Are you tired of using chemically-treated shampoos? Do you want to restore the natural health of your dull, dry, and damaged hair right now? Then, it is time to go back to Mother Nature and opt for a natural hair washing ingredient. Reetha can be the best choice for making your hair clean, soft, and shiny once again naturally. You need to wash your hair with it in a regular manner, and the results will surprise you! If you do not know much about this magical haircare ingredient, here we are to help you out. Learn how to wash hair with reetha by following two simple and effective methods at home.
What Is Reetha?
Reetha, scientifically called Sapindus Mukorossi, is also commonly known as soapnut, washnut, or Indian soapberry. The reetha tree, native to western coastal Maharashtra in India, is a common Ayurvedic medicinal herb belonging to the Sapindaceae family. The deciduous tree can also be found at lower foothills and mid-hills of the Himalayas. Reetha is a tiny, spherical nut (similar to the walnut) available in almost any store selling Indian herbs and medicinal plants. It is a versatile herb that has been widely used for pharmacological and cleansing purposes.
Reetha has medicinal uses in treating migraine headaches, curing dermatological issues like eczema, and removing skin impurities like acne. Reetha extract can also be used as an organic surfectant to eliminate arsenic from iron-rich soil and increase the mobility of oil from the fields (1).
How Does Reetha Work For Cleansing?
Reetha contains ‘saponins’, which are naturally occurring plant glycosides with exceptional soap-like cleansing properties. Around eleven classes of saponins have been found in more than hundreds of plant families till date. When combined with water, these phytochemicals have a unique chemical structure that helps produce a lather, just like any detergent. Thus, reetha possesses the ability to ‘clean and wash’. Furthermore, when it comes in contact with water, reetha creates mild soap-like suds that make it a great natural cleanser for hair, skin, and clothing (2).
Benefits Of Washing Hair With Reetha
If you are still wondering why using reetha for washing hair has become such a popular choice among Indians, here are the benefits you need to know:
- Washing hair with reetha does not involve the use of harmful chemical compounds like sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and other additives.
- Reetha makes the hair a lot more tangle-free in comparison with the results you get by using other commercial shampoos.
- Since reetha is a very mild ingredient with naturally low pH, the hair’s natural oils remain intact, giving it a better shine and texture after each wash.
- After using reetha, the hair becomes very manageable as it gets completely free from frizziness and split ends.
- Reetha has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which help in reducing hair loss by keeping dandruff away.
- With regular use, reetha makes the hair stronger from the root, which reduces hair fall significantly.
- Reetha makes the scalp feel more moisturized and helps it stay supple.
- It is an excellent conditioner that also nourishes the hair to help it grow faster.
- The saponins in reetha work as insecticides to eliminate lice from your scalp.
Read Also – Amla, Reetha & Shikakai Shampoo Recipe
How To Wash Hair With Reetha?
Reetha is an all-natural cleaning substance that is readily available, inexpensive, reusable, and eco-friendly. Hence, it is used widely for washing clothes, cleaning jewelry, treating certain medical conditions, etc. But the use of reetha as a hair care product is undeniably the most popular of all time. It makes the hair clean, soft, and shiny so that you can feel proud of it! The most convenient way to use reetha for hair is to use it as a hair rinse. Otherwise, you can also make your very own natural reetha shampoo to say ‘no’ to a number of hair problems altogether.
[A] Make Your Own Reetha Shampoo
When combined with other common natural hair cleansing and nourishing ingredients, i.e., shikakai and amla, reetha becomes even more effective in cleaning the hair thoroughly adding both shine and volume. So, prepare a natural shampoo that can combine the goodness of all of these ingredients. Even if you are not much into DIY projects, you can still try making this simple natural shampoo anytime at home. Here is the easy recipe to try:
- Reetha nuts – 10 gm.
- Shikakai – 10 gm.
- Amla – 5 gm.
- Water – 750 ml.
Preparation Of Shampoo
- Take the reetha nuts, shikakai, and amla in a bowl. Add water and allow the ingredients to soak overnight.
- The following day, heat the bowl on high flame till the water comes to a boil.
- Then, reduce the flame a little and keep boiling for 5 to 15 more minutes.
- When the liquid becomes concentrated enough and starts frothing up a bit, turn off the heat.
- Let the mixture cool down by covering the bowl with a lid.
- Once it reaches room temperature, use your hand to crush the boiled ingredients.
- Strain the liquid out but do not throw away the used ingredients. Instead, take another jar of water and place them inside for future use.
Method Of Application:
- Divide the strained liquid mixture into three equal parts.
- Start massaging your scalp with the first part and work it through the entire length and volume of your hair. You will notice that it does not give much lather. Wash it off thoroughly with plain water.
- Repeat the process with the second part of the shampoo, and again, not much lather will be visible. So again, wash it off with plain water.
- Now, use the third part of the shampoo, and this time you will notice slight lather. Again, wash the froth as well as the shampoo off with plain water.
- Finally, pour the water kept inside the jar along with the used soapnuts, shikakai, and amla onto the end of your hair and allow it to soak for about 2-3 minutes. Then, wash it off thoroughly with plain water.
There will be slight lather and a little tangled hair during the third wash, which indicates that the hair has been cleansed completely. But do not worry as reetha, shikakai, and amla are natural conditioners, which will turn your hair softer and smoother instead of creating dryness in it.
[B] Make A Reetha Hair Rinse
If you want a quick natural remedy for shinier and healthier hair, go for a reetha hair rinse. It makes use of reetha powder instead of the whole nuts. The best thing about this method is that it does not need three separate washes like the shampoo and hence, is much less time-consuming. Check out the easy recipe here:
- Dried reetha nuts
- Dried shikakai
Preparation Of Rinse
- Grind a handful of dried reetha nuts into a fine powder.
- Also, grind a handful of dried shikakai pieces into a smooth powder.
- Mix both of these ingredients to prepare a herbal mixture of hair rinse.
- Add some water to this mixture and make an even paste of medium consistency. Now, it is ready to use.
Method Of Application
- Apply the herbal paste to your scalp in a uniform manner and slowly work your way to the end of your hair.
- Massage for 2-3 minutes by moving your fingertips in a small circular motion.
- Then, add water and rinse thoroughly. Make sure that the paste is washed off completely.
- You may want to repeat the rinsing process until the water dripping off your hair is completely transparent. That is when you become sure that the powder has been washed off thoroughly. Even if a bit of it remains in your hair, it will just fall off when your hair is dry.
Make a jarful of this reetha hair rinse mixture and use it for over a month. You can even add a little hibiscus powder to it for better results.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does The Reetha Shampoo Work On Oily Hair?
Natural reetha-shikakai shampoo suits all types of hair perfectly. However, if your hair is too oily, you can apply it directly to your scalp even before making the hair wet and massage gently to ensure that it works on the excess oil. Mixing 1-2 tablespoons of Fuller’s earth or bentonite clay with the shampoo will also help you remove extra oil from your scalp.
Does It Work On Dry Hair?
As said earlier, it works on any hair type. But if you feel that your hair is too dry to handle, add 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seed powder to the shampoo mixture. The moisturizing and conditioning properties of fenugreek will leave your super dry hair silky soft, and shiny smooth.
Should I Condition After Using The Shampoo?
This shampoo does not need to be accompanied by a conditioner. Shikakai works as a natural softener and a detangler, which gives soft, shiny, and easily manageable hair, which does not require an external conditioner. If you have split ends or frizziness, apply a little almond oil or coconut oil to the ends of your locks after shampooing.
Does It Change Blonde Hair?
As the natural reetha shampoo contains shikakai and amla, it may turn your beautiful blonde locks darker over time. But you can always replace these two ingredients with others like fenugreek seeds, nettle leaves, chamomile flowers, horsetail herb, marshmallow root, etc., to keep your hair color intact. All you need to do is take one or more of them 1-2 teaspoons each and add them to the shampoo mix.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Reetha Hair Wash?
Reetha is a natural hair cleanser that has been used in hair care for ages. It is generally safe to use reetha for washing hair. However, you must do a patch test before using the herb for the first time to ensure that you are not allergic to it.
Where Are These Herbs Available For Purchase?
The herbs used in this shampoo can be found in all grocery stores or can be purchased online. Whole herbs are safer and more effective. If you opt for herb powders, make sure that they come from reputed sellers to prevent adulteration.
How To Store Natural Reetha Shampoo?
You cannot produce this shampoo in large batches as storing it in its liquid form for a long time will spoil the benefits. However, you can pour the mixture into ice trays and freeze it for future use. Just take out 2-5 cubes based on your hair length and use them on your hair once they liquefy again.
- “Sapindus Mukorossi“, Wikipedia
- “What Are Saponins? Discovering Their Health benefits“, GlobalHealingCenter.com