Zizyphus to Restore Curls – An Alternative to Amla

I’ve been applying henna to my hair for about 3 months now. While I do love the conditioning effects along with the reddish tint it leaves my hair, I don’t particularly care for the relaxing of my natural curl pattern at the ends of my hair. I don’t have this problem too much at the roots but my ends get looser each time I do a henna treatment!

henna head

I have naturally wavy hair  on some parts of my head and so whatever curl I have, I don’t want it “relaxed” out – even if it’s done naturally. Capiche?

Considering Amla

After reading information about the use of Amla along with a post over on Hairscapades, I decided to try it.

I visited my “source” for henna, They not only sell henna but also a host of natural plant dyes, herbs etc. I was about to purchase some Amla when I realized I didn’t know how much to get. If I buy too much can I store it or will it go to waste?

So, I called Mehandi to find out. I spoke with a wonderful rep who helped me evaluate what my hair needs were:

* Restore some of my curl pattern
* Keep the reddish tint that henna gives me
* Thicken up my hair and protect it further from breakage

The rep suggested I should try something else besides Amla since it has been known to cause lots of sensitivity like itchy scalp. I certainly don’t need any more of the itchies since I battle them on a daily basis.

Enter Zizyphus

The complete name is Zizyphus Spina Christi (Sedr). It’s a desert plant whose leaves were powdered and used to wash hair before shampoo was available.

It’s supposed to leave hair clean, shiny, healthy and well conditioned. It does not leave any color in the hair. A bonus since I don’t want it messing with my color.

The Mixture

Zizyphus mixture

I ordered the Zizyphus and put it in my hair this past weekend. It was mixed with water to a consistency of yogurt and then allowed to sit for about 90 minutes. Initially, I planned to just apply the Zizyphus to the ends of my hair as I don’t want my roots to curl up any further.  But guess who bought too much?!  I purchased 100 grams of the Zizyphus and only needed about 25 to treat the ends of my hair.

So, I wound up applying the zizyphus to my entire head but about a 1/2 inch away from my roots.

zizhphus on hair

Afterwards, I rinsed with hot water. Here’s the stinger. This mug is h$*l to wash out!!  I thought I got it all until I started twisting my hair. I had little herb pieces all throughout my hair!

Actually, it wasn’t that bad because as I worked my styling cream through my hair while twisting, it was quite easy to smooth the left over Zizyphus down and out of my hair.

The Results

Is Zizyphus a keeper? As of now, heck yeah!  Even with the difficulty of rinsing it out, here’s what I noticed after just one treatment:

  • Curls that are springier
  • Softer hair
  • Tresses that feel stronger (I noticed this while twisting)
  • Increased shine

After just one use, I notice that my hair is shinier and more springy. The hair is also more clumped together (I towel dried before and after application):

Before Zizyphus:

Before Zizyphus  Pre Zizyphus Application

After Zizyphus:

Post Zizyphus

After Zizyphus

Zizyphus is just one ayurvedic method of caring for the hair. It cleans AND conditions but get this… The fruits, leaves, and roots of the plant are used in Ayurveda to help cure various disorders such as fever, diarrhea, hiccups, urticaria rash, and obesity (dang, I think I need to start eating it too LOL!)

My next go around I’ll try it on my hair right after a henna session and report back with those results. In any event, Zizyphus is a definite keeper and I believe I’ll be using it every other wash day until my curls are back to looking the way I want..

Have you ever used Zizyphus? Share in the comments!  If not, do you think you’d be interested in trying it?


Michelle Smith
Michelle is a Christian special needs mom residing in the NYC area who shares useful tips to grow and maintain fine natural hair. She's a published author and Creator of Fine Natural Hair and Faith, inspiring others with faith for living along side knowledge on how to care for their "crown."

24 Comment

  1. Hi you’re results look fantastic!! So I was wondering for me my curls are tighter than yours. I started using henna but I guess I started doing it too much because now my hair is kind of almost wavy instead of that super tight kink 😭 It loosened my curls sooo much. Will ZSC restore my curls?

    1. thank you. If you you slack up on the henna, your curls will return. The loosening is temporary.
      Zizyphus does help to restore a lot of the uniformity of the curl but you must be consistent with use. My hair is super kinky now and I almost want to go back to full strength henna’s more regularly. It helps with manageability. However, you can still use henna without curl loosening. Just only henna your new growth…like you would use a relaxer for a touch up 🙂

  2. I want have a little leftover highlights in my hair from over ayear ago. It seems like my hair is at a standstill in the growing department and it really lacks shine. I am not new to being natural I’ve pretty much been that way for years, but never had a special routine that I used. Over the past 5 months I have been trying new products and I am quickly learning what DOES NOT work for my hair but have not found what does work. I need some help ! Should I try the henna and zizphus. Will it help with dryness, shine and growth ?

    1. Hi Barb- I’m not a professional but if I were experiencing what you are describing, I’d start with getting a trim from a qualified stylist. You want to start with a fresh slate by eliminating rotten ends. Then, when it comes to caring for your hair, it’s important to get your hair in a state where it has a balance of protein and moisture. Here’s an article that can help: (read the comments too. Very helpful)

      Re: henna, henna acts like a protein treatment to your hair, leaving it with a cottony feeling. Like you’ll read in the article I just linked, you will need to follow the henna with a protein-free moisturizing conditioner to restore your hair’s moisture balance. I’ll tell you, doing a henna is a long process. You have to have time to do it (think at least 1/2 a day).

      Re: zizyphus, it’s a messy little concoction but works wonders for softening the hair and add that pep back in your hair’s step so to speak.

      You’ll find a lot more information on caring for hair here:

      Hope this all helps. Don’t hesitate to ask more questions.

  3. Thank you! This is just what I was looking for. I have been using the henna as well and am super pleased with the color results but the wavy in my hair has become less and less till its almost straight. I thought I was gonna have to give up henna till I read your post. THANKS AGAIN!!! Will let you know how it works out next month.

    1. Hi Tammara – yeah henna will do that. I don’t do full strength hennas often now (maybe once a year). If you find it’s straightening your hair too much, only henna your new growth like you would if you were doing a relaxer touch up. I do the henna touchups every other month or when I notice my greys out of control

  4. I am going to give the Zizyphus a try after a beer rinse since I have heat damage to a small section of my hair and I do not want to cut it as I am scissor happy and will cut it all off. Thanks for the info.

    1. If you use the Zizyphus, you don’t need to do the beer rinse. If you must do a rinse right after, an apple cider vinegar rinse (diluted with 3 parts water) is recommended.

  5. Thanks, I just received my supply of zizyphus. Will give it a try this weekend. My hair is usually so dry, so just adding conditioner is not enough, do you think it will be ok if I deep condition after or is that to much? Thanks again.

    1. You can deep condition after. That’s fine. I wouldn’t do a protein treatment though. You may find however that after you rinse the Zizyphus out (and it’s a little tedious!), your hair won’t need any extra conditioning. Let me know how it works out for you!

  6. Michelle,have you tried zizyphus right after a henna treatment yet? Could you give me an example of your process when you use zizphus, with/without a henna treatment. Thanks.

    1. hi Carrie- I don’t do it directly after the henna treatment…way too time consuming. Maybe the following week.

      It’s a simple process alone….zizyphus gets mixed with purified or filtered water. Then, I apply it to wet hair. Basically, get in the shower wet the hair and then apply the zizyphus mixture to hair. I allow it to sit for about 30 mins in the hair (uncovered) then I rinse out, add conditioner and proceed with styling

  7. Wow I need to try this z stuff. Have you used it sense this post and seen a difference? Does your hair curl pretty good after the henna treatment?

    1. I was lazy the other day and used Indigo after my henna treatment this weekend. I had meant to do the Zizyphus right after but I was tired. I’m doing it tonight though. I’ll let you know. I’m experiencing breakage which is crazy and I’m thinking it’s because of 1 of 2 products: As I Am Coco Shea Spray (left my hair dry as sand) or the Indigo. Either way, I’m cutting both of these out and just sticking with henna and zizyphus.

  8. Okay, I will be giving this a go!! I love ayurvedic products. You mentioned no more Jamila, does The Henna for African Hair give you color too?

    1. The Henna for African Hair is by Ancient Sunrise. It’s 100% pure henna, with 2.2% natural lawsone content, no detectable lead, 0% contaminants, and 0.0% pesticides. I get it from It has the finest sift which is best for our curly hair. It’s $7 for 100 grams – a little more expensive than other brands but I like it better than the others.

      The Jamila is good too I just really like the Henna for African Hair best. It’s sooo easy to wash out and it leaves my hair feeling like cotton 🙂 The only thing is you have to mix and let it sit over night. It leaves a really nice stain. You see how my hair has that red glow? That’s the henna for African hair. The Jamila never stains my hair that bright.

  9. Look at your hair!!! First of all, it grew! Second of all, that Z…. worked great! You guys experiment so much. I’m scared to put anything in my hair. Love how it came out though v

    1. Really, you think so?? I guess it’s hard to tell when your own hair is growing since you see it all the time. That is not unless you take pics and do length checks. I just started a journal keeping my lengths. I’ll share it in a future posts.

      Honestly, with experimenting I don’t mind doing it with natural stuff. Any of those other products on the market I’m really weary about.

      fyi, I’m doing hair posts on Mondays. don’t want to leave my first love of skin care 🙂

      1. Yeah, you should definitely keep a journal. I guess natural products aren’t bad like chemicals, but I’ll let you ladies test things out first. Lol

  10. Oh wow!!! You can definitely see the difference!!! I’m going to need to re-stock on henna soon, so I’m going to have to order some of this! You hair looks so shiny in the after pics too!!

    1. I know right! I was pleasantly surprised after just 1 use. When I went to pull my hair down to check the elasticity, it was so springy!

      I have about 4 bags of henna left and I’m not getting the Jamila again. The Henna for African Hair seems better. It has more dye content in it.

      When you get the Zizyphus, if you are doing your whole head, 100 grams will be good for you. If you just do the bottom 50 grams should be enough

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