Henna, Amla & Other Ayurvedic Herbs

Henna powder

My overall Henna Treatments always include a combination of Henna and Amla – from there I include other ingredients such as Ayurvedic Herbs (Hibiscus), Green Tea (as the mixing agent for a simple full strength henna treatment), cocoa butter (for bars), conditioner/coconut Cream (for henna glosses). Below you will find links to the different types of henna treatments I use on my hair and I generally will use one of them at least once a month since my hair LOVES henna. I have also written up a lot of information about Henna And Amla along wit a few of their pro’s and con’s but I strongly suggest that you do additional research on henna, especially if this is your first time using it! 

List of my Henna Mixes:

Along with the write up I have Pro and Con video about Henna and Amla that gives further details about the herbs.

IMPORTANT! If you have allergies to any of the ingredients DO NOT use them! I am not a Doctor, Physician nor a Cosmetologist. I am just providing information for educational purposes and any use thereof is solely at your own risk. The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.  Once you have done that, do patch tests before you put anything all over your head. Please consider this as my advice. You are responsible if you choose to follow some of my methods.

Henna:

  • It penetrates into the hair follicles and cuticles and therefore not only strengthens the roots and outside of our hair but also the core which helps protect against breakage.
  • It has its own antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties which can help combat dandruff as well as healing scalp irritations and dryness.
  • If you suffer from hair loss or thinning due to scalp irritations (mentioned above) henna can help combat that which can reduce excessive hair fall.
  • It adds a sheen, making hair shiny!

Amla (Indian Gooseberry):

  • Improves pigmentation and color of hair and has been said to darken hair with frequent use.
  • Helps to strengthen and thicken hair. 
  • It stimulates hair follicles and can therefore not only treat hair loss but promote hair growth.
  • Similar to Henna; Amla can help with scalp problems such as itching, dandruff and boils.
  • It can be used as a natural hair “cleanser”.
  • Amla is known to help restore curls. 

IMPORTANT: A COUPLE OF THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

  • Pure natural henna DOES NOT come in a variety of colors.
  • Henna is derived from a  flower plant Lawsonia genus and ONLY dyes the hair with an Orange-ish/red tint. There are a number of products in the market that claim to be “black henna”, “blond henna”, “chocolate brown henna” etc. These ‘colored henna’ are sometimes laced with toxic ingredients and heavy metals such as Para-Phenylenediamine (PPD).
  • Reactions to PPD can range from an itchy scalp/body, swelling to an intensely burning/itching sensation spreading across the skin. Serious reactions to PPD can be urticaria and anaphylaxis, which are both severe types of rashes. An allergic reaction has been known to put individuals into a coma; on rare occasions it has proven fatal! Please make sure you are buying from a reliable source and that you do patch tests before you apply it all over your head! 
  • Henna and Amla can make the hair feel dry right after using it so it is ALWAYS important to do a Moisturizing DC afterwards. 
  • Do not brush your hair while you have Henna or Amla in your hair. That is just screaming for breakage as the mixture is thick and heavy.
  • Due to the natural orange/red tint of Henna it is used as a natural hair dye and can give dark /black hair can a reddish tint under light (usually after frequent use).
  • If you have light/grey/white hair the dye from henna is much stronger and it will give your hair an yellow/orange/coppery/red tint (even after just one application).
  • Amla has been said to darken hair with frequent use. (I have never noticed this but I believe those with light hair e.g. blond, light browns etc might notice it a little more than those with darker hair). 
  • Apart from it being important to do a patch test on your skin it is also important to do strand test before applying Henna or Amla to your hair to determine the amounts of Ayurvedic powders you want to use and the color outcome. (You can use shed hair in your comb to do tests). 
  • It has been said that Henna can cause curl loosening (I have not had this happen to me).
  • Amla has been said to restore curls (I do not want to miss out on the benefits of Henna and while I have not experienced curl loosening I do not want to risk it, so I use Amla as well). 

 Untitled

Please Note – This is my oldest henna recipe, I no longer use the conditioner feature above*

Ingredients/Tools Used:

  • 1/2 cup of Henna
  • 1/4 cup of Amla
  • 2 bags Green Tea – (I make 1 cup but do not use all of it)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of Conditioner 
  • 1 teaspoon Grape Seed Oil
  • Gloves
  • Cling Film
  • Bowl
  • Plastic Spoon 

Mixing Instructions:

  1. In a bowl I combine the powders together and slowly add the tea a little at a time to the powders till it has a thick ‘mashed potato’ consistency. (I let the tea cool down to room temperature before it is used).
  2. I let it rest for at least 4 hours. It is the dye release of the henna that gives your hair all that nourishing goodness and with my batch of Henna the dye starts to release after 4 – 6 hours. (You will need to do tests to determine the optimal time for your henna. There are a lot of factors that can trigger the optimum dye release time: strength of the henna, room temperature and pH of your mixing liquid)
  3. Right before I apply to damp and detangled hair I add 2 – 3 tablespoons of Conditioner & 1 teaspoon of Oil. 

Application:

  • I have my hair in about 10 – 12 twists or Bantu Knots after Cleansing & Detangling. I normally  leave my Cleanser and Conditioner in my hair and proceed with my DC, but with my Henna & Amla DC I rinse it out first. (I like having clean and detangled hair with no “barrier” between my hair and the mixture).
  • I unravel each twists or Bantu Knot and apply from roots to ends.
  • I cover my hair with a shower cap and/or Clingfilm, add a plastic bag and then use a scarf to make sure my scalp is nice and warm.
  • After it has been sitting in my hair for no less than 3 – 4 hours (or more..occasionally overnight) I proceed to rinse.
  • I first use water to loosen up the mixture. Then I use A LOT and I mean A LOT of cheap conditioner to make sure my hair is clear from Henna and Amla. (I usually do the conditioner routine 2 sometimes!)
  • Then I proceed with my a 2 hour Deep Condition session. 

What does your simple henna treatments consist of? I would love  to hear from you! 

Thanks

Maicurls

Maicurls

14 thoughts on “Henna, Amla & Other Ayurvedic Herbs

    1. maicurls Post author

      Hi Dawn,

      I apologize for not writing back sooner I thought I did! I have never actually used Indigo myself since I do not want to darken my hair. My hair actually is a dark brown and I feel like I would probably end up going a shade too dark and then will have to do root touch-ups whenever my hair grows. With my henna and amla (now also hibiscus) combination the colour difference from any new growth hair is not really visible so I have less hassle. I have heard nothing but good things about indigo though and my mother actually uses it. I apologize again for the delayed reply and thank you for commenting! 🙂

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    1. maicurls Post author

      I have tried with and without Amla. I started using Amla mainly because as my hair started to grow I noticed that gravity has it’s way and my hair tends to “drag down” or hang more and since henna coats the hair and can make it heavier I worried that it would loosen my curl pattern. I have super fine hair so I didn’t want to risk it.

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  3. Christina J

    I think I’m ready to do this 🙂 I’ve researched about henna over and over. I’m just looking for the right recipe and the right henna to purchase? I think you said yours is grown where you are at. What shop or online store would be the best to purchase henna?

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    Reply
    1. maicurls Post author

      Hey Christina,
      You will love it! I would recommend starting off really basic because I think sometimes people get put off at first if things get complicated you know. You could do tea mixed with henna, let that get dye release and then add a little conditioner or coconut milk and an oil after dye release. I would suggest something like almond, grapeseed, jojoba or even olive oil; coconut can sometimes make the hair feel really dry along with the henna.

      Yeah the henna I get is local and they actually do not export any henna from here. The government only wants it sold locally (mainly in markets). If you research Omani henna it is known as one of the best so you would think it would be sold internationally but I guess they like to keep it “their little secret”. Since you live in the States I know that my curlfriends there swear by http://www.lushusa.com and http://www.butters-n-bars.com. Another good place that is packed with henna info and BAQ henna is http://www.mehandi.com. I used Mahandi to get a lot of information and even used the forum to talk to “henna-heads” before I got started.
      Hope that helps! 🙂

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