Jagua vs Henna: Tradition and Aesthetics

September 14, 2018 2 min read

Temporary tattoos are nothing new--eastern and middle eastern nations have created them since antiquity using henna. Indian brides, for example, have an ongoing tradition of adorning their hands with elaborate henna designs for their wedding. The ink is extremely popular, and is now found worldwide, including and especially here in the US. Chances are, your first encounter with temporary ink involved henna. It’s a staple at fairs and festivals and is a common ingredient in natural hair dyes and DIY projects.

Henna, despite its popularity, is not the only temporary dye that has withstood the test of time. Ancient tribes in South America have made their own temporary tattoos for centuries using jagua. Jagua ink is a natural dye that is extracted from the juices of the Genipa Americana fruit. This tropical fruit has long been used by indigenous tribes for its dye as well as for its nutritional and medicinal properties. The ancient Kayapo tribe in Brazil, for instance, continue to use Jagua ink in their day-to-day life and for sacred rituals.

Jagua Tree

Jagua is the main ingredient of our temporary ink. The juice is extracted from unripe fruit and processed into a gel form that is suitable for body art. There are various ways of preparing the gel--ingredients such as xanthan gum, citric acid, potassium sorbate, and essential oils are typically added in order to enhance the texture, scent, and longevity of the ink.

You may be wondering why we use jagua for our ink, as opposed to the more popular henna. Despite serving similar functions, jagua and henna each have distinct features. Of the two, jagua is a more convincing dupe of real tattoo ink--it has a deep blue to black tone, whereas henna is brown. Henna needs about 6-12 hours before you wash it off while Jagua requires 2-3 hours. A jagua tattoo does not require any special aftercare, unlike Henna that usually requires the use of a lemon/sugar mixture to protect it from cracking and to give it a much darker tone.  

Easy.ink's Royal Lotus Tattoo

Both henna and jagua tattoos last 1-2 weeks, depending on how and where on the body they are applied. However, jagua typically lasts slightly longer than henna. There are a few steps you can take to increase the longevity of your jagua tattoo. Be sure to check out our  Tips & Tricks  for information on how to get the most out of your temporary tattoo.



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