Is Amla Good For Hair?

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

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, 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 thoughts on “Is Amla Good For Hair?

  1. 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?

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

  3. 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? ???

  4. 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!

    • 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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 one day before washing.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

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