vidcon, the Youtubers conference; at natural product tradeshows (where Whole Foods and Sprouts buyers come looking for new products); and from body art lovers trying to make up their minds about which way to go. The answer is simple: it’s a matter of personal preference!
There are significant differences between the two—the obvious one being the color of your tattoo, and, when you come right down to it, is the one I feel matters most. Either you’re attracted to that gorgeous, earthy reddish brown henna color, which bespeaks magical issues of love, luck and prosperity; or you love the idea of a real-looking tattoo, which is linked to Indigenous peoples of the Amazon Rainforest—and the mystical beliefs that come with it. Freak out your new boyfriend with his name tattooed on your chest! Just make sure you have some rope to reel him back in in time to explain that it’s temporary.
Another major difference is application time. Henna takes six hours to properly dye the skin; jagua only needs one to two hours because it’s a much stronger dye. What kind of art do you create with henna versus jagua? I used to think that, since it’s black and looks permanent, people would be drawn to creating tribal-themed tattoos with jagua. But I’ve definitely been proven wrong. As the above photo* suggests, people do whatever they want with these two incredible inks from nature. And why shouldn’t they. There’s no reason to limit yourself, your style, or expression when you can choose both!
* Above photo depicts designs that have just been applied with the green henna paste (which stains the skin reddish brown), and jagua gel, which stains the skin black.