Sunday, December 30, 2012

What to Expect From Amla Powder: A Coily Hair Overview


Amla powder is made from the Indian gooseberry or amla fruit, which is native to India. Amla fruit is a natural source of vitamin C, amino acids and tannins. Traditionally used in Ayurveda treatments, when processed into powder form it's commonly used in massage oils, skin care and hair care products. When used topically, the benefits of amla powder on hair are numerous.


I've been using Amla powder for about 10 months now. I use it on my hair as a cleanser and on my face as a mask. 


Amla paste cleanses my hair of butters and other things that may be weighing my hair down. It "awakens" my coils. I use the amla paste when my coils are not "springy" or defined when I go to do my wash-n-go's. It also leaves my hair very soft and easily manipulated. For me, it can serve as both a cleanser and a conditioner. After using the amla paste for over 10 months, I can say that the long term effects have been extremely beneficial. It helps me to define my coils. At times, I don't really need curl definers (I only use them to give my coils some crunch--that helps the wash-n-go to last for a few days). The amla helps me to cleanse my hair without experiencing drying effects that I used to experience with commercial shampoos. This in turn allows me to keep my hair's moisture levels in a great range. Proper moisture levels ensure minimal breakage. 


I mix approximately 1/2 cup of Amla with enough water to make a thick (milkshake consistency) paste (you'll figure out how much you will need after a few attempts. It all depends length/thickness of hair). Not runny, but enough liquids added so that it can be easily spread onto the hair shaft and scalp. I use a plastic spoon or fork to stir. I've read something about metals altering the effectiveness of the amla. Finally, I let it sit for about 10-15 minutes in order to thicken up. I apply Amla to wet/damp hair. 

Because I use Amla every week (one week for my hair, the other week for my face), I do not make it a production. I don't add oils and things to it. Making it a timely affair will discourage me from even bothering with it.

Before I apply the amla paste, I prepare my hair by spraying a conditioner/water/oil mix throughout. During this "pre-poo" treatment, I detangle my hair. Once my hair is detangled and the conditioner mix is rinsed out (partially), I have my hair in about 4 sections. 


Section by section, I apply the paste to my scalp (scrubbing with my fingertips), and then smooth some on down the shaft of the hair. I don't concern too much about the ends, mostly I smooth from the roots on down to the mid shaft. Once it's spread thoroughly, I put that section into a bantu knot (or mini bun). I repeat this for the remaining sections. The paste is left on for about 15 minutes, then rinsed with warm water section by section, smoothing in a downward motion. The paste is grainy, making it an exfoliate of sorts. 


  • It's best to apply the amla paste to hair that has been pre-treated with conditioner or oils. The paste can be drying. 
  • Amla paste may be too harsh for hair that has been previously chemically treated. The condition of the hair is important in regards to how the hair will react to the amla treatment. My ends often feel a bit mangled and somewhat "rough" during my amla treatment. That's where my color treated hair is at this time (towards the ends of my hair). 
  • Even though amla is a natural product, some may experience allergic reactions to it, so it's best to do a patch test first. 
  • It's beneficial to detangle and section the hair before applying the amla paste. Once the amla paste is on the hair, breakage can occur as a result of any manipulation. Mostly because the amla has no "slip", it forms a hard coat over the hair, making it almost impossible to manipulate safely.
  • The amla paste has to be THOROUGHLY rinsed out. Any residue of the paste left on the hair shaft will remain as a layer of dried product, and make the hair very dry and hard. 
  • Caution should be taken while using amla paste. It has burned my eyes a few times during the application or rinse off process. Avoid getting any into the eyes.
  • Amla paste application can get messy. 
  • Store any leftover amla paste in the fridge and use within 3-4 days. Amla paste left outside of the fridge can go bad (moldy).
Amla Paste (or Mud Cleansing) Helps Keep Moisture Balanced


  1. I am taking down my locs and I know my hair will need some serious conditioning before I 2 stand twist.

    Should I co-wash with the conditioner then do a deep conditioner with the mayo,honey and oil mix or with my favorite conditioner, favorite oil, and some water mix?

    Following that should I then cleanse with the Amla Paste or would it be to drying at this point?

  2. Hey! Remember the Mayo/Honey/Oil mix won't have any slip. Neither will the amla. You could co-wash to start. That should help you finger detangle and get out all the shed hair. Make sure whatever conditioner you start out with has enough slip for you to properly detangle. Once you're detangled, then you can do the Homemade DC. I do love to follow that up with the amla paste. No, it won't be drying once you rinse it out real good. Great conditioning treatments for strength!

  3. Hi

    What's the recipe for the Homemade DC?

    Can hair be washed with the gel directly from the aloe vera plant instead of the conditioner?

    1. I'll give the link to the post for the recipe:

      I've never used aloe vera in place of a conditioner! I love it a lot, but don't put all that trust in it for it to detangle me LOL! I have rubbed a stalk (stalk? LOL) of the aloe vera plant on my coils (It defines really good!) Let me know if you get to use it that way!

  4. Great post! Do you DC afterwards?

    1. Definitely. A nice, rich Deep conditioner to infuse moisture for the week's styling. Thanks for the message Beautiful

  5. I have blond highlight hair.Is Amla powder good for coloured treated hair?Is this changed the hair colour?Please let me know.Thanks.

  6. I have blond highlight hair.Is Amla powder good for coloured treated hair?Is this changed the hair colour?Please let me know.Thanks.