If you’ve read my Henna and Me HairStory, you know that I used amla in my henna mixture for a few months last year in an attempt to try to preserve my curl pattern. You also know that it was an epic FAIL! It wasn’t a fail in regard to preserving my curl pattern … I really don’t even know if it worked or not. It just made my head itch horribly and I charge it as being responsible for excessive shedding and uncustomary scalp itching for months on end. So, I stopped using it after a couple of months (should have stopped a lot sooner).
Now, I regularly get asked about the curl loosening side effect of henna by concerned fine-haired curlies with looser curl patterns. They really want to try henna because of the unquestionable benefits in regard to strength and shine. But, they don’t want to sacrifice their curls. I completely understand their apprehension. So, I always let them know that I definitely experienced significant curl loosening with repeated applications of henna. I also let them know that I now only apply a full strength henna treatment on my roots for about three applications. If I can remember, I tell them about Cassia (so called, “clear” henna) as another option that give similar conditioning benefits as henna, but without the curl loosening (or as long lasting benefits). Finally, I tell them about amla, but with the caveat that they should immediately discontinue use if it irritates their scalp. Most recently, I’ve begun to suggest applying amla to the ends of hair that have been loosened by henna to see if it restores curl. However, I never tried that last recommendation. That is, I hadn’t until this past Sunday.
On Sunday morning, I applied a Vatika oil pre-poo to my length and lightly finger detangled. I worked my head in quarters, twisting each section as I completed it. I then applied JBCO to the ends of the twists and applied my essential oil mix to my scalp, massaging it in for a few minutes. I threw on a plastic cap, warmed a damp hand towel in the microwave for 30 seconds and swathed my head in it. I repeated the heated towel application about 3 or 4 times. Then, I sat for about another hour or so with a winter hat on top of the plastic cap.
Once I was done marinating, I mixed some amla powder with hot water in a plastic container to the consistency of yogurt (I didn’t measure the powder or the water. I just poured an amount that I thought would be enough to cover the bottom half of my hair). I removed the plastic cap and began applying the amla to the lower half of my hair, on top of the pre-poo, twist by unravelled twist. Amla is a lot thinner then henna, but it is still like applying mud to your hair (just wetter mud), so I applied it carefully. Next, I folded my amla covered ends up towards my head and secured them with a jaw clip, ensuring that the amla was not making contact with my scalp. I immediately put the plastic cap back over my hair (you can NOT let amla dry on your hair … it would not end well) and went about my business.
After about an hour, I hopped in the shower and rinsed the amla and pre-poo with a couple rounds of HE HH. I then washed my scalp with DevaCare No Poo and co-washed and detangled with HE HH. Finally, I deep conditioned with Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner for an hour or so, applied DevaCare One Conditioner as my leave-in, put my hair back into four twists and hit the sack. I wore my hair in those same twists today, pulled back with a Goody Comfort Flex and adorned with a flower. I plan on wearing them for the next couple of days (not fancy, but easy and all I feel like doing right now).
So far, I can’t tell if amla has restored any curl to my hair. It didn’t look too much curlier when it was wet. However, I must say, it looked very shiny and sleek! From what I’ve read, it may take a few applications of amla to restore curl (it purportedly acts like an astringent, so the curl restoration and enhanced volume claims appear to be related to its ability to work similar to a clarifying shampoo). As it wasn’t a big deal to apply and rinse and I didn’t experience any adverse effects using it, I’ll probably repeat this process a couple more times to determine if amla has any curl restoring capabilities for me. I’ll keep you guys posted!
Have you ever used amla to restore curl or enhance volume? If so, what was your experience? Did it work for you? Please expound!