Amla: Why and how do I use it?


Amla will:

  • darken henna to a slightly browner shade of red/orange
  • darken indigo when used in the henna portion, for a cooler shade of brown
  • help prevent indigo from fading
  • enhance henna or henna/indigo uptake on dye-resistant roots
  • prevent loosening of curls and waves
  • restore curls or waves loosened by multiple henna applications
  • add body to limp flat hair

Amla will not:

  • make henna come out brown on its own, without the use of indigo or buxus
  • make straight hair wavy, or wavy hair curlier than it normally is

Amla powder can be used with henna to enhance the darkening and browning effect of indigo. For cooler shades of brown using a 1-step hendigo, the addition of ¼ amla to ¾ henna can minimize reddish tones, and help indigo bind better with hair for darker, more permanent color. There are 2 methods for using amla in this way:

  • Use amla as the acidic ingredient with your henna. You would mix henna powder, amla powder and room temperature water (no other acidic liquid because amla is acidic). Let it sit for 12 hours for dye release.
  • Prepare your henna paste as usual with acidic liquid, let it sit until dye release occurs, and then separately mix amla powder (¼ as much amla as henna) with warm water, and add to the henna paste. Separately mix indigo with warm water and add it to the henna/amla mix, stir thoroughly and apply immediately.

Do not add amla directly to indigo as the acidity of amla inhibits indigo's dye release. Make sure the amla paste is mixed separately from the indigo paste, and add each separately to the henna paste.

Amla can also be used with henna alone (without indigo) to darken its color slightly, making it a little bit more brownish. It won't make henna come out brown, though, without added indigo. For this use, you can choose either of the methods described above.

Henna can sometimes relax waves and curls, particularly with repeated use. Wavies report this effect more often than curlies. Amla can add body and help prevent the loss of waves, and restore waves or curls loosened by henna. It can also make hair fluffier if henna has made it heavier or straighter. For this purpose, you can use it in your henna paste via either method described above, or apply it as a separate hair treatment:

  • Mix amla powder with enough hot water to make a paste as thick as yogurt or porridge. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes, then saturate the hair with it (you can stroke it through your hair with your hands). Leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Amla can also be used for added body in mixes including cassia or buxus, and has not been reported to affect the color from those dyes.

Return to FAQ Page