How to Make Amla Oil at Home

My love for amla (gooseberry) oil began in my teens. While I grew up with my mom rubbing either almond or coconut oil in my head depending on the season, I fell in love with Dabur Amla Hair Oil on visit to India when I was 14. It was a combination of the commercials with Sridevi flicking her long black hair carelessly in the wind, and the shiny green gold packaging. It might have been one of the first hair products I ever bought for myself (or maybe that was Dep gel?). sridevi dabur amla hair oil{Sridevi; my 80’s idol… she was replaced in the 90’s with a new girl crush – Madhuri}

When I shared my hair care routine earlier this year it included a once a week hot oil treatment using Dabur Amla Hair Oil, but then I read a post over on The Desi Dossier that pointed out that most commercial oils have parabens and other fillers. That kind of freaked me out, so I hit up google for ‘how to make amla oil at home’. The results were a little varied and confusing. 

I’ve tried a couple of the tutorials and formulations suggested online and have finally hit on a method that works and produces about 50ml of an amla and coconut oil mixture. I’m not going to sugarcoat it – this takes some serious elbow grease, but it is totally worth the effort. I put it in my hair last night and then washed it out this morning. For the first time in at least 4 years I was able to blow dry and straighten my hair with nothing but some heat protecting spray. Keep in mind, it usually takes 3-4 products at minimum to get my hair straight-ish.

how to make amla oil at home

If you look at the picture, I still have some frizz, but it is nothing compared to what would happen if I just straightened my hair without product in the past. 

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the how to portion of this post I feel like I need to make a disclaimer. I tried really hard to take ‘pretty’ pictures of the process, but this concoction does not look pretty in the making! Also, I took the basic method on making the oil from this video and worked with the proportions and instructions. 

how to make amla oil at home

How to Make Amla Oil at Home

Ingredients:

1/2 cup amla powder & 1/4 cup amla powder divided
2 cups coconut oil in liquid form
8 cups water

Step 1: Make an Amla Kashayam

A note about ‘kashayam’…Most of the tutorials I saw did not include this part, but a couple did so I did some research on kashayam. Basically, a kashayam is an Ayurvedic dosage of an herb or ingredient. The general idea is to take one part of the ingredient and add 16 parts liquid and then boil it down until it concentrates to 2 parts of the original mixture. I tried my best, but I couldn’t get the whole ’16 parts to 2 parts ratio’ correct, but I did like the idea of concentrating the effects of the amla so I made a kashayam as follows.how to make amla oil at home{On the left is what I started with & on the right is the kashayam after being reduced}

Combine the water and 1/2 cup amla powder in a wide mouthed stainless steel pot. It’s important not to use a pot with teflon or chemical coatings because you don’t want those in your oil. Bring the mixture up to boiling point and then reduce to a simmer stirring frequently. You’ll want to boil this until it reduces to about 2 cups of liquid. Mine took around 45 minutes to reduce. Just don’t walk away for too long or the powder will burn and stick to the bottom of the pot. 

Step 2: Strain the Kashayam

strained kashayam{At this point the kashayam looks very dark}

Once you’ve reduced the water mixture to approximately 2 cups, strain the kashayam through a fine sieve with a piece of muslin or cheese cloth over it. You want to get all the sandy powder out of mixture.

Step 3: Purify the Oil

Now you are going to take a clean pot (if you are using the same one as step 1 make sure there is no residue or water left in it), and add the coconut oil, 1/4 cup of amla powder and the kashayam and combine everything. Bring this whole mixture up to a boil and then drop to a low simmer to prevent splatters.

This is the tedious part of the process; you must keep stirring this mixture so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of  the pan. The first phase you will see is when the mixture gets really muddy and the grit starts to separate from the oil. 

how to make amla oil at home{If you look closely there are a lot more bubbles on the left than the right side}

Initially the oil will have lots of bubbles on top of it; that is all the moisture content. The point of this step is to burn off all the water, and leave behind just pure coconut oil. As the water burns off you will start to smell the amla aroma and there will be little to no bubbles on top of the oil.

Honestly, my oil never got to the point where there was absolutely no bubbles, but after 50 minutes there was just one or two bubbles so I pulled it off the stove. 

Step 4: Strain and Bottle Your Liquid Gold!

Once again strain the liquid through a sieve and fine cloth. You have to do this while the oil is still hot or it will solidify and you won’t be able to strain it. 

I know it’s a lot of work, but the oil we put on our scalp seeps right into our bloodstream so it’s worth it for something that is pure. I’m in love with this oil and will definitely try doubling the recipe next time. 

PS: If you enjoyed this post, you might like this one on a homemade super moisture mask too!

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. August 5, 2014 / 2:38 pm

    I’ve always been in love with Dimple Kapadia’s hair! Best hair ever.
    And wow this took some serious effort to make. When I saw your Instagram picture I assumed you just add the powder to an oil. Silly me *face palms*
    Really glad I my local store sells a pure Amla oil.

  2. sheelpaa
    May 31, 2015 / 7:47 am

    Hi Raj, good post, just wondering if you could do the oil with fresh amlas. Have you ever tried that? Thanks

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