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Um, has it really been this long since I’ve written here? What’s up with that?

Well, it looks like I forgot about more than writing in my blog. About a year and half ago (?), I read a thread on Naturally Curly about ayurvedic herbs that discussed the results from using the herbs in a paste as a hair treatment, including increased strength, moisture, thickness, etc. I was all up in that (!), so I ordered a slew of herbs (amla, bhringraj [maka], brahmi, and fenugreek) from a few different sources. After the first treatment, I got immediate results: My hair felt stronger, it was incredibly soft, and my hair shed less.

Then there was a recall on Hesh powdered herbs, and that was the brand I’d bought. I couldn’t find any reasonably priced herbs that weren’t Hesh, so my ayurvedic herb love waned until I just forgot about it.

Fast forward to now: I got my hair trimmed (three freakin’ inches!) about two weeks ago, and I was so upset that my ends still felt rough and thin (not to mention split), and the single-strand-knot fairy crept into my room and wreaked havoc on my head. Ridiculous. After spending the last two weeks trimming every split and knotted end, I thought to buy some protein treatment (my hair only likes protein in few doses) and ayurvedic herbs.

Why didn’t I remember this earlier? Those herbs are no joke. Again, their effect was immediate: my hair was soft, strong, and well-moisturized with greater curl definition. I’m going to continue with the herbs, because I need all the help I can get when it comes to strength and thickening. Next time, I’m going to use hibiscus tea in place of the plain boiled water.

I ordered my herbs from Smallflower Apothecary and The Indian Food Store (I’ll post the link shortly), but there are many other sources out there. (EDIT: I now order bhringraj (maka) from From Nature with Love and amla, brahmi, and fenugreek from Smallflower. They both have the best prices of any shop I’ve seen so far.)

Here’s my recipe:

  • 1 part (3-4 heaping teaspoons) bhringraj (maka)
  • 2 parts (6-8 heaping teaspoons) amla
  • 2 parts (6-8 heaping teaspoons) fenugreek
  • 2 parts (6-8 heaping teaspoons) brahmi
  • 10 tablespoons jojoba oil (or another oil that penetrates hair)
  • 1/2 packet dry milk
  • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel
  • boiling water hibiscus tea (prepare at least 4 cups; you’ll add small amounts, several times; I keep it in an electric kettle and re-heat it)
  • essential oil, if desired, for fragrance
  • rubber or plastic gloves (it’s hard to clean the paste from under your fingernails, and it’s just easier to apply the paste with gloves)

Mix the herbs together well. Add the oil, milk, and aloe (don’t mix). Add boiling water hot tea (about 1/4 cup at a time) to make a paste that’s slightly thinner than cake frosting. Allow the paste to sit for at least three hours. Add boiling water hot hibiscus tea periodically (every 20 minutes/half hour) to retain the consistency. The herbs will continue to absorb the water tea. Continue to do this every 20 to 30 minutes until all the tea is gone. Note: For me, it’s more pleasant to apply the paste when it’s warm rather than when it’s cooled.

When you’re ready to apply the paste, spray your hair with water, especially if you have dry hair (like mine!). Put on your gloves, section your hair, and apply to each section from roots to ends; massage the mixture into your scalp as you apply it. Continue until your entire head is complete, and cover your head with a plastic cap or bag. Allow the paste to sit for at least two hours (I usually sleep in it). Rinse your hair thoroughly, shampoo, and then use a deep conditioner (don’t pass on the deep conditioner—trust me).

You can freeze any remaining mixture. This amount usually makes about two applications for my shoulder length hair, so you can tailor the amount for your hair length.

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