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Prepare to meet the newest addition to your hair care routine: amla oil. People have sworn by this natural beauty oil for centuries. It’s used to strengthen hair, reduce hair loss, and prevent grays. But what does the science say? Here’s the lowdown.
Amla oil 101
- Amla oil has deep roots in Ayurveda, a traditional Indian medicinal system.
- It’s high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and polyphenols, which means it has potential hair-boosting benefits.
- It’s a topical treatment — you can apply it directly to your scalp, hair, facial hair, or skin.
- You can find it online or in natural foods stores. You can also make it at home!
Peeps have gone gaga for gooseberries for years. Traditionally, amla oil is made by steeping the dried fruit in a base oil. The oil is then filtered and purified.
Sadly, you won’t find actual Indian gooseberries at Whole Foods. In fact, it’s almost impossible to find these guys fresh in the United States. You’ll have to stick to its powdered form if you want to DIY it.
PSA: While amla oil comes from edible fruit, it’s not meant to be ingested. So don’t drink it. Seriously.
Indian gooseberries are total #superfood status. They’re packed with powerful antioxidants and loaded with vitamin C. Still, there isn’t much research to prove amla oil is an effective hair treatment. But a lot of folks swear by it anyway.
Ayurvedic practitioners say amla oil:
- promotes hair growth
- neutralizes scalp conditions (bye, dandruff!)
- strengthens your strands right down to the roots
Some claim amla oil can also:
- treat fungal or bacterial issues
- boost your overall ~lewk~
- slow or prevent grays
- soothe an itchy scalp
- slow hair loss
Hydration station: A little hair oil (amla or not) can help bring dry, damaged hair back to life.
What else can it do?
Amla oil isn’t only good for your mane. It’s been shown to put up a strong fight against several strains of Streptococcus (the bacteria that cause strep throat). Some studies suggest that its anti-inflammatory and immune system effects could even prevent cancer.
Bald is beautiful. But if it’s not your thing, amla oil might help. According to a 2012 study, amla oil can inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase and promote hair growth, meaning it might be an effective remedy for hair loss.
A 2017 animal study found that a mix of six plant extracts (including amla oil) helped hair grow about as much as the male pattern baldness drug minoxidil. Not too shabby!
More research is still needed to prove that amla oil works as a hair loss treatment on its own. If you’re concerned about hair loss, talk to your doc. They can help you figure out the best treatment plan.
Overall, amla oil is totally safe to use. But with any new skin care product, you should a patch test first. Dab a little oil on a spot of skin — maybe on your forearm — and wait 24 hours. If you don’t notice any redness or irritation, you should be good to go!
In rare cases, amla oil has been reported to trigger Lichen planus pigmentosus, a rare immune response that causes irritation or swelling of the hair, skin, and nails. But TBH, the biggest threat is crappy products.
Some amla oil is mixed with cheap carrier oils. Low quality, heat-pressed oils can cause irritation. Make sure your amla oil is mixed with responsibly sourced, organic, cold-pressed oils.
You can shop for amla oil online. Just be sure you get the good stuff! Avoid oils that have added synthetic fragrances and preservatives. Natural foods stores and Ayurvedic shops are likely to carry high quality versions. You can also DIY it!
Ayurvedic remedies have a huge following worldwide. But a lot of these imported beauty products are largely unregulated in the United States. This puts you at a higher risk of getting a contaminated product. So just be super-duper diligent when shopping. Thx!
Using amla oil is simple. Just swap it out with your normal conditioner a couple times a week. Here’s how you do it:
- Pour some amla oil into the palm of your hand.
- Work it into your hair and scalp.
- Put on a shower cap.
- Leave it in for up to 15 minutes.
- Rinse it out. Voilà!
Some bloggers suggest leaving amla oil on overnight for an added dose of hair TLC. There’s no science to prove this provides additional benefits, but it can’t hurt to try it out!
If you do decide on an overnight hair treatment, be sure to protect your linens. Wear a shower cap and cover your pillow with a towel. You might also want to invest in some nose plugs. Not everyone digs the smell.
You won’t find Indian gooseberries at your local grocery store. But you can still make amla oil at home with dried amla powder and a neutral base oil (like coconut oil or rosemary oil).
- In a stainless steel pot, combine 1 tablespoon amla powder with 5 tablespoons base oil.
- Gently warm the mixture over low heat.
- Stir occasionally and make sure it doesn’t simmer or boil.
- Turn off the heat when mixture starts forming tiny bubbles. (This usually takes about 5 minutes.) It should also have a musky, astringent smell at this point.
- Cover the pot and let mixture steep for 24 hours.
- Strain with a fine strainer and pour into a sterilized glass jar.
- Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
Mix it up
You’ll reap additional beauty benefits if you mix amla powder with another oil known for helping hair. Coconut oil, for example, is killer at combating breakage. It can also prevent sun damage. ☀️
While the scientific jury is still out, some peeps swear by amla oil. And we can see why! Amla oil might give your mane the glow-up it deserves! It can potentially stimulate growth, repair breakage, and even prevent baldness.
Just be sure to stick to organic, high quality products for the best results. *hair flip*