Bad Henna Brows - What Can Go Wrong?

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on November 1, 2022

Bad henna brows can happen if the dye is left on for too long, not long enough, due to adverse effects, or insufficient precision when applying it.

bad henna brows gone wrong

Image source: Freepik

Henna brows are a semi-permanent brow enhancement procedure that’s done by applying a dye of natural origins to the brows. Sometimes, it’s called a semi-permanent tattoo, but it doesn’t involve any skin breaking – the dye stays on the skin’s surface.

It’s a much less invasive procedure than actual brow tattoos. It lasts a limited time, but it can give you just the brow enhancement you need, especially if you have a vacation or a special occasion coming up so you don’t really want a more permanent solution.

It’s a very simple procedure and the risks are extremely low, but bad henna brows can still happen. Let’s go through the ways in which a henna brows treatment can go wrong, what side effects may emerge, and how to fix henna eyebrows gone wrong.

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Can Bad Henna Brows Happen?

Yes, bad henna brows can happen, but most cases of henna brows gone wrong are dealt with easily and are not that serious, apart from the possibility of an allergic reaction or skin irritation.

The risks of henna brows are very low, and to explain why, let’s run through how henna brows are done:

Henna Brows Procedure

This procedure can be done at a salon or brow bar, or you can do it yourself. The process goes like this either way:

  • The brow area is cleaned to make sure dye absorption is even.
  • The henna is prepared – it usually comes in the form of liquid or powder that has to be mixed with an activator. At salons, different shades can be mixed to get a custom color. The components are mixed into a smooth paste.
  • The paste is applied onto the brows. The henna will stain the skin, so it’s important to create the shape you want.
  • It’s left on for the designated time. This is usually 20-ish minutes, but different formulas and shades may need more or less than this. If you’re DIY-in it, always follow the instructions provided with the kit.
  • The paste is cleaned off, and an optional nourishing oil is applied to the brows.

Super-simple, right?

The treatment takes very little time, and the skin isn’t broken in any way.

henna eyebrows gone wrong Image source: Freepik

So, What Can Go Wrong Here?

Well, if you’re getting a professional service, henna brows gone wrong and virtually impossible, except for maybe you just not liking the look. The technician should do a patch test to make sure you don’t have any reactions to the henna, and they know how to perform the procedure to get the best results.

But if you’re doing it yourself, the risk of bad henna eyebrows is greater. Here are the possible henna eyebrows gone wrong scenarios:

The Henna Didn’t Work

You’ve gone through all the steps, but when you remove the henna paste, not much has changed. Your brows changed color very little or not at all, and the dye didn’t leave any stain on the skin.

Why This Happens

You probably didn’t leave the henna on for long enough, or the color you chose was too light.

How to Fix It

Just repeat the treatment and leave the paste on for longer. Or, get a darker shade and try that.

henna brows gone wrongImage source: Freepik

Henna Brows Too Dark

The treatment can also go wrong in the opposite direction – your henna brows turn out too dark! They look much darker than the picture promised.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you got bad henna brows – you might like it! But if you don’t you’ll know what to do next time.

Why This Happens

You either left the henna on for too long, or you got the wrong shade. Pictures on henna kits can sometimes be misleading, and it can be difficult to determine which shade will suit you best.

How to Fix It

The stain henna leaves on the skin can be removed, but the color from the brows hairs can only be lightened a bit, not drastically.

You’ll just have to wait out the 4-6 weeks for your brow hairs to grow out and go back to their natural shade. Only then can you repeat the treatment with a lighter shade.

The Shape Turned Out Messy or Wrong

As we’ve mentioned, the henna doesn’t only color the hairs – it also leaves a stain on the skin which can actually look great. It gives the brows some extra fullness and it can modify the shape of your arches a bit.

But you have to be extremely careful and precise when applying the henna to ensure you get the shape you want. Henna stains the skin quite quickly, so you need to be fast with removing drops of henna from areas you don’t want it to stain.

Why This Happens

When they come into contact with the skin, the colorant components in henna bind themselves to the molecules in the skin and leave cells pigmented. The longer the henna is left on the skin, the further it will get absorbed in the skin, and it will leave a more visible stain.

How to Fix It

If it’s not too bad, you can just wait a few days – the pigmented skin cells will get exfoliated off naturally and as you’re washing your face.

You can use different ingredients to remove the henna from the areas you don’t want stained, but some shades can be really persistent. You can also exfoliate the skin – the pigmented cells are just the outermost layer of the skin and scrub can remove a portion of them (just don’t go too harsh).

You can find detailed instructions on how to remove henna from skin in this guide.


To prevent bad henna brows shapes, you can use a cream or sticky patches to outline the shape you want. This way, you prevent the color from going outside of the borders and keep the edges crisp and tidy.

henna eyebrows shape turned wrongImage source: Freepik

You Had an Allergic Reaction

Certain components of henna are known to cause allergies in a portion of the population (especially black henna, which is used less and less often in cosmetic dyes). Even if you’re generally not prone to allergies, your skin may react to this substance.

If you feel any sensation along the lines of burning or stinging at any point of doing henna brows, this can be a sign of an upcoming allergic reaction. The allergy can manifest itself in the form of continued itching, burning or stinging, or break out into a rash.

If this happens, it’s advisable you see a dermatologist.

Why This Happens

You didn’t do a patch test!

With any cosmetic product, but especially for substances known to cause allergies in some people, you should always test it on a small, hidden area of the skin before you apply it right on your face.

Dab a tiny drop of henna in the crease of your elbow, let it sit for a while, and if everything is fine after 48 hours, it’s safe to use it on your face.

How to Fix It

Visit a dermatologist and let them assess whether you need any sort of treatment.

It goes without saying, you definitely shouldn’t use the product again.

If you’re not willing to give up on the treatment regardless of this henna eyebrows gone wrong scenario, you can try a different brand next time and do a patch test!

Bad Henna Brows – Main Takeaways

Unlike with actual brow tattoos, bad henna brows are not that serious, but it’s still a hassle that’s best avoided.

The fool-proof way to avoid henna eyebrows gone wrong scenarios is to book a professional treatment and let the technician worry about everything, but if you want to DIY it, just make sure you do a patch test (this is very important – why put your body and mind through the stress of an allergic reaction?), follow the instructions provided with the kit keeping close track of timing, and try to be as precise as possible when actually applying the henna.



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