Henna and Amla are my all-time favourite ayurvedic herbs. I have been using both for over a decade and believe me, picking one over the other is simply impossible. But hey, let’s get into it!!
Let’s look at the properties, benefits and what to expect after using these two powerhouses over time.
Henna was the first herb that I came across. My mother would make henna treatments sparsely over the years since I was 9 years. Henna is an amazing herb and one of the only herbs that builds up on your hair over time. Let’s imagine a strand of hair with shingles all around the shaft of the hair. Now, if any of these shingles gets lost, the result is a damaged, raggedy and fragile hair. Henna has the ability to fill in these areas where you have missing cuticles almost like a filler. What further enhances this process is the ability of Henna to build up over time with each application. This has an accumulative effect on the hair, resulting in thicker hair strands. Nevertheless, henna has been shown to have an elongation effect in hair hence it is advised to always do a strand test when using a new ayurvedic ingredient.
The active ingredient in Henna is the Lawsone dye. This is released when the henna is allowed to sit in the hair for a couple of hours to get all the astonishing benefits. However, due to the lawsone dye being released, the hair is going to have a reddish-brown tint. This is desired by some and not necessarily by others. If you have a full head of grey hair bear in mind that it will stain the hair. For black hair, this stain is really not very visible.
Amla on the other hand is Indian gooseberry, which is a vitamin C packed fruit that is dried down and powdered. Amla does the opposite in long term to what henna does. It tightens curls over time. Therefore, if you are going for a loose, elongated curl then henna might be your preferred option. Contrarily, if you are struggling with curl damage then Amla is your go to.
In addition, Amla can stimulate the melanin in your hair causing it to darken. This is particularly important to notice if you have a blonde hair or a colour treated hair. Nevertheless, Amla is definitely the better of the two powders when it comes to colouring. Just make sure to do your strand test guys.
Amla has less slip compared to henna mainly due to the part of the plant Amla is derived from. Henna is derived from the leaves while Amla is the Indian gooseberry.
APPLICATION - ITS A MESSY BUSINESS BUT WORTH IT
That is a quick overview of these two ayurvedic powders. Now let’s get to application!!
When it comes to application, both powders should be applied to cleansed damp hair. Another key step to consider during application is to work in sections. Part your hair into sections as this makes application easier and ensures that all parts are covered. Be sure to get a pair of gloves especially when using henna to prevent getting your hands and nails from getting stained. In addition, apply a balm on the edges to prevent colour transfer on skin.
Both of these powders combine really well with each other as well as with other ayurvedic powders depending on your hair needs. You can reach for some Shikakai, Jamun fruit and much more. Both do best when combined with hot water (not boiling) especially the henna. The kinetic energy in hot water allows for the release of all the goodness a lot quicker. For example, the lawsone dye in henna exits the powder a lot faster and bioavailable to the scalp. Unlike the Amla powder, the henna mixture needs to sit for at least 4 hours before being applied to the hair.
HOW TO MIX THEM
Ingredients that can be added to your mixture are; coconut milk, honey, yogurt, olive oil, castor oil, rose water and aloe vera juice. However, butters and oils have been shown to impede the uptake of the lawsone dye by the hair. Therefore, if are wanting to tone down the strengthening effect with some hydration then definitely reach for your oils and butters, otherwise refrain.
You can boost the benefits of both powders by adding essential oils such as basil, rosemary, lavender, tea tree. See a full video of a comparison and application by checking out the video below. Be sure to check out the henna and amla collections here.