People On The Internet Are Using Henna As A Semi-Permanent Contour - And You Can Too

The world of cosmetology is constantly evolving but in a good way. Whether the new "it" haircuts such as mullet-inspired "Bullet Bob" or Daxi, the popular Botox alternative, every facet of the beauty industry is impacted by innovations that can take your overall look to the next level. Now, a beautifully executed makeup technique is solidifying its position among glam gurus after years of quietly bubbling in the shadows. And that's thanks in part to the rise of social media.

The henna contour method is a hot topic right now, though its origins on the internet began back in 2015. Self-taught MUA Shahina Aslam is the recognized inventor of henna contour. She gained attention in 2015 for showcasing the look as part of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit contest. Soon after, fellow self-taught makeup professional Sahur Saleim recreated the look in an Instagram video. Now, thanks to TikTok and YouTube, this very precise application technique is becoming incredibly popular, but is it really worth the effort?

What is henna contour?

While the name might be off-putting, have no fear. You're not expected to use the long-lasting henna ink on your face. Traditionally, semi-permanent henna dye is applied to the skin in gorgeous patterns to create a tattoo-like effect. This design typically lasts up to two weeks before fading away. Using this for your contour could be a nuisance when it's time to wash away the next day.

In the original concept of the henna contour, you'd merely apply your silhouette in patterns across your face, commonly seen in this washable tattoo. With henna contour, you'll add intricate swirls and dots instead of lines and carefully blend them into your foundation. The technique is usually pulled off with a fine brush because, after all, this method does take some artistic abilities. Pakistani makeup artist Sahur Saleim spoke with Marie Claire shortly after her rendition of henna contour went viral, admitting that the application process alone takes up to an hour. In place of the ink, Saleim suggests the LA Girl Pro-Conceal in Espresso for the contour and a MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC42 for the highlight. In essence, you'll draw on your mug using products you likely already have in your makeup kit. The process may seem excessive since you'll destroy the patterns by combining the concealers and the foundation, but for the sake of getting a quality beauty moment, go for it.

Some people are bold enough to use semi-permanent henna ink

While this technique doesn't necessarily require henna ink, as demonstrated by creator Shahina Aslam, some people are electing to push the boundaries by insisting on adding actual henna pigment for their contour. Skincare and fashion TikToker ZFen gained over 53,000 views on her henna ink contour video in early March. Instead of the delicate swirls and flowers, ZFen fearlessly slaps thick lines of ink under her chin and along her cheekbones. Though these contour streaks may last longer than desired, the results are a flawlessly blended matte finish with no harsh spots.

Henna ink in makeup is not a new trend, though its reach continues to extend. "Henna brows" involves applying semi-permanent tinted ink to the eyebrows that also colors the skin underneath them. "Henna freckles" are also a rising trend on TikTok that offers specks to the face, which can last a while before they need re-applying. If you choose to give any of these makeup hacks a shot, using everyday cosmetics first can help you decide where to place your henna designs, dots, or lines. If that works out, go big with the long-lasting henna ink.