NOTE: If this is your first time here, it is very important to keep in mind that many of the ideas expressed in this blog represent older versions of myself, and not necessarily my current self. After all, we evolve, and sometimes change our minds. In the meantime, enjoy lurking around, and watch the video trailer for my upcoming book here.

Sudanese Henna

by Drima on December 22, 2006



Traditional designs are mostly of roses and flowers. They’re very popular and mostly done on the hands and feet. I find them boring but I’ve seen really cool new styles of Henna designs during my last holiday in Sudan. Some of them include fire dragons, lions and ancient Egyptian/Nubian designs. They’re not common yet though but I hope more and more girls start getting them. It’s a good thing Henna isn’t considered haram in Islam. I’d like to get some Henna designs done on the back of my neck and I think a Henna tattoo of a python with the head of a lion looking like it’s wrapped around a girl’s leg from her thigh all the way down to her foot will look DAMN HOT! The cool thing about Henna is that it’s not permenant. It fades away after about 2 to 3 weeks and hence you can get a new design in the place of the older one. Cool right? :)

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Sudan’s Sex and Beauty Secret : The Sudanese Thinker
12.13.07 at 3:04 pm

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mahoya 12.22.06 at 8:49 pm

Sudanese henna is such an amazing tradition.. I just simply love it!
I haven’t actually seen any of these dragon/Nubian designs but they sound pretty cool.
The traditional roses/flowers designs are also very elegant.
Very beautiful :)

2 Precious 12.23.06 at 9:21 am

I love the henna on New Brides.. GOD it just looks so beautiful on them.. Makes me so anxious!! LOL

As for simple Henna Tattoos, the new trend is drawing wat might seem like a braclet either in one hand or around the ankles.. Looks good too..

3 The Raccoon 12.23.06 at 2:52 pm

Man, the henna on the feet looks absolutely gorgeous! Damn, I think I know now how to sate my wife’s cravings for tattoos :)

4 Drima 12.23.06 at 3:03 pm

Raccoon, Sudanese Henna is famous for being very dark black in color unlike other Hennas which are lighter brown.

Once I’m living under my own roof and by my own rules, I’m going to get some cool Henna tattoos done on me and my future wife every once in a while. I find the new designs freaking sexy. Too bad I have no pics of them.

Imagine the pythom tattoo I described. Yummy!

5 Suzanne 12.23.06 at 6:48 pm

Is painting dragons and lions and stuff not haram?

6 Drima 12.23.06 at 7:16 pm

No of course not. Unless you’re talking about some of the retarded Wahabi Salafi so called Islamic scholars out there issuing brainfart fatwas.

Such interpretations are only accepted by a very very small percentage of Sudanese Muslims. We’re generally open when it comes to music and art.

7 Hipster 12.24.06 at 9:56 am

DRima, No fair,I wanted to write about this topic!!!

I love henna especially when the drawings are kinky(like what you mentioned) & when it’s done on unconventional places like the lower spine & as an armlet.

8 The Usual Suspect 12.24.06 at 3:09 pm

Ooooh these are nice. I get hennaed every now and then but it’s not as nice as this stuff. I’ve found the brown Henna here but can’t find the darker kind anywhere.

I like that you like but my man doesn’t appreciate it when I have it done. Maybe he’d like it more if I tried some of these designs! Hmmmm- I have an idea!!

9 Gemma 10.19.07 at 10:57 am

Isn’t Sudanese henna “black” though? This can leave permanent scars.

10 SD 09.25.08 at 2:18 pm

Black colored henna has been used by the Sudanese for generations and nothing bad has ever happened to their skin!!!! I have applied it on myself numerous times – no scarring etc. It is the ingredients in Sudanese henna that is high in demand I think and people are jealous.

11 Yasmin Rahemani 02.22.09 at 12:19 pm

I have a salon in Abu Dhabi and absoutely love Sudanese henna, is it possible to get the ingredients and pictures please. Thank you in advance

12 Maatira 03.14.09 at 4:51 pm

Peace and blessings

Can I buy some of your beautiful henna please.

Peace and Blessing-Maatira

13 Malak 10.06.09 at 7:20 am


Do you have more pics of Sudan Henna designs… specially the newer ones?


14 angelica reichelt 02.17.10 at 10:38 pm

i got a black henna tattoo in a salon in abu dhabi and now i am very! scared, because i heard a lot of terrible things of this black henna, which contains ppd, a dangerous chemical which can cause really bad allergies and other health problems. so how do i know if the salon uses the dangerous one or not? are there also healthy,natural, black ones too?? it was in the intercont hotel in abu dhabi.
thank you very much!

15 Su 07.20.10 at 2:42 pm

This is an answer to Gemma, who had a question about black henna in 2007.

Gemma, if you are still checking this blog, please look at this informative link which may help answer answer your question.

In particular, please check the reference of Hashim S., Hamza Y., Yahia B., Khogali F. and Sulieman G, ” Poisoning from Henna Dye and Para-phenylenediamine Mixtures in Children in Khartoum” Annals of Tropical Pediatrics 12, 3 – 6.

The article states: “Poisoning by a mixture of henna dye and para-phenylenediamine dyes led to the hospitalization of 31 Sudanese children between 1984 and 1989. There was a characteristic clinical presentation. All children presented with an acute and severe angioneurotic oedema and 15 of the cases required emergency tracheostomy for respiratory obstruction. Acute renal failure occurred in five children who recovered after peritoneal dialysis. Mortality was high, all 13 deaths occurring within 24 hours of presentation. Hypotensive shock gave a poor prognosis. It is possible that similar cases may be occurring unrecognized where henna is traditionally used. A programme of public education and restriction of para-phenylenediamine is urgently required in The Sudan and other affected nations. Ingestion was accidental in 12 children, deliberate in 10 and homicidal in three cases. Cutaneous absorption was likely in the remaining six.”


16 raihan 12.28.10 at 4:49 am

hi please forward me latest henna design of sudan

17 yasmin 09.20.11 at 1:53 pm

its marvolous i love can i get more latest designs of it

18 Umm Aisha 06.03.12 at 8:25 pm

Im really shocked by the ignorant statements that are made here. There is no such a thing as BLACK Henna. Henna is not black, has never been and will never be.
Maybe most sudanese women didnt react to it (or at least they think they didnt because u dont need to get a scar, but it always enters into your blood and stays there forever and causes allergies, and damages to the lounges and other organs) but that doesnt mean its not dangerous! Every so called black henna has PPD in it, there is no other way to create this colour to stain. Pls google what PPD does. And then u come back and tell me its not dangerous.
Never was this tradition in the Sudanese culture, they didnt even have black dye before that, how could it be tradition? And in no way is this Sunnah. Only the real natural Henna is Sunnah. It could actually be classified to be unlawful in Islam since its proven to be harmful but dont quote me on that.
Sudanese Henna Designs are beautiful and you can achieve an absolutely gorgeous colour without having to use this stuff. Henna might be added to this but what actually colours it black is hair dye. Now hair dye is not supposed to come on the skin and that is about 6% PPD you use when you colour your hair. The amount of PPD that actually comes on your skin when you draw goes up to 70% and more!!! What kind of great ingredient are you talking about that people are jealous of??

Btw, for muslims, its Haram to apply Henna on men or to get it applied as a man except to colour the beard and not for body decoration. And thats no Salafi opinion but confirmed ruling. Same as drawing living beings, the ruling doesnt change for henna nor for Sudanese people, even if they think they are open-minded. Islam doesnt change with people, people should be changing with Islam

19 Umm Aisha 06.03.12 at 8:28 pm

There is no way to make henna black naturally. there are alternatives though as Khidab (widely used in Yemen) and Indigo (which gives a blueish black colour), both not harmful to the skin

20 Sagir 10.10.12 at 10:11 pm

I like henna a lot. My wife makes sure she wares it always. Is the only thing that differentiate women from men. It makes women more feminine. It is lovely.

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