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    Temp Tat News — jagua

    Tattoo Lovers: Try Jagua First!

    Tattoo Lovers: Try Jagua First!

    So you're thinking about getting a tattoo, but you're not sure what to get. And this is important since you'll be looking at your tattoo for the rest of your life, right? I know this seems like an obvious thing to say, but sometimes what's obvious for some is hiding in plain sight for others: jagua tattoos look just like permanent tattoos, except they last two weeks.

    We were at a tattoo convention once, and a young woman walked into our booth and asked the artist for a design she was thinking about getting as a permanent tattoo. The next day, she came back, showed us her design (as you know it takes 24-48 hours for both henna and jagua stains to develop on the skin). Even though she had only waited 24 hours, she knew she loved it. She walked right across the aisle to one of the tattoo artists and requested the very same design on another part of her body. That was like, wow! Sometimes you just know what you want, I guess.

    With jagua, you can live with a design for two weeks before making the big decision. And unlike that woman, most people have a much harder time making up their minds about something as important as permanent body art. So, if you're trying to decide which tattoo you might want for eternity, I highly recommend trying out a jagua tattoo first. They're gorgeous; their blue/black color looks just like the real thing, there's no pain, no needles, you can change your mind if you want to, and they last two weeks! 

    Our Earth Henna black Jagua Tattoo kits come with everything you need to create your own design. The stencil transfers that come included in the kit make it super easy. But if you have a specific design in mind and you don't know how to draw, I suggest you ask an artist friend to do it for you so you can get a real sense of how it will look. Why not give yourself some options when it's so simple to get a preview? 

    Visit our website at, and check out our various jagua tattoo kits!


    Halloween May Be Over But...

    Halloween May Be Over But...

    There is one more mysterious and magical activity you can partake in with jagua as your guide. In my last post, I suggested you get together with friends and shrink somebody's head as a fun and scary idea for Halloween. This one is a little more subtle, though. You can disappear!

    I don't know about you but when I first heard of the "cloak of invisibility" in the first Harry Potter movie, I totally wanted one. But magical and mystical powers don't usually work the way they show it in the movies. The end result is the same but how you get there is often a little more earthly. 

    In my book, Jagua, A Journey into Body Art from the Amazon, there's a chapter called Jagua Magic, which recounts the many magical myths and belief systems of various Indigenous groups in the Amazon around the jagua fruit. When it comes to the belief around jagua helping people achieve invisibility, it's easy to understand how it came about: when certain tribes would head out to attack another tribe, the members would paint their entire bodies with jagua, turning them black, and thus easily camouflaged and impossible to see as they moved stealthily through the forest, especially at night! Hence, jagua = invisibility.

    Another evidence of jagua's power to confer invisibility is entwined with the Indigenous Kuna people's beliefs around the soul's perilous "Journey of the Dead." A shaman stands over the deceased and uses special chants, amulets, plants and seeds needed to help the soul through multiple dangers and traps, including swimming through roiled rivers and boiling waters, leagues of hungry alligators, oceans of giant sharks, as well as scaling of rigorous, snake-infested mountains. PLUS, the soul needs to travel through dwellings where trapped souls will do anything to stop this spirit's forward motion to heaven.

    For this purpose, the shaman brings with him the sacred fruit of the jagua tree to paint the soul black so that it may avoid detection by these dreaded trapped spirits. Once the soul has successfully overcome these trials, he will vanish into a void for a long period of time. When he emerges, he will be a purified, immortal and superior being charged with overseeing the fate of humans in the physical world. So, not only can jagua make you invisible, it also helps turn you into a superhero! 

    But does it really work? You may ask. Well here's the proof, provided by Felicia, a friend whose forehead was painted with a  pretty jagua design before she knew about an unexpected trip to New York. The only problem was she had lost her I.D. and her passport was expired. But she decided to try anyway, in spite of her prominent facial tattoo, and here's her report:

    “I was never stopped,” she said. “From the ticketing agent to the security people, they just waved me on through.”

    Anyone traveling in post 9/11 America knows that this is impossible. Two weeks later, her tattoo had faded, and Felicia flew back to Los Angeles, again with no I.D. and an expired passport; and, here's what she told us:

    “Every step of the way, I was the only one chosen for a random search.”

    If you need to be invisible for any reason, I suggest you get yourself to our website at and get yourself a jagua tattoo kit. It works!

    Photo: Felicia with her facial tattoo 


    Design ideas for Halloween--Free!

    Design ideas for Halloween--Free!

    Believe it or not, we, here at Earth Henna, may not be as big as, but like that retail behemoth which seeks to be "...the Earth’s most customer-centric company”, we think about our customers a lot. We pride ourselves on having the best products on Earth, and in providing the best customer experience ever. Unless you're being unduly mean and nasty to us, we're going to take care of you and make sure you walk away happy! Which is why, as special days and holidays approach, we put on our thinking caps and try to come up with ideas that will put a smile on your face. 

    I bet you can guess which special day is coming up, right? Yes, in a couple of weeks, on October 31, that day which celebrates all things dead, lots of people are going to be thinking about what frightening things they'll be doing that night, and, most importantly, what they'll be wearing. Well, we're not in the costume rental business, but, as purveyors of Earth Henna temporary tattoos, we do fall into the fashion accessory category, or in this case, costume accessory.

    Think about it, there are so many ways to enhance your costume with henna or jagua or white henna tattoos! As we brainstormed ideas for Halloween, we came up with a plan I think you'll love: a free download of Halloween-themed designs! Check it out.

    All you have to do is click here, and you'll be able to download and print this stencil sheet. I can see that crow filled in with black jagua gel, can't you? Or the hat, or cat. And what about that cute ghost? Seems to me white henna was made just for this design! 

    If you already have your Earth Henna jagua, henna or white henna kit, then you're good to go. If not, just head on over to our website, where we've got a 20% off sale going until October 31st. Just use code ALLTREATS20. Because this year, at Earth Henna, our theme is No Tricks, All Treats. Happy Halloween!

    5 Things I Learned from Henna Tattoos

    5 Things I Learned from Henna Tattoos

    I've been in the temporary tattoo business for 20 years now, and along the way, I've learned a few things. Here are just five of them:

    1. People are looking for meaning in their lives

    Even though they're temporary--whether they're getting a henna tattoo or a jagua tattoo or a white henna tattoo--people care about what goes on their bodies, and they want it to mean something. Preferably, something with weight, like the very popular yin/yang symbol, which speaks to our universality in its representation of the shadow/light or negative/positive aspect of all things.

    2. Everyone loves body art

    Whether you're 6 or 60 years old, I don't care who you are, you love body adornment, even more so if it's temporary. I've been at enough events, where the most unusual suspects, like an 80-year-old grandmother or a biker dude, will sit with an artist and ask for a butterfly on the chest or barbed wire around a bicep. Cosmetics, jewelry, permanent tattoos, and piercings haven't come and gone. They've stuck around ever since they first showed up. A temporary tattoo is just the latest iteration (in the west) of a new way to decorate the body, and I'm here to report that, if given the chance to enhance their bodies with an artistic creation, people will go for it every time.

    3. People believe in magic (or they want to)

    Magical beliefs abound around henna and jagua tattoos. In India, all brides have their hands painted with henna before their weddings because they believe that the darker the stain comes out, the longer the love will last between the couple. The henna plant is also believed to be infused with the positive power of the saints. In the Amazon jungle, Indigenous people believe that staining one's body with the juice of the jagua fruit will keep away evil spirits. In other words, you will be lucky and enjoy protection from the gods. It is my firm belief that these mythical beliefs play a big part in the popularity of henna and jagua tattoos. They're all-natural, and contain the power to bring me luck? Sign me up!

    4. All-natural products come with a price

    Oh, how I wish I could guarantee all my customers that they will get a specific color when they paint their bodies with henna or jagua! Of course, the majority of users will obtain beautiful, dark, rich stains on the skin, as long as the henna paste or jagua gel is of superior quality to begin with. However (don't you hate howevers?), these are natural products working with our natural body chemistry. So, there are many factors that might work against you getting fabulous color, like body temperature (chilly types should drink a hot beverage during the application process to ensure success); lifestyle (chlorinated pools or hot tubs will reduce the life of your tattoo); if you're an obsessive hand washer, and your design is on your hand, ditto. Extreme stress or fatigue can also be a factor. Not to worry though! If you got light color, for any number of reasons, just trace over it, or just try it again. Next time will surely be the charm.

    5. Henna tattoos rock!

    This goes for jagua tattoos too. And I'm not just saying that because I sell henna tattoo kits and jagua tattoo kits. It's just that, in all my years of watching people get a henna or jagua design drawn on their body, the end reaction is always a big fat smile. Mind you, sometimes people don't pay attention to the aftercare instructions provided, and end up with a transfer of their jagua tattoo on their face if their hand leaned up against their face while sleeping. Did we say jagua tattoos last two weeks? The good news is that the stuff that transfers from one part of your body to the other by mistake won't last that long, only 2-3 days. And! There are concealer products made just for hiding tattoos (like if you have a big meeting and you look like you have a black eye!). But, mistakes aside, if 5-hour long waiting lines for henna tattoos (like at Vidcon), and big, huge smiles are any indication, I'm telling you, henna tattoos rock!


    Frequently Asked Questions About Jagua

    Frequently Asked Questions About Jagua

    For all you pros out there, this information may be old hat but lots of folks still don't know what jagua is and how it works. So I thought I would reprint this chapter titled Frequently Asked Questions about Jagua from my book Jagua, A Journey into Body Art from the Amazon.

    Is jagua the same as black henna?

    No. Black henna does not even exist, although there are some who insist on arguing the point. For example, on the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles, many artists openly offer “black henna tattoos” even though the natural color of the stain obtained from the henna plant has always been and will always be reddish brown. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I believe they’ve bought some shady supplier’s story when they swear that there is a brown henna plant and a black henna plant, even though at this point in time, they should know better. So-called “black henna” doesn’t even necessarily contain henna. Mostly, the concoctions used are made from black hair dye containing a potentially dangerous chemical called para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which seems to be safe on the scalp but not on the skin. This substance can be found in photographic developer, printing inks, lithography plates, black rubber, oils and gasoline. Lucky people don’t suffer any physical reactions from it. Many people, however, do sustain serious rashes, permanent scarring and long-term health problems when exposed to PPD.

    Finally, henna is a plant. Jagua is a fruit.


    How does jagua work to stain the skin?

    Indigenous people in the Amazon squeeze the pulp of the fruit to obtain the juice. At first it looks clear like water, but 30 minutes after being exposed to air, the oxidation process turns it black. In some cases, they mix it with charcoal, then apply it to their skin either with their fingers or with fine sticks.

    Transporting the fruit, juice or extract to the United States and packaging it so that it can be applied to the skin (with easy applicators, as opposed to sticks) is a little more complicated. The jagua fruit extract is used as a base, with other natural ingredients added to it to keep it fresh and safe from bacteria while in transit or stored for sale. Once it is applied on the skin, the gel takes 30 to 45 minutes to dry. Two hours later, the dried gel is peeled off, leaving a gray stain, which grows darker over 48 hours to a dark blue-black stain. This stain lasts approximately two weeks.


    Does the stain disappear completely?

    Yes. It gets lighter and lighter as the skin exfoliates, and disappears completely.


    Does it hurt to get a jagua tattoo?

    No. The skin is never pierced and it does not hurt. The gel is applied, like henna, on top of the skin, and it only penetrates the uppermost layer of the skin. The application of jagua gel to the skin is 100% pain-free.


    If I keep the gel on my skin longer than two hours, will I get a darker stain?

    Two hours is sufficient to obtain the darkest color. Leaving it on longer will not yield a darker or longer-lasting stain. Leaving it on overnight is not recommended.


    Are there any side effects to using jagua?

    No. As with anything else in the natural world, however, allergic reactions are always possible, depending on the individual (think peanuts or strawberries). After selling the product to thousands of people, my impression is that it is safe. The only time we heard of someone having a reaction, it turned out the person was on serious medication of various sorts. It is known that certain drugs can sensitize the skin to things such as sunlight and certain topical preparations. Therefore, we recommend that people taking medication check first with their doctor before applying jagua (or anything else, for that matter) on their skin. In addition, it is always prudent to do a small patch test first before attempting a full-size tattoo. Like with all products, it is important that people read instructions, as well as all warnings labels before using.

    Something else to consider: jagua is a fruit. Anyone with sensitivities to fruit should definitely do a patch test first.


    Aside from the color it produces, does jagua differ from henna in any way?

    Yes. Unlike henna, which is best mixed into a paste just before use, the jagua gel is sold pre-mixed and ready to go; no other preparation is required. In addition, the jagua gel does not need to stay on the skin as long as henna; as previously mentioned, two hours is sufficient. Jagua takes a little longer to dry than henna, depending on the size of the design.

    Henna has a very distinctive, earthy scent; jagua is virtually odorless. Finally, henna grows in hot, dry desert climates; jagua prefers it hot, moist and tropical.

    Note: In the similarities department, henna and jagua are both organic substances, which means they are, by nature, somewhat unpredictable. They refuse to be pigeonholed! For example, different people may obtain different results because henna and jagua interact with each individual’s body temperature, skin type, lifestyle, “time of the month,” or even state of mind when the products are applied. Occasionally we’ll get calls from people saying something like, “My husband got great color, but I didn’t!” Since it’s obviously not the fault of the henna or jagua, all we can say is, “Try re-applying it over the initial design.” Sometimes a double application is what it takes.


    How long does the jagua gel stay fresh once you open the bottle?

    The sooner you use it up, the better. If it is refrigerated, however, it should stay fresh and maintain its potency for up to two months.


    Why is the jagua gel sometimes black, sometimes gray, and sometimes brown?

    The juice may change color, depending on the season. Regardless of the gel’s color, it still stains the skin blue-black.


    Why does the gel sometimes look marbled as it dries?

    Again, it depends on the season; but regardless of how the gel dries, the end result is still the same: a blue-black stain on the skin.


    Do jagua tattoos show up on dark skin?



    Can I use it anywhere on my body?

    Yes—just make sure to keep it out of your eyes.


    Are there certain areas of the body that stain better than others?

    As with henna, the stain is darkest on the hands and feet. Biceps seem to stain a little lighter, but not by much.


    Once my jagua tattoo starts to fade, is there any way to restore it to its original color?

    Yes. Simply retrace over the design with more gel once the design has disappeared.


    Does jagua permanently stain fabric, wood, and other porous surfaces the way henna does?

    No. With fabric, if you wash it right away with soap, the gel will come off without leaving a stain. We have gotten jagua gel on our blond wood table and concrete counters, and it washes off with a damp cloth, even after several hours. However, it does stain the skin, and quickly! If you get jagua on your hands as you apply it, wash it off immediately or sooner!


    If I want to remove a jagua tattoo, what should I do?

    There is no quick fix. You can rub it gently with soap and a washcloth to lessen the staining effect. Gently rubbing mineral oil (baby oil) on the area several times a day will make it fade more quickly, but it will still take a few days to disappear completely.


    What can I do to help my tattoo last longer?

    Avoid chlorinated pools and soaking in hot tubs. It may be useful to apply a layer of petroleum jelly to the tattoo before swimming or showering.


    Is it safe for pregnant women and children to use jagua?



    Do I have to be an artist to work with jagua?

    To make beautiful designs on the skin, it helps to be an artist or to know how to draw. However, if you are like me and can’t draw even a crooked line, there is help. Our kits come with stencil transfers that make it easy enough for a 10-year-old to make beautiful tattoos. Various types of stencils can also be found in art stores and on the internet.


    Which do you prefer, henna or jagua?

    What I like is irrelevant, of course. Different strokes for different folks. But since I get this question a lot, I thought I would include it here, and answer it too! Since I have never been interested in getting a permanent tattoo, I am more drawn to henna because it is so obviously not a real tattoo. Plus, I love its earthy, reddish brown color, which reminds me of that beautiful red dirt in Hawaii. I think henna is fabulous and jagua is cool. Or is it that jagua is fabulous and henna is cool? Gulp…I can’t decide.