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Posted on Jan 01, 2017

Inkbox VS. Henna

Inkbox is different from henna in its application and uses, as well as on a molecular level. So, what's the difference?

This is one of our most commonly asked questions, and we're here to set the record straight: Inkbox tattoos are not henna. We get it, if you're hearing about Inkbox for the first time, you might be quick to associate it with another form of body art.

Check out this video where artist Jasmin Pannu explains the main differences between the two types of body art. 



Henna is a dye prepared from the plant Lawsonia inermis. Henna has a tannin dye molecule called Lawsone, or hennotannic acid, that's small enough to penetrate a skin cell. If you put henna paste on your skin, the dye molecules will penetrate down the columns of skin cells.   

Inkbox is a plant-based formula and our active ingredient is derived from the Americana plant. Inkbox works similarly to henna, however it uses a different molecule to penetrate the skin cell. It reacts with organic compounds to change your skin's color. 

Both henna and Inkbox tattoos are semi-permanent because they sit in your epidermis (the top layer of your skin) and last as long as your skin's regeneration. This is typically about 1-2 weeks, but is highly dependent on placement, daily activity, exfoliation, as well as the moisture of your skin. Did you know that there's a difference between semi-permanent and temporary? Similar to hair color, "temporary" just leaves the pigment on top and washes off. Whereas "semi permanent" allows the pigment/formula to sink in a bit and actually alters the colour of your hair/skin.


The paste of Natural Henna is dark brown, and the stain appears orange when the paste is first removed. It darkens over the next couple of days to a deep reddish-brown. Be warned, any other form of "colored" henna is not henna at all! Products such as "black henna" often contain artificial chemicals such as PPD, an ingredient also found in some hair dyes that can leave permanent scarring when applied on the skin. Google the results at your own risk!

When first applied, the Inkbox formula is a navy blue color. Once the application time has passed and the ink is washed off, the design may appear extremely lightly or not at all! This can be completely normal, as it develops and darkens over 24-36 hours into a dark blue-black result. 

Star System | Baby Steps | Tiny Dancers


Traditional henna is commonly applied directly to the skin using a cone tube. A mixture of lemon juice and white sugar is then applied over the design to remoisten the henna mud so that the henna will stain darker. It is left on the skin for 2-6 hours and develops over the next 24-72 hours.


 Our Freehand Ink is applied directly to the skin using our ergonomical bottle and stainless steel tip. After one hour, the formula is rinsed off with soap and warm water. The color gradually darkens through oxidation over 24-36 hours. 

Our inkbox catalog tattoos are applied with our patented applicator, and takes about an hour to apply! With over 9,000 designs and a custom platform, there's endless opportunities for commitment-free self-expression.


Henna (Mehndi) is a ceremonial art form which originated in the ancient Indian subcontinent. It is typically applied during weddings - for brides. The use of mehndi is described in the earliest Hindu Vedic ritual books.

Inkbox is inspired from a fruit that primarily grows in the jungles of the Darién Gap, Panama. This area is home to the Embera-Wounaan and Kuna indians, who still rely on their local forests for survivalWe're proud to donate a percentage of every sale to the Darién Initiative, who for 30 years have helped the indigenous people of the Darién Gap, Panama.

Here at Inkbox we love all forms of self-expression and body art. Whether it's henna, permanent tattoos or Inkbox, you do you!