Amla

Glycollic peels? Mud masks? What if you could do both with just one inexpensive, organic, centuries-old ayurvedic product?

Since I’m obsessed with skin care this month, I’m sharing another of my home staples — amla, the Hindi word for the plant called Indian Gooseberry, and I’ve been hooked on it since my 2007 introduction at a henna conference.

Unlike henna, when amla is mixed with water, it does not dye the skin but uses the power of the plant’s vitamin C to slough off dead skin cells, encouraging cell turnover. The plant’s ascorbic acid works gently, and is safe enough to use daily, if desired.

When I do an amla mask, I mix about a tablespoon of powder with hot-warm water (heat helps the acid release faster into your “mud”). Typically, one can wear their mask for 10-15 minutes, but I leave the mud on for about 45 minutes — a time period I stumbled upon by accident when I received an emergency, hand-holding phone call from a girlfriend one day, and didn’t rinse off the mask as quickly as usual. It does turn my face a slight pink from the long exposure to the acid, which didn’t happen at 10 minutes of wear, but I find the results are worth the time and it has never burned my skin, nor made it feel overly sensitive (unlike a few spa-induced glycollic peels in my past that burned and nearly scarred me!)

Amla can be hard to find, and is sold most often as an herbal cure in caplet form. You’ll want the powder form for facial masks, but beware of boxes in herb stores, they may be several years old & like any plant or spice, potency decreases with time. Like henna, amla is sold as a hair conditioning product, but unlike henna, it doesn’t dye your hair. (And no, I’ve not tried it on my hair because I henna my hair every 4-6 weeks, and that’s enough hair-mud in my world).

Henna Caravan is a great online supplier, if I’ve peaked your curiousity — one $7 box can last for months. Wicked good & insanely cheap! What’s not to love?

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Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 9:58 am  Comments (1)  
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