When it comes to taking care of our hair, there are hundreds of cosmetic giants offering thousands of products. But if you want to avoid the use of harmful chemicals on your locks, you have to trust Mother Nature. Though there are Ayurvedic and herbal hair care products in the market, most of them come with preservatives or additives. So, it is always better to stick to simple homemade products that have been used since ancient times. Shikakai powder is one such natural hair care product that was an integral part of ancient Indian hair care practice. In this article, let us uncover the secret recipe of homemade shikakai hair wash powder along with its application as well as benefits.
What Is Shikakai?
Shikakai, scientifically known as Acacia Concinna and commonly called soap pod, is a climbing shrub from the Acacia genus. Originated from Asia, this Ayurvedic medicinal plant has been traditionally used as a natural hair care product throughout the Indian Subcontinent since ages. The fruit pods, leaves, and bark of the plant contain high levels of ‘saponins’, which contribute to its foaming and mild cleansing properties. Hence, shikakai has been used as a natural shampoo or hair powder. Even though it does not produce lots of lather like sulfate-rich commercial shampoos, it cleanses the scalp perfectly with its naturally low pH and makes hair beautiful without stripping of its natural oils. The fruit pods of shikakai are dried under the sun and ground into a fine powder, which is then turned into a paste by adding water for washing hair. These days, the ingredient is also added to synthetic Ayurvedic shampoos (1).
The word ‘shikakai’ means ‘food for the hair’. It is named so because the extract of the fruit pod has long been used as an herbal shampoo.
1. What Are The Hair Benefits Of Shikakai?
Now, let us take a detailed look into the benefits offered by shikakai for our hair:
2. Keeps The Scalp Clean
The best thing about shikakai is that it cleanses dirt, excess oil, and dandruff accumulated on the scalp nicely. This helps in cooling it down and maintaining the natural oil of the hair.
3. Nourishes Hair Follicles
Vitamin C and vitamin D are abundant in shikakai. It also contains lots of micronutrients. All these help in nourishing the hair follicles, thereby enhancing the overall health of the hair.
4. Conditions Hair Strands
Shikakai works s a natural conditioner for our hair. It not only strengthens the root of each strand but also makes the fibers softer. This is essential for luxuriant hair growth.
5. Promotes Hair Growth
As the ingredient provides sufficient nourishment to the hair follicles, the growth of hair gets stimulated. Moreover, its vitamin C content gives the scalp a significant collagen boost, which also makes the hair grow exponentially.
6. Reduces Hair Loss
It improves the health of the scalp by keeping it clean and providing nutrients to it. As a result, you get rid of the issues like frequent hair fall or severe hair loss.
7. Adds Beautiful Shine
If your hair is dull, unhealthy, and always tangled, shikakai can be the savior. It not only turns the hair healthy from inside but also makes it more manageable and adds a beautiful shine to it.
DIY: Shikakai Hair Wash Powder Recipe
- Shikakai – 500 gms.
- Reetha (soap nut) – 100 gms.
- Methi (fenugreek seed) – 250 gms.
- Fresh tulsi (holy basil) leaves – 1 bunch
- Moong bean (green gram) – 250 gms.
- Fresh curry leaves – 1 bunch
When you have gathered all the ingredients, wait for a couple of bright sunny days (best to opt for summer months). Clean and wash each of the ingredients thoroughly and leave them under the sun for 6 hours each day in order to dry them up. In two days’ time, they will be crisp and completely dry. Now, all you have to do is to grind them into a smooth, fine powder and that’s it! Store the hair wash powder in a clean, dry jar. The shelf life of this homemade product is very long. So, you can actually store it for months.
While turning the shikakai hair wash powder into a paste, replace plain water with rice water if possible. Rice water is amazing for the health and beauty of our hair and will boost the results of your hair wash significantly.
How To Use Shikakai Hair Wash Powder?
- Take a small portion of the powder in a bowl and add a little water to it. Stir gently until a smooth paste is formed. Let it stay at least for 2 hours before you wash your hair. You can also soak the powder in water the night before use.
- Divide your hair into two sections and apply the paste all over your scalp as well as hair thoroughly.
- Wait for around 5 minutes. You can massage your scalp gently during this time.
- Now, rub your hair very gently with your palms by using plain water and rinse off just like your regular shampoo.
- Repeat the step if necessary and air dry your hair to feel the softness.
Know The Benefits Of Other Ingredients
1. Reetha (Soapnut)
Reetha is known for its lathering effect, which gives the powder a soapy nature in water. It removes just the right amount of oil from the scalp and makes it squeaky clean by eliminating all impurities and dirt. Being a natural anti-fungal agent, it helps treat various scalp diseases too. It also adds a beautiful shine to the locks.
2. Methi (Fenugreek)
Rich in proteins and nicotinic acid, methi is known for nourishing hair roots and adding bounce to the hair fibers by replenishing damaged and dry hair efficiently. Frequent use of methi on hair can prevent premature greying and reverse the condition of baldness. It treats dandruff and stimulates the regrowth of hair too.
3. Tulsi Leaves (Holy Basil)
Tulsi is a wonder plant for hair, which is very readily available. When used in the hair wash powder, it prevents hair fall by reducing body heat, kills lice, removes dandruff, and even thickens the hair shafts.
Read Also – How To Take Care Of Your Hair After Washing
4. Moong Bean (Green Gram)
Moong bean has exactly what your hair needs to treat split ends i.e. proteins and vitamin B. It also cleanses the scalp, removes dandruff, and maintains the right moisture content of the hair, thereby reducing breakage and making the hair shiny. It also makes the hair dense and gorgeous over time.
5. Curry Leaves
This is the final ingredient that will stop hair thinning and reduce hair fall by repairing damaged roots and strengthening hair follicles. It also treats premature greying while adding a natural shine to your hair. These are also readily available leaves.
Read Also – How To Use Curry Leaves For Hair Growth
Why Use DIY Shikakai Hair Wash Powder?
Deep black hair is iconic to Indian women and washing it with a homemade herbal powder is always the best to maintain its health and luster. Here is why you should be replacing your branded shampoo with this humble shikakai hair wash powder made at home:
- A homemade hair wash powder comes with the goodness of all natural ingredients, which enhances the health and growth of our hair extensively. It is absolutely safe for our hair as it does not contain harmful chemicals like store-bought shampoos.
- It cleanses the scalp, conditions the fibers, and makes the hair perfectly healthy.
- These days, readymade herbal hair wash powder is available in the market, which typically includes 2 to 4 ingredients only (shikakai, reetha, amla, methi, etc.). Preparing your own version at home will allow you to add more beneficial ingredients for even better outcomes.
- Most of the ingredients used in this powder are available locally while rest can be ordered online easily. Moreover, all these are inexpensive and hence, you can save considerable amounts of money by making the powder yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Much Powder Do I need For Each Wash?
The amount of homemade shikakai hair wash powder needed for washing hair can vary depending upon the length of the hair.
What Other Ingredients Can Be Added To It?
The hair benefits of this homemade shikakai hair wash powder can be boosted any time by adding a few more natural hair-friendly ingredients including amla, hibiscus flower, hibiscus leaves, neem leaves, dried rose petals, dried henna leaves, lemon zest, etc.
Does This Powder Make Hair Dry?
Shikakai does not dry out the scalp. Rather, it cleanses the scalp gently and regulates the secretion of sebum in it. However, if you wash your hair regularly with shikakai hair wash powder, you may experience a little dryness. You can massage your scalp and hair with good herbal oil and let it sit for 1-2 hours before washing your hair with this powder. This will make your hair softer, smoother, and silkier.
Does It Produce Lather?
This homemade hair wash powder does not produce lather, but it is highly effective in cleaning the scalp and making the hair soft. So, if you are looking for something lathering, this might not be a good choice for you.
How To Store The Hair Wash Powder?
You can prepare this hair wash powder once and use it for 6 long months if stored properly. Make sure that you keep it in an airtight container and absolutely away from any moisture.
- “Acacia Concinna“, Wikipedia