Recently our TikTok feeds have been flooded with an inundation of Gen-Zers assaulting their bare faces with a smattering of carefully placed henna dots, in the pursuit of achieving realistic-looking faux freckles – and tbh we're not mad about it
The semi-permanent makeup trend, though adorable, is easy to eff up so we’ve done the research into the application process so you don’t have to.
Selecting the right henna for your freckles
First things first, when it comes to henna (and we cannot stress this enough) it is of the utmost importance that the henna is in fact intended for use on skin. With henna also being a popular pick for semi-permanently colouring hair and tinting brows, you need to ensure that the henna you are using is specifically skin safe.
Henna that is typically used for hair-related purposes, such as black henna, is to be avoided at all costs for this reason. According to dermatologist Melanie Palm, who recently spoke to Allure about the buzzy trend; "Black henna can cause severe skin problems if used for tattooing. These are intended for use on the hair, and not for cosmetic use on the skin."
Red henna is instead the safest option for use on skin. Though it initially results in an orange stain, this then develops into a soft brown, for a natural-looking freckle finish. This method of henna freckles then subtly fades over time and should disappear completely 3-5 days after application. Palm also promotes selecting a naturally-derived formula and advises those keen to try the trend to closely inspect the ingredients list prior to application.
"Henna tattoos, especially those with added dyes, can be a source of contact allergens, which can cause various skin responses,” Palmer explained.
“The irritation depends on the severity of the allergy and length and concentration of exposure. Severe responses can cause oozing, inflammation, skin redness, and severe pain or itching."
"If it smells like you're at the gas station or if it just immediately gives you a headache, don't go near it," Palmer warns. Instead, look for formulas with natural scents such as lavender or eucalyptus and always do a patch test just in case. We’re talking especially to all you sensitive-skinned guys and gals.
How to apply henna freckles
As with any dye product, you’ll need to ensure your skin has been effectively cleansed of any dirt or makeup and is dry prior to application – though some TikTok and Instagram users seem to prefer to apply a facial oil before randomly speckling their cheeks and noses with dots of henna. Case and point, beauty ‘grammer @uglycharm, who likes to apply a few drops of carrot oil to the areas she will be applying the henna to:
Once applied, simply leave the henna on for a few hours and remove using a micellar or oil-based makeup remover, followed by a cleanse and a light serum or basic moisturiser to finish.
Still feeling a little confused or just in need of some freckle-faced inspo before you dive into the trend for yourself? Here are some snappy tutorials that we found on TikTok that take you through the process, including how to apply and disperse your henna dots across your face for the most natural results possible:
Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.