Henna freckles have taken over TikTok

Here are the dos and dont’s for trying the adorable trend

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / November 13 2020

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:

If you didn’t know, Henna brows are also a thing… Here’s everything you need to know about henna eyebrow tinting.

Main image credit:@salemmitchell

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).