Yes, I think you're right about amla having to be mixed with henna for the colour release when doing a henna-amla-indigo mix. It was good that you pointed it out.
I have never done that when doing a 2-step as my natural hair colour is so dark and the end result of 2-step is black anyway.
The same goes with the cloves: never thought that it could have some darkening effects. My heritage comes from Northern Africa and I've been doing many things because "this is how they were always done" without thinking about them too much. Thank you for the more precise information!
I never found it too dry to have both lemon juice and amla in my henna, but I could imagine it can be. I've heard that only lemon juice by itself can cause dryness for some. I think indigo for me was the more drying part, but in the end of the day the goodness of henna + amla took care of that.
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