Via The Beau­ty Brains

Celeste asks… What is Amla pow­der and what does it do for hair?

The Right Brain replies:

Amla, also known as Indi­an goose­ber­ry, is a fruit from the myrobal­an-tree which is native to India and Bur­ma. Like its cous­in the North Amer­i­can goose­ber­ry, amla fruit is edi­ble with tart cit­rusy fla­vor. Amla is alleged­ly high in ascor­bic acid (vit­a­m­in C) and tan­nins which give it high antiox­i­dant strength. Amla also con­tains flavonoids, kaempfer­ol, ellag­ic acid and gal­lic acid.

Pre­lim­i­nary med­ical research has shown Amla poten­tial­ly pro­vides a sur­pris­ing vari­ety of ben­e­fits includ­ing antivi­ral and antimi­cro­bial prop­er­ties; pre­ven­tion of rheuma­toid arthri­tis and osteo­poro­sis, activ­i­ty again­st some can­cers; reduced sever­i­ty of acute pan­cre­ati­tis, age-relat­ed renal dis­ease, and dia­betes; and reduc­tion of blood cho­les­terol lev­els. Not bad, eh?

Is Amla good for hair?

It’s pop­u­lar­ly believed that amla fruit is good for hair when applied as a con­di­tion­er. A quick search reveals claims about nour­ish­ing hair and scalp, adding tex­ture and vol­ume to hair, and pre­vent­ing pre­ma­ture grey hair. Does amla real­ly deliv­er again­st any of the­se claims?

“Nour­ish­ing” claims are fair­ly ambigu­ous and are there­fore easy to sup­port. Any mate­ri­al that pro­vides a con­di­tion­ing effect can be said to be nour­ish­ing, so it’s like­ly that amla does have some ben­e­fit in this regard. Tex­tur­iz­ing may be one area where amla real­ly deliv­ers, pro­vid­ed it’s left in your hair. There are a num­ber of anec­do­tal sto­ries of the­se ben­e­fits.

The grey hair claims may come from the fact that amla is used in inks and fab­ric dyes to help “fix” the dye in place. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, hair dyes work by a dif­fer­ent chem­istry than fab­ric dyes and we can find no ref­er­ence to in the cos­met­ic sci­ence lit­er­a­ture to indi­cate that amla has any effect on hair col­or what so ever.

Inter­est­ing bonus fact: In Pun­jabi, amla is called olay, as in “Oil of Olay” beau­ty prod­ucts from Proc­tor and Gam­ble. Is this coin­ci­dence, or sin­is­ter design?

What about Amla Oil?

While Celeste didn’t specif­i­cal­ly ask about it, amla fruit is also avail­able in oil form. We would be very cau­tious about pur­chas­ing this ver­sion because in sev­er­al of the prod­ucts we reviewed the so called “amla oil” was real­ly just amla extract dilut­ed down in min­er­al and canola oil. You’re bet­ter off with the con­cen­trat­ed pow­der.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

While some of the claims are out­landish, you may per­ceive some basic con­di­tion­ing and tex­tur­iz­ing ben­e­fits from apply­ing amla pow­der to your hair. We’d expect this to be true of leave in appli­ca­tions and wouldn’t expect to see any dif­fer­ence when it’s rinsed out.

Ladies, have you tried amla in your reg­i­men? How does it work for your hair?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­lis­te, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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42 Comments on "Is Amla Good For Hair?"

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Alicia

Amla does alter hair colour but it makes it a light gold­en brown so unless you’re blonde you’ll nev­er notice it, it is used in con­junc­tion with hen­na to crest lighter brown shades.
Hen­na CAN have a loos­en­ing effect on curls but it’s not guar­an­teed and depend­ing on the per­son it may take many appli­ca­tions to see or may not occur at all. I haven’t seen any­thing con­clu­sive regard­ing amla but then it is usu­al­ly used alongside hen­na so who knows
And there’s noth­ing wrong with peo­ple straight­en­ing their hair via hen­na, bet­ter that than relax­ers

bsbfankaren

I pur­chase Amla oil (Sese­me oil infused with Amla) and use it as it deep conditioner/prepoo, leav­ing it on for 4 to 8 hours before wash­ing my hair, either once a week or biweek­ly, and notice that when used reg­u­lar­ly, my hair is soft­er and more man­age­able. How­ev­er, I also notice when I go more than two weeks with­out using it, my hair is extreme­ly dry (par­tic­u­lar­ly my ends, and dif­fi­cult to man­age so it’s one of my go to prod­ucts.

margarete
I have used it 3 times now. I say it dyes hair, because my grey hair has become some brown­ish, and because my nails are brown and NOTHING takes it off!!!! Of course it´s not like a chem­i­cal, because I can see my grey hair here, but if you used it longer prob­a­bly it will become dark­er and dark­er. About the tex­ture, my hair is thick and tend­ing to dry, but I apply it with any veg­etable oil. I applied it with water once and it became TERRIBLE! Now I just make a small amount of amla +oil and apply… Read more »
yolanda pegg

I think that alma leg­end would the best solu­tion for my hair :-D

Mel Stevens

check out the pro nat­u­rals argan oil. Not only is it a good mois­tur­iz­er, it is also a heat and nature’s pol­lu­tion pro­tec­tant

Rosie

I use Amla/Tulsi/Neem masks on my hair every 2–3 weeks. I leave it in overnight and wash it out in the morn­ing (two sham­poo treat­ments). I’m Indi­an so my hair is dif­fer­ent. It makes my hair brown­er (I dyed it black a while ago) and shinier! I also find my hair is soft­er when I straight­en it and less frizzy. I don’t use hen­na as it tints hair red. That’s my expe­ri­ence on real­ly long, wavy, Indi­an hair.

Nana Esco

Thick, coarse hair should not use amla oil nor hen­na. It’s like a cau­casian using a hair relax­er. It’s made for a dif­fer­ent hair type like Indi­an, Asian and His­pan­ic hair type. Hen­na dries out already dry hair because it is a pro­tein. Nat­u­ral hair is so Amaz­ing and beau­ti­ful straight cau­casian hair is so bor­ing embrace your hair the way it is God cre­at­ed you and he does not make mis­takes!

rosarosa

Hen­na does not dry out everyone’s hair. This idea has been repeat­ed, but it is not true. African wom­en do hen­na for their hair often with excel­lent results. Just as African wom­en do not want to be insult­ed because of their tex­ture, it is equal­ly wrong to offend any­one with straight hair. You state God doesn’t make mis­takes, but you insult peo­ple with straight hair? Non­sense.

Razia Renee Johnson

The def­i­n­i­tion of nat­u­ral hair is the hair that is on your head now. Doesn’t mat­ter whether it’s relaxed or not, it’s still your nat­u­ral hair. All hair is beau­ti­ful, so your point is very invalid. Hair is hair and is only beau­ti­ful if it’s tak­en care of. Sec­ond, hen­na etc is very good for anyone’s hair, I used it and my hair nev­er seems to split. Last­ly, you say God doesn’t make mis­takes but call oth­er people’s hair bor­ing but your own. So igno­rant

Julie

Smh.

Luna

Wow. You think by putting down nat­u­ral­ly straight hair is the way to go? Not just cau­casians (Peo­ple of Europe, north africa, horn of africa, south and cen­tral asia) have straight hair. Stop putting down oth­ers to make your­self feel bet­ter. Pathet­ic.

Rhoni Thompson

I have used hen­na once, leav­ing it on for 7 hours. Five weeks lat­er I com­bined hen­na with alma leav­ing it on for 7 hours. The first appli­ca­tion loos­ened my coils some. The 2nd appli­ca­tion with the alma real­ly loos­ened it. My hair is basi­cal­ly coiless. I also noticed my hair to be com­ing out at the root.
I havevread­c­that alma may help me get my coils back. Im not happy…my hair seems strong, but life­les.
Any sug­ges­tions? ???
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Olga

Amla is also avail­able as dried fruits, soak sev­er­al berries in luke­warm water, leave for 24 hours and apply as hair con­di­tion­er.

Rebecca

Hi. How often do you leave alma in your hair?? Is it bad to do it every sec­ond day which you leave over night wash in the morn­ing?

Bea
My hair is nat­u­ral. I first used hen­na 6 months ago. For the sec­ond time, I hen­na my hair 3 weeks ago. I need to know if it is ok to use the amla pow­der by itself on my next wash. Anoth­er words, how long in between should I wait to use both prod­ucts sep­a­rate­ly. In addi­tion, Im a lit­tle con­fuse on the mix­ing of the amla pow­der. Some peo­ple men­tioned coconut oil, some warm water, and some con­di­tion­er. Which is the most effec­tive one. My hair is very dry and is thin­ning from front to mid­dle. I am also… Read more »
Rup
Bea Here I men­tion a hair pack… great for hair growth— For shoul­der length of hair ..1tb­sp of amla paste( soaked dried amla for the overnight min­i­mum for 15 to 18 hrs and then make them a paste, I use mix­ie for that), 2tb­sp of Fenu­greek paste (fol­low as same amla paste pro­ce­dure), Juice of a Small onion, paste of 7/8 pieces of Hibis­cus flow­er( the red one), 1/4 cup of Black tea liquor( its a very good hair con­di­tion­er . trust me), 1 whole egg and 2tsp of sour curd( optional).…mix them well like a tooth paste con­sis­tan­cy and… Read more »
Ty
I’ve used amla pow­der for over a year and it is by far my favorite ayurvedic herb…well besides hen­na. It con­di­tions my hair per­fect­ly and I attrib­ute amla pow­der for grow­ing my hair as well as stop­ping my pre­ma­ture grey­ing. I pur­chase amla pow­der for $1.99 at my local India mar­ket here in Hous­ton. My mix­ture is so sim­ple: one box of amla pow­der mixed with hot tap water only. I then apply it to my damp hair and allow it to sit for one hour. Then I pro­ceed to rin­se and cow­ash with my VO5 con­di­tion­er. My hair is… Read more »
Sap
I have used amla and coconut oil on my hair and it has worked won­ders. i had this pro­belm of hair loss and some­one rec­om­mend­ed to have a juice of three amla’s every day to suf­fice the vit­a­m­in C require­ment. and trust me I am not com­plain­ing a bit. This berry has not only reduced my hair loss but it has also given me a glow on my skin.  Anoth­er rem­e­dy is to grate Amla and keep it soaked in an iron ves­sel for three days. It leave a black residue which needs to to scrapped off from the cor­ners of… Read more »
Sap

Apolo­gies for the spelling mis­takes and gram­mar though in the above mes­sage.

Regards,
Sap

LocXurious

Has any­one used it as a dai­ly mois­tur­iz­er?

Christy

It’s too oily to use as a dai­ly mois­tur­iz­er

Christy
I adore Amla oil! I grew up on this stuff and as much as it made my hair greasy it did won­ders for it. Nev­er used the pow­ders and stuff though. What I know, hav­ing grown up in a coloured fam­i­ly, Amla oil is a sta­ple for our hair, espe­cial­ly after relax­ing, cut­ting, wash­ing or braid­ing. As it can get quite greasy and hav­ing such a strong, some­what med­i­c­i­nal scent, we don’t use it ALL the time, and we only use it at the roots of our hair. The main rea­son for this is that it helps grow the hair,… Read more »
Akilah_theB

I just bought the Hesh brand Amla pow­der online and am going to try their sug­ges­tion and mix it with Dabur Vatika oil as a pre-poo con­di­tion­er. I hope it works!

Florence Ahlemeyer

For good­ness’ sake, eat some food. Diets like the one you’re describ­ing may result in tem­po­rary weight loss, but the key word is tem­po­rary, because no one can live the rest of their lives sub­sist­ing on noth­ing but liq­uids, fruit, and veg­eta­bles. Soon­er or lat­er you’re going to get hun­gry and eat some com­plex car­bo­hy­drates (and there’s noth­ing wrong with carbs! They’re an essen­tial source of ener­gy!), and you’ll gain the weight back.

Akilah_theB

This isn’t about tak­ing Amla oil inter­nal­ly. It’s for top­i­cal use on the hair and scalp and says noth­ing about weight loss. I’m think­ing (read: hop­ing) that you some­how post­ed your com­ment under the wrong arti­cle. May­be you hit back­space one too many times.

Ogo

Ok, so I used amla oil years ago and had so-so results. I felt like my hair felt greasy and dry. But, now I want to try again. 

For the oil, when doing the pre­poo and/or detan­gle, do y’all mix it with any­thing? Mix it w/ store bought condish?

For the pow­der, mix with oth­er ayurvedic pow­ders and water and put on hair? Won’t that dry your hair out? 

Thanks in advance!

afroknots11412
i love amla. i add the pow­der to my deep con­di­tion­er mix. i also use brah­mi and bhringraj (maka) pow­ders. they have real­ly helped change the health of my hair. my hair is very very black and when i use the­se pow­ders on a reg­u­lar basis my hair has the black sheen that is out of this world.  i also use prod­ucts like qhemet bio­log­ics that has ayurvedic ingre­di­ents in it already. my hair just loves it.  also amla pow­der is real­ly good for the skin. use it as a facial mask (just at a lit­tle water to the pow­der until it… Read more »
MoZaic

I Love Amla!!! and Brah­mi!! they are awe­some herbs

Andrea

I went out of my way to get as organ­ic as pos­si­ble. Rec­om­mend Gary and Sun Amla oil. One bot­tle is 20 plus dol­lars but they last me a LONG time. 

One caveat it works bet­ter on my locs than on my loose hair.

Amy

I love amla and I can tes­ti­fy it did my hair good. My hair is thick­er and stronger. And I see less sin­gle strand knots.

Lewinsky

Most defin­i­tive­ly a sta­ple pro­duct in my reg­i­men!! I use the Alma oil to pre­poo and detan­gle my hair the night before wash day. I let it sit on my hair overnight! My hair reacts to it pret­ty well!! It’s shinier, soft­er and way more man­age­able than when i don’t do my pre­poo with it!!

Lori

My hair loves amla!! My hair’s health and growth sky­rock­et­ed once I start­ed using amla (I’m talk­ing sheen/luster, strength, growth in weak spots, and pop­ping curls). I use the pow­der, along with oth­er Ayurvedic pow­ders to make a rich deep con­di­tion­ing treat­ment (with reg­u­lar con­di­tion­er and oils). Some­times I add hen­na to the mix. I’ve also used amla pow­der to infuse olive and coconut oils. It’s amaz­ing.

lillian mae

I am an amla addict. I begin my weely pre-poo oil wash and fin­ger detan­gle using amla oil. I read the ingre­di­ents when I pur­cased the pro­duct and it was not cut with min­er­al oil, but coconut oil so I felt safe. To stretch it, I have mixed it with olive oil. Amla, the fruit, is some­thing that can be pur­chased at an Indi­an gro­cery store. You can infuse it with any oil you like. Will be doing a video of my amla infu­sion soon!
Ben­e­fits I’ve seen include:
Stronger hair strand
Dark­er hair
Can’t call the con­di­tion­ing claim bc I DC after every­thing.

Andrea

My hair loves the Amla oil!! I just don’t like the smell so I mix it with oth­er oils in a lit­tle bot­tle and apply as need­ed. It def­i­nite­ly gives my hair a great shine, and coats my scalp so it’s not itchy. My Indi­an co-work­ers have said that it real­ly helps with hair growth. So far…so good.

Lantoinette

Dit­to! My hair loves the Alma Oil as well. Great results and nice shine. I read some­where that it was like liq­uid gold and I must agree with that. At least that’s how I felt after using it a few times.

Aurélie

My hair loves amla pow­der, I usu­al­ly mix it with an oil like grape­seed just to get my hair extra soft. Usu­al­ly I fol­low up with a dc as well.

Natalie

I’ve used amla and it turned my hair crispy crunchy dry. I mixed it with con­di­tion­er. How­ev­er, as Toi and Antoinet­te had good results with it I’m will­ing to try it again by mix­ing it with coconut oil.
I should add that my hair does not like hen­na either even when I mixed the hen­na up and then added hon­ey my hair was still dry after use. It may just be my hair which also reacts bad­ly to 100% coconut oil.

Rup

Natal­ie

Add 1/4 cup of black tea liquor to ur hair pack.…black tea liquor gives ur hair super soft­ness and shine…

neo

Natal­ie, did you use a con­di­tion­er after using hen­na? If not, this is prob­a­bly why you felt it was dry­ing. It’s nec­es­sary to do so…

Natalie

Hi Neo,
No, I don’t think I did DC after­wards, I’ll try that next time I use hen­na or amla. Thanks for the tip.

Nats.

Toi

I LOVE AMLA! My hair loves it too. When my curls aren’t act­ing right and my scalp is too itchy to bear I hit my local indi­an gro­cer for some Amla. Just mix it with water, apply like you would any perm or col­or, leave on for X amount of time ( i usu­al­ly do 40 min-1hr) and rin­se out. And of course wash after. Its a bit hard to get out but trust me when i say you will have soft, defined, and man­age­able curls! It’s def. on of my fav Ayurvedic sta­ples along with Vatika Oil!

Antoinette

I’ve tried amla and loved it. I made a Ayurvedic con­di­tion­ing treat­ment with a pack of amla, brah­mi, coconut milk, acv, and almond oil and my hair loved every min­ute of it! My hair was very man­age­able and soft after­wards. Idk if it was just the amla since I’ve nev­er used it on it’s own, but I think it may have had some­thing to do with the result.

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