Where do you get your henna? At Earth Henna, where we make temporary tattoo kits offered at stores like Urban Outfitters and Whole Foods, we have challenges that online suppliers don’t face. As with all natural cosmetics, we have to add preservatives, antioxidants and anti-bacterial agents to insure a longer shelf life. And you can be sure that, at Earth Henna, everything in our henna kits are made with natural ingredients. But ingredients aren’t the only issues at play.
While I love India—in fact, the henna that comes in our kits comes from India (more on that later)—there are some not-so-great and really cheap Indian products out there mimicking traditional “mehndi cones,” pre-mixed henna paste rolled in a cone-shaped plastic applicator. But when you open them, you want to run and hide from the horrible smell of weird chemicals filling the air. When you read their labels, all they say is mehndi paste! Um, hello? Ever hear of US labeling laws, which insist you list all ingredients in a product?
And how is the henna sourced? How are the farmers growing and harvesting the plant treated? Are they getting fair wages? Are sweatshop conditions in the mix? For 15 years, we worked with one family of Moroccan farmers, who take great pride in providing the highest quality henna. We purchased their entire harvest each year, paid them well, and helped them with medical needs and other emergencies. Unfortunately, a debilitating drought finally wiped out their farm. We are currently funding the digging of a new well, which will hopefully get them back on track.
In the meantime, we were very lucky to find an Indian supplier from the Rajasthani region. The owner is a woman, who, out of devotion to Lord Krishna, was inspired to start the company as a means to ethically feed underprivileged farmers and to empower women workers in India. Love that! The company also helps the worker families to educate their children, and provide them with meals, access to clean water and healthcare. So, when you buy from Earth Henna, your dollars mean so much more!