Tag Archives: amla

Henna and Me: Ty’s HairStory


Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My Name is Ty.  I was a wig, weave and hair extension fashionista for almost 20 years. My hair never had a chance to grow because it never had a chance to see sunlight! After all those years, my hair still never grew past my ears.

How long have you been natural?
March 22, 2008 was my big chop day. So, right at 3 ½ years. Woke up one day, chopped it all off.  I never transitioned.

How long have you been using henna? When did you start?
The first weekend of May 2010, I did my very first henna treatment. I have been faithful about doing it one once a month ever since.

What made you begin using henna?
My hair started turning naturally gray at 12 ½ -13 years old … ALL OVER. Imagine going to middle school with gray hair *SMH*. My mom allowed  me to color my hair at 13. After 20+ years, I noticed that my hair look so dry, so I started to research the benefits of using henna. I thought that I would give it a try. It was the best decision I ever made along with going natural.

How would you describe your first experience with henna?
I have always been a lover of red hair. At first I was scared, didn’t know what to expect. I left the treatment on for about 4 hours. It was easy to wash out (I have heard horror stories) and the results were amazing. It was as if my hair came back to life!

What type of henna do you use? What is your mix? What is your process?
I use Jamila Henna, the little $1.99 box at my neighborhood Indian Grocery store. They know me by name. I buy an entire box (with 12) every six months. LOL … I have to keep a stash!

I wash my hair first. I apply my mix:  henna, 3 tablespoons of aritha, brahmi and shakakai powders, 1 1/2 tablespoon of amla and indigo powder in a bowl, along with honey and green tea. I put my indigo in my mix instead of putting it on after I do my treatment. I keep my treatment in for 12 hours. I know that you can wash it out in 4, but I am addicted to the red color. IT NEVER FADES!! Gold Star!!

I just started adding olive oil to the mix. I have noticed since doing so, it is so much easier to wash out and my curls come back a lot faster after my deep conditioning treatment. I deep condition for about 2 hours (1 egg, honey, my deep conditioner oil mix: brahmi oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, coconut oil and more olive oil ).

I know you can also buy the henna with the ingredients above already in it, but I like to mix my own. I use a lot more Aritha, shakakai and brahmi than alma powders. The aritha (a natural shampoo) stops the itching. That mix will last me 2 applications. Once I finish my application, I freeze the rest for next month.

How often do you henna?
Faithfully, the first weekend in the month. In the summer, I may do 2 a month, depending on how fast my hair grows (I must cover the gray … lol).

How has your hair changed with henna?
My hair did change … for the better!! I now have thicker hair!  I have desired thicker hair for ages. Since I started my henna treatments, my hair is fuller, shinier and the curls are more defined. I did notice my curl pattern stretched a bit, but not that much. I love to see my hair “POP!”

How do you feel about henna and the process now?
I am a henna head for life!!! I put it in my schedule that the first Saturday in the month is henna day. It’s pretty much routine for me now. I love the fact that I don’t see a lot of breakage when I comb my hair. I love the way my hair feels and I have less frizzy days. I love the red tint; you can’t buy this hair shine in a bottle!!

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about trying henna?

1. Do your research.  There are plenty of websites with a wealth of information about henna. I researched for 6 months before I took the plunge. Hair Forums can become your best friend.

2. Understand that not everyone will have the same results. I tell many of my friends who like my hair color that my hair is naturally gray, so the red will stand out like crazy. If you have darker hair, you will see the color in the sunlight. The more henna treatments you apply, the better results you will get.

Anything else that you’d like to add?
It was never my intent to use henna for color. I wanted the benefits of less hair breakage, thickness and shine. The color was just a bonus.

Zizyphus – Greek Myth or Curl Savior?


And the preliminary results are in … Zizyphus may be a keeper! As many of you know, I ordered some zizyphus ($7.50 for 100g) a couple of weeks ago after Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty did this post about her experience with it. When she contacted Mehandi.com to inquire about amla for curl restoration, they recommended this ayuverdic powder as a better alternative, with fewer incidents of irritation. In the past, I had used amla alone and mixed with henna in an effort to preserve my curls. However, my scalp was NOT having it and I discontinued using it. That is, I stopped until I decided to do a little experiment on my ends a few weeks ago, which I discussed here and here. As I kept the amla far from my scalp, I didn’t have any problems with irritation. However, I also couldn’t see much of a difference. After Michelle’s post, I was interested in seeing if zizyphus would perform better.

Okay, first let’s discuss the mixing and application process. I mixed about 50g of the 100g bag in a plastic bowl with about a cup of filtered water to a yogurt consistency. Zizyphus is green and grassy smelling and was like melted marshmallow in texture when water was added. The water also increased the volume of the powder drastically. It really absorbed and swelled, almost “bubbling” as mixed (I probably could have used less than half of the bag). Now, this is where I had to make a decision. The online directions indicated that the mix should sit for 2 hours, whereas the directions taped to the bag implied the mix could be applied to hair immediately. Go figure! Anywho, I decided to go with the online instructions. So, I left the zizyphus to “marinate” while I ran to pick up a pair of fierce, peep-toe wedge booties that I had put on hold the prior day.

After returning home, I got around to applying the zizyphus to my hair, which was saturated with a Vatika oil and EVOO pre-poo and was thoroughly detangled. I had done some research on the powder and one recurring complaint was that it resulted in extremely dry hair. I always read reviews that indicate this with a critical eye. It often seems to me that many with this complaint often do not regularly apply moisturizing deep conditioners after drying ayuverdic hair treatments. Because I wanted to pre-poo anyway, I thought the oils would provide a buffer for the potentially drying effects of the treatment as would a post treatment moisturizing DC. The mix was gushy and almost slime-like, but in that is was viscous and not muddy or drippy in texture. It kind of “glooped” as I squished it  into my hair. My hair was in six twists and I untwisted each section one by one, squished the zizyphus through, ensuring that my hair was thoroughly coated and then loosely re-twisted each section. I applied the zizyphus to the entire length of my hair except for the first 2 inches or so of roots. Then, I donned a plastic baggie and waited.

About an hour or so later, I hit the bathroom to rinse the stuff out. Yeah … what the frick?!?! Michelle was NOT joking when she said this gook is a mother to get out of your hair. I have little to no problems rinsing henna. With this, I used hot water (as instructed) via the faucet in the bathtub. And I rinsed. And I rinsed. And I added some Aussie Moist and rinsed and rinsed some more. I will say this, as I rinsed the treatment, my hair felt very heavy and thick in a good way. It didn’t feel dry at all. After a while, I gave up on getting it all out and applied my DC as I had found this old blog post that indicated that the last of the treatment seemed to be removed by the conditioner. Michelle also indicated that she was able to work the residual mix from her hair when she applied a styling cream to do twists.

So, after DCing for an hour, I rinsed using my normal technique, blotted dry, applied some DevaCare One Conditioner and twisted my hair into six twists. I could still see little flakes of the zizyphus all throughout my hair. But, it was past midnight and I was … put a fork in her … done. So, I hit the sack with my satin sock bonnet, twigs, grit and all.

I wore the twists to work on Monday so that my hair could continue to dry, eyeing the flakes and hoping no one would be all up in my grill close enough to see them ;). I secured the twists with a couple of Goody Comfort Flex barrettes as pictured above. At lunch time, I applied some JBCO to the bottom couple of inches of the twists to seal (yeah, I carry a little repurposed container of JBCO in my purse … don’t judge! *lol*). I noticed then that my twists were very plump and springy. Hmmm, the prior night, I was thinking that zizyphus might be a wrap simply for the hassle it presented when rinsing. However, now that my hair was mostly dry, I was seeing some of the shrinkage that I have so desperately sought since henna began loosening my curls last year! And, the little flakes seemed to be easily dislodged with a few flicks of the finger. My hair also felt very soft, fluffy and moisturized (I will say that when I use DevaCare One instead of the Kimmaytube leave-in, I get a fluffier, more voluminous set … pH balance and all that jazz ;)).

As I type this, my hair is still in twists and I suspect that I’ll just be pinning them up for work on Wednesday. I’ll take pics of the twist release later this week since, yup … you guessed it, I got my new camera!!

Well that’s it for this loooooong, detailed review. What do you think? Do my twists look more plump and “shrinky” than normal? I think they do. The shine in these pics also seems ridic! But, I think that is just the new camera as I didn’t notice that much of a difference in the mirror;).


Have you experienced a loss of curl due to henna, heat or something else and want your curls back? Have you ever tried Zizyphus? Would you try it? Would love to see what type of results others are having with this ayuverdic treatment!

Okay, if you didn’t get my title for this post;) , if was referencing Sisyphus who was the king in Greek mythology who was condemned to perpetually push a massive rock up a mountain every day only for it to roll back down, forcing him to push it up again.

Banana Clip Pin-Curl Updo


Yup, I’m at it again. And, this is just one of two styles I rocked this week using a banana clip. But, ya’ll are going to have to wait for the other one ;). So, I filmed a video for this, but I need to lay an audio track over it explaining what I was doing and I’m not sure when I’ll get around to that as I have some other things in the works, including a white water rafting trip this weekend and … of course … our Natural Hair Meet-Up!!

Okay, now to this look. I did a henna treatment on Sunday and DC’d overnight. So, Monday morning, I had to quickly do something with my hair! “WnG my old friend! How have you been?!?!”I didn’t make any Kimmaytube leave-in on Sunday and didn’t have the time to make it on Monday morning either. So, I did something that I knew would cause problems. I used DevaCare One as my leave-in and applied JessiCurl Confident Coils Curling Lotion as my styler. Ummmm … if you saw my first two-part video review of this product line, you know this combo resulted in flakes. It wasn’t any different this time. But if you ignored the little product flakes, my hair looked pretty dang good, if I do say so myself! LOL! You know, I never seem to have time to allow my hair to dry for a TnC anymore and the WnG is starting to look more and more attractive as my day one style! Now that henna has loosened the hair at my crown, WnGs don’t seem to give me a mullet anymore!!

Well, on Tuesday, I did this updo by smoothing my hair back into a ponytail with my hands and putting the banana clip around it in the “traditional” vertical position. Then, I just began by grabbing a medium-sized section, loosely rolling it around my fingers and pin-curling it against my head with bobby pins. I repeated until all my hair was pin-curled in a bun-like formation (I used a crap load of bobby pins) and then threw on the headband. This was another very easy hairstyle that I was able to do in less than 10 minutes. I know some are probably wondering why I use a banana clip instead of a hair elastic of scrunchie. Truly and honestly, the banana clip does NOT snag my hair or pull it out when I remove it and it is soooo much easier and faster for me to put around my hair! Anywho, here is the finished look with two different accessories, a headband and an orchid (I wore it with the headband to work). Oh, and I’m also including pics of my WnG. I think the amla really may have done something! I’ll definitely be repeating the process I did a couple of weeks ago and posted about here to see if this is a fluke or if the amla is really doing something to restore my natural curl.

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Amla Update


So, a couple of days ago I posted about an experiment I did with amla. I’m attempting to determine if using amla as a paste on the lower half of my hair will restore curls lost to henna. Well, right now, I can’t really tell. See, I put my hair into four twists and so I’m not seeing the true curl pattern right now. I did think that my twists were plumping more than usual though. The other thing I noticed is that, when I released the twists when I got home Wednesday night, the set was VERY defined. I definitely think that this is a result of the amla as I’ve used DevaCare One as a leave-in before and my hair was softly defined, but very fluffy. Now, my waves feel “chiseled.” I like that the definition seems as if it will last. But, the thing is, my hair is looking very “piecey” and gappy, which I don’t like.

However, the “pieciness” may be a result of the additional products I’ve applied over the last couple of days. Specifically, after returning home from the play on Tuesday night (mind you, it poured and I sat outside in horrible humidity, but my hair was not overly frizzy), I layered Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee over JBCO, which was layered over a little DevaCurl Set It Free and put my hair back into four twists. I applied the products to the lower couple of inches of my hair because I’ve been a little concerned about my ends. I’ve been feeling more knots and seeing more splits than usual since the Rugged Maniac and two shampooing fiascos :(. So, I just want to make sure my ends are well lubricated (I typically don’t re-apply product more than once during a week).

Anywho, I definitely think I need to give this amla thing another try or two before I can fairly assess the results. I really need to do another henna though, so if I manage to do that this weekend, amla will have to wait another week.

On another note, check out my cute headband from Threadmill!! Dottie hooked me up!! And, not only did she give me this, she sent me two other headbands! I swear, she is the sweetest lady ever! If you haven’t been to her shop, definitely check it out and don’t forget to use coupon code: HAIRSCAPADES10 to get 10% off of your total order (excludes S&H). I can’t wait for her Fall hats!!

Okay, then I just started to play with my banana clip a little!

Fun, but it’ll probably be back in twists by the time you are all reading this!! I am so addicted to protective styling anymore! I just don’t like my hair distracting me while I’m at work and the added benefit is that those ends are protected from environmental and friction damage ;)!!