A Black woman had an allergic reaction after using henna hair dye. The Grio reports Chemese Armstrong wanted to add some color to her hair, and when she used the plant-based hair colorant, it caused her face to swell. The lifestyle blogger posted a photo on her Instagram page showing her eyes swollen shut.
After learning she was allergic to paraphenylenediamine, an ingredient in commercial hair dye, Armstrong’s doctor suggested that she try the henna as an alternative. Armstrong described the incident on her YouTube page and visited a salon in Austin on March 5 to apply the dye. The following morning she had an allergic reaction.
“I woke up and my face was swollen,” said Armstrong. “And my scalp was on fire and I was in severe pain.”
Lots of Black women who wear their hair in its natural – or textured – state, and those who chemically straighten their hair, use henna. It is a plant derived from the subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia and northern Australasia. Mostly used to dye skin and hair, the plant usually turns hair a reddish color. It also has strengthening properties and is frequently touted as a natural and safe way to increase hair’s resistance to breakage, according to Madam Noire.
Armstrong said in a YouTube video that she doesn’t like doctors, but eventually she did see one to get treatment. After getting a shot to relieve her pain and swelling, she later found out that the henna used in her dying process was not chemical free. The self-proclaimed naturalist said she is now 75 percent better, but she still has some darkness and dryness surrounding her face.
“This just made me realize that I need to pay more attention to what I put in my body,” says Armstrong. “And what I put on my body.”
The entire ordeal is discussed in the vlogger’s video below.