Adventures in Ayurveda :: Take 2

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I finally got around to trying out some Ayurvedic methods on my hair a couple of weeks ago.  Ayurveda is an ancient Indian practice of using natural means such as oils and herbs to treat medical ailments and promote health and longevity.  In terms in use for hair, many herbs are ground into powders, steeped in teas and infused in oils to treat scalp issues, cleanse the hair and promote healthy long and lustrous locks.  I have been curious about some of the hair practices for a while now and finally decided to do some experimenting.  In the past, I have used henna to strengthen and condition my hair, but had to stop because my looser patch of hair was starting to loosen further and on the verge of becoming straight.  I decided to start first with cleansing my hair.  I wanted to see if a powder could really clean my hair.  In theory I thought it could if it worked similarly to bentonite clay, which draws out toxins and impurities.

After visiting a couple local Indo-Pak grocery stores, I purchased a box of Hesh brand Brahmi, Shikakai & Aritha powders.  Here is some info on each from The Indian Food Store’s website:

Hesh Brahmi Powder is Ayurveda’s most potent hair vitalizer. Brahmi powder is a remedy for people with chronic hair problems. Brahmi can make hair dark, dense, and lustrous. It strengthens hair roots, thus controlling hair thinning and hair loss. Regular use control premature graying and massaging it into the scalp clears dandruff.

Hesh Brahmi Powder has the following advantages:
– Cools the scalp and induces sound sleep
– Controls dandruff
– Makes hair long, dark, dense & lustrous
– Strengthens hair roots
Ingredients: Herpestis monniera / Thyme Leaves

Hesh Shikakai Powder acts as a natural astringent for hair enhancing its binding properties. It clears dandruff and cleans the dirt accumulated on the scalp. Being a natural conditioner for hair, shikakai strengthens hair roots and promotes luxuriant growth. Hesh Shikakai powder has certain vital properties that act as coolants for the scalp. This powder has to be mixed with water and used as a paste on the hair instead of shampoo.

Hesh Shikakai Powder has the following advantages:
– Provides new life to hair strands
– Strengthens hair roots
– Increases bounciness and silkiness of hair
– Clears dandruff
– Keeps the scalp clean and cool.

Hesh Aritha Powder is a natural cleansing agent recommended by Ayurvedic experts. Hesh Aritha Powder has all the goodness of this natural marvel. When used on skin, the powder cleans the pores and helps the skin breath better. It also improves the texture of skin over a period of usage. As a shampoo, it cleans hair completely. It is specially recommended for washing oily hair. The powder has excellent foaming and shampooing properties. Aritha powder is also recommended for your laundry, washing silk, woolen clothes, silver and gold ornaments and utensils.

Hesh Aritha Powder has the following advantages:
– Cleans skin thoroughly
– Excellent as a natural shampoo
– Gives hair natural floss and bounce
– Can be used to clean ornaments, clothes and utensils

I mixed the entire box of all three (100 grams each) in a glass mixing bowl with water, aloe vera juice and a little olive oil.  I had read that the powders could be drying to the hair and remembered how dry and hay like my hair was immediately after a henna treatment.  It often took two deep conditioning sessions to get my hair right afterwards.  I was hoping the addition of oil and the aloe vera juice would help to counteract this.

I used my spray bottle to dampen my hair and then I started smoothing and squishing the mixture throughout my hair.  It was a little hard to spread through, so I ended up adding some more water to thin it out a bit.  After I had applied it from root to tip and on my scalp, I donned a plastic cap and did some work for about an hour.


I then removed the cap and hopped in the shower to rinse it all out.  The mixture was very gritty and it felt like I was rinsing dirt out of my hair, as a matter of fact, my shower looked like I had flung mud in it.  After what seemed like an eternity, the majority of the mixture was rinsed from my hair.  I use some VO5 Strawberries and Cream to co-wash the rest out…or so I thought.  I was feeling extremely lazy and my hair felt soft, so I decided to skip the deep conditioning and head straight into styling.

It was at this point that I realized not all of the grit was out of my hair.  I had decided to twist my hair up and rock a twist out later in the week.  When I began sectioning and twisting, I kept getting little pieces of grit under my nails and in my shea/cupuaçu butter whip.  Highly.  Annoying.  I decided to just deal with it and continued.

Later in the week when I released the twists, I liked the results, but my hair felt a little dry.  The texture of the twist out lasted a couple days longer than usual, but this could just be because it isn’t as humid outside since it is Fall.



The next wash day I decided to try something different, mainly because when I returned to the Indo-Pak grocer, they didn’t have any Brahmi…but they did have Kalpi Tone, which is actually what I had been looking for the first time.  I had read and watched Youtube videos on Kalpi Tone and learned that it can also be used for cleansing and has Brahmi and Shikakai already mixed in.  I bought all four boxes and because I’ve been wanting to try it, four boxes of Amla.  I am learning to buy it when I see it, as it relates to these powders.  I find that it can be hit or miss on the inventory even if it’s the same grocer and they had it the week prior.  Here is some info on Kalpi Tone and Amla:

Kalpi Tone
Hesh Kalpi Tone: A natural beauty therapy for hair, Hesh Kalpi Tone adds a dark tinge to the hair and gives it a natural, dark shade. Made from natural ingredients like Aloe, Amla, Brahmi, Shikakai and other herbs, Kalpi Tone helps control dandruff, hair loss and premature graying of hair. The blend has to be used as a thick paste in water or oil and retained for over an hour after application. When massaged over the scalp, Kalpi Tone may help to strengthen hair roots and promote hair growth.

Hesh Naturoriche Kalpi Tone Powder has the following advantages:
– Gives a dark tinge to the hair
– Strengthens hair roots
– Promotes hair growth
– Controls hair loss & premature graying
– Relieves headaches & induces sound sleep

Amla Fruit (Phyllanthus Emblica Linn) 10%, Maka Leaves (Eclipa Aba) 10%, Mandoor (Iron Rust) 10%, Jaswandh Flower (Hibiscus Rosa) 9%, Narangichal (Citrus Aurantium) 8%, Shikakai Fruit (Acacia Conncinna) 7%, Kumari Leaves (hedychium Spicatum) 7%, Kapur Kachili (Hedychium Spicatum) 6%, Brahmi (Herpestis Monniera) 5%, Methi Seed (Trigonalafinum Greekum) 5%, Wala (Andropogan Muricatus) 5%, Khadir Stem (Acacia Katechu wild) 3%, Chandan (Santalum Album) 2%, Neem (Azadirachta Indica), Sitaphal Seeed Powder(Squamosa), Sugandh Dravya (Q.S.).

Hesh Amla Powder is a natural astringent and skin toner that works on both hair and skin. It controls hair fall, cures scalp infection, and controls premature graying of hair. The paste of this powder helps promote luxuriant hair.

Soak Amla powder with adequate amount of hot water preferably in an iron vessel. Leave it overnight, and wash your hair in the morning with this extract. Leave the paste on for hour allowing the nutrients to absorb and rinse the hair properly afterwards. Repeat every 3rd or 4th day for best results.

Regular usage of Amla powder gives nourishment to the hair. It may also remove mild dandruff from hair scalp while giving body to the hair.

I mixed an entire box of the Kalpi Tone with a half box of Amla Powder with water, aloe vera juice and grapeseed oil.  I mixed it until it looked like a looser version of chocolate pudding.  It also had a very nice aroma to it.  I allowed the mixture to sit for an hour before dampening my hair and applying.  I applied it the same way I did the previous mixture, but I wish I had worn gloves.  My fingernails now have a slight dark tint to them.  I again donned a plastic cap and did some work for an hour before hopping in the shower.

Rinsing this mixture out was a much better experience than the previous one.  It rinsed out very easily and did not feel gritty at all.  I didn’t even need to co-wash this time.  My hair felt soft afterwards, but to be on the safe side, I deep conditioned anyway under my hair steamer for 20 minutes with my homemade mixture.

I attempted to do a silk wrap on top of a roller set, but that ended up being a huge #FAIL because my ends were not in the best shape.  I didn’t even realize how bad they were until now.  It’s been six months since my last trim so I guess it was time.  Here is my hair after the trim…



In conclusion, I am definitely going to keep experimenting with Ayurvedic methods.  I am going to try to keep cleansing my hair for at least a month with the powders to see if I notice any differences.  I will probably stick to the Kalpi Tone for as long as I can find it as well.

Does anyone else use Ayurvedic powders to clean their hair?






Freelance Graphic Designer, Lifestyle Blogger, Natural Hair Enthusiast and Fitness Convert...yeah, I wear a lot of hats. :)

  • irina

    Aritha/ reetha can really dry out ur hair. And if reehta water goes into ur eyes, u’ll feel like someone slashed ur eyeball with a knife! At least thats what i thought happened to my eye when i got reetha water in my eye 3 times. The first time i didn’t know this. I was careful after that but somehow it still happened 2 more times.

    I used to make shampoo out of reetha, shikakai and amla powder for quite some time when i decided not to use regular shampoos. Now most of the time i use the baking soda/vinegar system.

    And i use cocout oil, amla, shikakai, brahmi, fenugreek seeds etc to make hair mask/ hair rinse before washing my hair. My main concern was hair fall, not due to breakage, but from the roots. (I can’t seem to realize how hair can fall due to breakage. Maybe because i don’t style my hair with heat so much i guess). I’m happy with the results.

    My hair is curly/ wavy, often coarse.

    • Colleen Eakins

      I’m glad I didn’t get it in my eyes then! Thanks for the advice. I used the Kalpi Tone for awhile, until it was no longer stocked at the stores that I normally buy it from. Since I have had a difficult time finding it, I have stopped using it. I still do not use commercial shampoos though. I usually use my homemade black soap shampoo.

  • Gauri

    Hi, I guess you used a lot of powder (300 gms!) the first time. about 100 gms soaked overnight would have been better. Heena really dries up hair and unless you are using it for colouring, deep-condition your hair with a lot of oil first and then apply henna, it will leave hair less dry with a beautiful tinge.

    • Colleen Eakins

      Yes, I did use a lot of powder! I used Brahmi, Shikikai and Aritha powders that totaled the 300 g in this post. My henna experience I think I only used 100 g and did a different process. In the end, I had to stop using henna mainly because it was making a loosely curled section of my hair straighten out. Thanks for your comment!