For Janhvi Kapoor, putting food on her hair and face isn’t new—she’s been doing it since her childhood, through recipes passed down from her mother, the late Indian icon, Sridevi. “I put a lot of food in my hair—eggs, beer, and methi,” she said about the secret behind her voluminous strands.
But if eggs and beer aren’t your cup of tea, her hair oil recipe is definitely one to cop. “[Mom] would make our hair oil at home with dried flowers and amla, and she’d make sure she gave me and Khushi an oil massage every three days,” said Kapoor about the age-old recipe she still follows. Amla, an antioxidant and rich Vitamin-C choice is the perfect addition to your hair oil, especially if you’re looking for stronger hair and a cleaner scalp.
In fact, amla isn’t just a great addition to your hair oil tradition. All those antioxidants and the melanin inhibiting Vitamin C make it a great skincare remedy too, especially for those who have dull skin in need of a boost, or acne-prone skin. It also increases the elasticity of the skin, reducing visible fine lines in the process. Is it already a part of your daily diet in your smoothies and morning elixirs? Here’s how you can bring it out of your kitchen and move it to the vanity as well.
How to use amla in your hair and skin DIY recipes
1. A hair growth-inducing oil
Warm up some almond oil in a bowl, and add fresh amla juice to the mix. Use your fingertips to massage this into the scalp, using a circular motion to allow the scalp to absorb it best. Almonds are chock-full of Vitamin H, which synthesises biotin, an important building block of strong hair. Amla juice is able to penetrate the hair follicles, making hair shinier, softer and more voluminous when you wash it off.
2. A brightening paste for acne-prone skin
If you’re struggling with acne, or the dark marks that come from it, mix amla juice, honey and turmeric together to create a soft paste. Amla is rich in Vitamin C, so it lightens dark spots and brightens skin overall. Honey is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation, so it calms redness and irritation from a just-popped zit, and curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, fights the tyrosinase enzyme that is responsible for creating dark spots due to hyperpigmentation.
3. A cleansing mask for a flaky scalp
Amla’s rich Vitamin C content also makes it a great hair ingredient, as it repairs the wear and tear of the strands, while its minerals and phytonutrients strengthen hair follicles. When mixed with yoghurt, it can exfoliate the scalp too. The lactic acid present sloughs off all the dead skin cells on the surface, and if you add crushed neem leaves, can reduce dandruff due to its antimicrobial and antiseptic nature.
4. A glow-boosting face mask for dull skin
If your skin is looking dull, and you’re looking for overall brightening, look no further than amla and tomatoes. The latter helps to shrink pores, and the lycopene and beta-carotene in tomato seeds eradicate free radicals so collagen production is boosted. When vitamin C is used, it inhibits melanin production when there is excess (like a dark spot or uneven skin tone,) and accelerates collagen production too. The end result? Soft, clear and bouncy skin.
5. A rinse for combination hair
If your scalp is oily and your ends are drying out, using traditional shampoos with sulphates and chemicals can leave it out of whack. Instead, use amla and apple cider vinegar as a rinse, mixing the two together and letting it sit in the hair for five minutes before you wash it out. Apple cider vinegar is able to correct the pH, letting the cuticles lay flat and shinier over each other, while amla is able to pull moisture to the hair while ensuring that the scalp is cleansed of any buildup.