Henna Body Art: Cultural Appropriation or Cultural Appreciation?

Henna Body Art: Cultural Appropriation or Cultural Appreciation?

While scrolling through social media or casually chatting with a friend, it is practically inevitable to come across henna tattoo designs.

This adorned, intricate, brown-red ink is seamlessly gaining its popularity around the world - With many celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Rihanna who have openly sported their interest in this.

For many, it's a chance to get a tattoo that isn't permanent. But for others, it raises concerns about its traditional value and cultural appropriation.

While we can't speak of all the cultures and traditions, as an Asian-owned brand, we feel that the art of henna, no matter for hair dye or body art, is part of cultural sharing.

We are inspired by this and want to contribute to this amazing culture that empowers women and brings together a lot of celebration and love.

The Rise of Henna

the rise of henna

With henna hair dye popping out in online stores and festivals all over the U.S. as well as the growing popularity of body art kits, henna has a special significance in today's modern American society. Not because of the sheer tradition it follows, but because of its beneficial plant-based ingredients.

On a positive note:

  • Henna is free from harmful chemicals such as PPD, ammonia, and metallic salt
  • It's a more accessible tattoo since it doesn't require any needling.
  • Also henna has no risk of infection, as they are applied to the outermost layer of the skin

With the reasons mentioned above, it's clear that the love for henna is not convenient to any culture or religion. Also, during our research, we couldn't find any single situation in which henna application could be relevantly described as something disrespectful, aside from the design itself if it was intended to be.

The Origin and How it relates to cultural sharing

Some of the most common cultural sharing happens through music and painting. Both express human nature, feelings, and experiences in a natural way. Now, it's uncommon to not connect with a piece of music or painting as they both spark emotions. Self-expression is a natural way we humans use to connect with each other.

Read More: How to choose the right henna powder?

Henna, at its basic, is an accessory just like makeup or jewelry. It is like a fancy dress that you can pair with a cute top or gorgeous shoes. Now the dress itself, or the tattoo design in our case, can be a bit offensive if it’s intended to look in a particular way.

But it doesn’t mean that it reflects the tradition or the culture as a whole. It’s just one individual person or a group who’ve decided to mock a selective culture. It’s not offensive if you try it at an event or do a festive floral art at the festival of your choice.

henna tattoo on hands

Instead, it’s a celebration that honestly everyone should take a part in. And this is why we've decided to launch our brand. To spread love and compassion around the world.

How we can take a part in this?

There are two important ways to make sure that we don't take part in any misappropriation. Although it may seem like it's not affecting anyone, doing a bit of research can play its part in the originating culture.

Also Read: Common Myths about Henna - Fact Check by Professionals

  • Learn more about the tattoo design before you try it. Take the time to find if it's related to any religious, sacred, or ceremonial element. Understand the origin and history whether if it has faced unfair practices or discrimination in the past.
  • Research the product to check if you're financially supporting the organization that is not directly or indirectly involved with such discriminations. Look into the business profile on social media and on the official site. Remember, the product you buy also has a great influence on appropriation.


We started The Henna Guys because we wanted to share this beautiful culture with the rest of the world. Henna is an art that can be used as a perfect hair dye to color, condition your hair, or make intricate henna tattoo designs.

We want everyone to have this experience, to try a chemical-free plant-based ingredient and experience the self-expressive power of nature. We strive to make henna accessible as part of our cultural sharing initiative.

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