Passionate about healthy hair, styling, and products, the founder of the Nigerian chain hair salon- KLS Naturals has shared one of her hair strengthening regimes, and this is one you HAVE to read about!
Kemi Lewis- “If you’ve followed me for some time, you will know how much I love Ayurveda and how much I sing its praises. This is because it is the one thing that when I use consistently, my hair thanks me for and I see a HUGE difference in my hair’s health.
My strands are quite fragile and prone to breakage which means that apart from manipulating my hair less, I also need products that strengthen my strands, making them less prone to breakage, so I can retain length better. So sometime in July last year, I decided I was going to go back to incorporating Ayurveda in my regimen and was also going to stick with it long term.
As great as Ayurveda is, the downside to it is that it is quite messy and also time consuming so it’s easy to stray from. However, I decided I would make time specially for my hair treatments so that I would have no excuses.
I looooooooooooooooove Henna!!!!! Prepared from the plant Lawsonia inermis, it is typically sold in powder form and once mixed into a paste and left to sit for a while (at least 3 hours) a dye is released which is coppery red in its tone. Henna strengthens, rejuvenates, gives shine, adds body, rebuilds, fortifies and adds lustre to hair! I mean what more can you ask for?! The one thing people ask is whether it will color their hair and the answer is this:
Henna deposits color but doesn’t lift color. This means that if your hair is dark then your hair color won’t change – at least not a drastic change from black to red. If you have greys, then the greys will turn coppery red and if you have light brown hair, then the red tones will be obvious. What I have found with dark hair (because my hair is dark ) is that the more often you henna, the richer your color looks when you are indoors; and when you are outside, the suns’ reflections bring out the redtones that have been deposited in your hair over time.
If you would prefer to avoid the whole color thing then your best bet is to go with neutral henna aka Cassia Obovata. This will give all the strengthening properties of henna without the color by product.
As henna is natural, there is no limit to how often you can henna – Weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
How do you use Henna?
I like my things basic and simple so I typically mix with hot water and let sit overnight or up to 24 hours ( I actually now mix a batch and put in the freezer after letting it sit for a while. I bring out to thaw the day I want to use it). When I am ready to apply, I will add my ayurvedic oil mix to it and some aloe vera juice . I then apply to freshly washed hair, leave for a minimum of 4 hours ( I sometimes sleep with it in and rinse out in the morning). Some people mix henna with lemon juice, Apple cider vinegar, eggs etc. But again as I said, I’m a simple girl at heart 🙂 Find what works for you.
After rinsing my henna, I ALWAYS follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner. Henna acts like a protein conditioner. If you don’t want to end up with hair that is as dry as sticks, then please follow up with a super duper moisturizing deep conditioning treatment.
Favorite Brand of Henna:
My absolute favorite is the Godrej Nupur brand because not only is it Body Art Quality Henna but it also contains NINE other nourishing and strengthening herbs (some of which I will be talking about here). When I don’t have this brand, my second best is the Jamila Henna. While this doesn’t have the 9 herbs, it is also great Body Art Quality Henna. All I do is just mix my own Ayurvedic powders into it.
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2. Fenugreek a.k.a Methi: Native to the middle and near east and widely used on the India subcontinent, Fenugreek contains a variety of nutrients and minerals including Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, copper, Vitamin B6, Protein and dietary fibre.
It has a wide range of health benefits ( lowers cholestrol levels, reduces menstrual cramps, anti carcinogenic, controls diabetes, relieves constipation etc) and is therefore a very useful seed to have in your kitchen! With regards to hair, it is an amazing seed and helps in the following ways:
- Helps prevent hair fall
- Stimulates hair growth
- Makes hair shiny and luscious
- Reverses damaged hair
- Conditions hair
- Detangles hair etc
The Nicotinic Acid and Lecithin contents, encourage hair growth and stimulate the follicles.
How do I use Fenugreek?
One of the reasons I’ve always loved methi is because of its detangling properties. When mixed and left to sit overnight, fenugreek releases a mucous like substance which glides through your hair, making detangling a breeze. I add fenugreek to my henna mixtures for that added oomph! and to make the application easier. My hair is therefore detangled at every stage of my wash day routine.
3. Amla: Also known as Indian Gooseberry, amla is rich in tannins and vitamin c which are beneficial to the hair and scalp. It also contains antioxidants which are beneficial in fighting free radicals.
Amla powder is gotten by drying and grinding the amla fruit and the following are the benefits:
– helps to ‘calm’ the red tones of henna. If your hair is light and you want to use henna but don’t want the reddish hue, mixing some Amla in your henna will tone it down.
– Helps to reduce shedding when rubbed into the scalp
– Helps to condition and strengthen hair, leading to less breakage and split ends.
– It is also said to help with premature greying
– Owing to its high iron carotene content, it helps to stimulate growth.
How do I use Amla?
I typically mix amla and a few other powders into my henna for a full Ayurvedic strengthening and conditioning treatment. I also infuse my favorite oils with some of these powders so that I get not just the benefit of the oils but also the benefit of the herbs in my oils!
4. Brahmi (Gotu Kola): Another fantastic Ayurvedic herb which helps to rejuvenate and thicken hair strands.
– It coats the hair strands leading to fortified hair and less split ends/breakage
– Nourishes the roots, ensuring that hair grows in thick and strong with less shedding.
– It supports scalp circulation, nourishing hair follicles and reducing hair loss.
How do I use Brahmi?
Same way with Amla above.
5. Bhringraj (Eclipta Alba/Maka) Known as the ‘King of Herbs’ for Hair growth.
Bhringraj rejuvenates and nourishes hair, ensuring hair is thicker and grows in stronger. It is the go to herb for people who want to treat hair loss, alopecia and premature greying.
Regular use ensures dark, lustrous and dense hair.
How do I use Bhringraj?
Same with Amla and Brahmi above.
6. Hibiscus (Jaswandi) Powder: This is got from the crushed petals of the Hibiscus flower.
Hibiscus is a conditioning herb and regular use helps to strengthen and condition the roots, leading to less hair shedding and an increase in volume. Other benefits include:
– Adds a reddish tint to hair (can be mixed with henna to enhance the red tones of henna)
– Promotes hair growth
– Conditions hair
How do I use Hibiscus?
Same with Amla, Brahmi, Methi and Bhringraj above.
Now, because I love Ayurveda so much and because people always ask me how to mix them etc, I decided to create our own KL’s Naturals Ayurvedic Strengthening Conditioner!!
It’s a mix of Amla, Brahmi, Bhringraj, Methi and Hibiscus. It takes out the guess work in your mixtures so all you need to do is just add a spoon or 2 to your conditioner or to your henna mix!!
HOW TO USE THESE HERBS:
A. HENNA FOR STRENGTH: Henna gives your hair strength the way a protein treatment would. So I use henna to strengthen my hair. I will mix my henna (either Godrej on its own or Jamila with some other ayurvedic herbs) with plain hot water and leave it overnight or even longer. I then add my oil mix (typically an infusion of my favorite oils and some of my favorite ayurvedic powders) and apply to freshly washed (but not conditioned hair). I leave for a 4 – 8 hours and then rinse out thoroughly. I then follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner so my hair doesn’t dry out. I do this every 2 – 3 weeks.
If I feel like my hair doesn’t need that much strength, I will mix a few spoons of my moisturizing deep conditioner into my henna mix, add some oils, leave on for about 3 hours and then rinse out. This is called a Henna Gloss. Doing this, you don’t have to go through the whole 2 step process as you already included your moisturizing deep conditioner into your henna.
B. MOISTURIZING CONDITIONER
Where for whatever reason, I am unable to henna or decide to do a simple ayurvedic conditioning; I will mix my powders and leave them for an hour after which I will mix in a few spoons of my favorite moisturizing deep conditioner. I will apply this to freshly washed hair and leave in for about an hour after which i just rinse out.
C. DAILY MOISTURIZING SPRITZ:
Apart from using them as a conditioner as illustrated above, you can make a tea from them, pour into your spritz bottle, add a bit of oils and voila! You have an Ayurvedic Moisturizing Spray that can be used daily.
Just put a tea spoon each of your powders into a mug, add some hot water and let steep for about 10 – 15 minutes. Strain and put into your bottle. I usually like to add some Vegetable Glycerine and Aloe Vera juice ( Aloe vera is BAE!!!!!) and a few essential oils like peppermint and tea tree to the mix. I will store in a fridge and use up within 10 days.
D. OIL INFUSION:
I always have a jar with some ayurvedic infusion going on. This oil infusion will be used as a sealing oil, as an addition to my henna and/or conditioner and as a hot oil treatment. Oils I typically use are:
And because I can’t use Aloe Vera Juice in an oil infusion, I use Aloe Vera powder!!
AND That’s it!!!
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to incorporate Ayurvedic powders, what they do and how I use them. Hopefully this will help out!
Kisses!” – Kemi Lewis.
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