Every woman wishes to have beautiful and lustrous hair but in today’s busy and hectic life, it is quite difficult to achieve the same. So often your hair gets clumsy. Pollution, dirt, hair cosmetics, hair sprays, gels, hard water, chemicals from swimming pool, your shampoo or conditioners all leave your hair dull and heavy. Harsh chemicals in your shampoo don’t help much and your fear for your hair makes you fall prey of shampoo advertisements.
Shikakai is God-sent natural fruit which can help your hairs. Shikakai – as the Sanskrit is combination of Shika or hair and Kai or the fruit. Shikakai is “fruit for the hair” and has been long used in Ayurveda. It is mild and has natural surfactant properties. In short it has all properties for a natural hair shampoo. It serves as excellent natural clarifying shampoo.
Shikakai, obtained from the fruit pods of the Acacia Concinna tree is an herbal powder that is popularly used in India for its various hair and skin benefits. Regular use of shikakai has been found to strengthen hair strands, reduce hair fall, increase volume of hair and also get rid of dandruff and other scalp problems. It is also effective in treating skin related problems such as dry skin, scabies and other skin infections.
Shikakai is high in nutrients like antioxidants and vitamins C, A, D, E, and K, which are essential for the healthy growth of hair. The seed or fruit of the plant is dried, mixed with the bark and leaves, and then ground into a very fine powder. The bark of this tree contains saponins, which makes the shikakai powder lather up like soap. Shikakai is available in the market in the form of powder or dried fruit.
Shikakai benefits for hair
Shikakai, also known as the fruit for the hair is a mild cleanser that ensures healthy growth of your hair without ripping off its natural oils. Shikakai helps make your hair soft and stronger. It protects from dandruff, lice, hair loss, graying of hair. The following are some of the amazing benefits that shikakai can provide for your hair:
Shikakai makes your hair soft and shiny
The regular use of shikakai not only makes your hair much softer but also adds a beautiful shine to it. Shikakai detangles your hair and makes it more manageable. No more frustrating tangles with Shikakai hair treatments.
Shikakai for hair growth and strength
Applying shikakai to the hair makes the hair roots stronger and healthier. This helps in the growth of strong and lustrous hair. Shikakai thus helps in reducing hair loss. It prevents loss of hair, protects from breakage and birttleness of hair. It is effective in treating thinning of hair. One of the effective remedies to strengthen your hair is to massage your hair and scalp with coconut oil which has been heated with shikakai powder. It protects from hair splitting problem as well.
Shikakai cleanses your hair
Shikakai is a wonderful cleanser for your hair and scalp. It removes all the dirt without stripping off excessive moisture from the scalp. It also does not contain any toxic chemicals that would cause damage to your hair. Along with Shikakai pod, powder or extract of shikakai bar or its leaves are have hair cleansing properties.
Shikakai over graying of hair
In most of the cases, graying of hair is part of aging process. Use of Shikakai along with other herbal ingredients like amla, reetha, etc. can prevent the aging of hair. It can help you retain young looking hair.
Shikakai absorbs dyes effectively
Shikakai is a great absorber for dye in the hair and so those who color their hair on a regular basis should consider using it on their hair before they apply the dye. The application of shikakai ensures that your hair absorbs the color in a better and more effective manner.
Shikakai for dandruff
Shikakai is considered to be one of the best remedies for dandruff. It has anti-fungal properties that help in reducing dandruff and other scalp related problems. The nutrients found in this herb nourish the scalp and help prevent further infections. Today pods and leaves of this plant are used in various anti dandruff preparations.
Shikakai for dry scalp
Most of the hair treatments leave your hair and scalp dry. Shikakai helps repair your hair without getting rid of essential oil. Thus it reduces scalp dryness and flaking while ensuring benefits for hair.
Shikakai for hair lice
Other problem associated with hair is that of hair lice. It can discomfort your scalp and cause itchiness. Shikakai treatment of hair can also help get rid of lice. It has properties to stall their growth and get rid of them.
Other use of shikakai
- The leaves of shikakai have acidic taste and are used in making chutneys.
- The pods of Shikakai can be soaked in water and then used to clean the skin. Regular use of this remedy will leave your skin looking healthier and younger. It also helps in fighting the signs of ageing by keeping away wrinkles, fine line and dark spots.
- The bark of shikakai contains saponin that has spermicidal activity and hormonal effects, which makes it useful for contraceptive purposes.
- A decoction of shikakai and reetha in water is useful in washing delicate clothes such as silk, cashmere and pure cotton without causing any damage to them. It also helps in removing stains from the clothes.
- Shikakai is effective in treating minor scalp wounds like cuts or bruises. Its mild action along with antibacterial property can aid recovery. As home remedy, one can make paste of roasted shikakai powder, neem leaves and turmeric. Apply this paste to scalp wound.
- Shikakai is traditionally used for treating scabies. Above paste made from shikakai, neem and turmeric can be used as antiseptic wash over scabies.
- Extract of leaves of Shikakai are traditionaly used in treating malarial fever
- Extracts of shikakai pods and leaves with their phytochemical profile are used as larvicidal and mosquito repellant.
How to use shikakai for hair
How to wash hair with shikakai? There are many ways by which you can reap the benefits of shikakai. The traditional method is to massage the scalp first with coconut oil. Then a paste made from Shikakai powder and water is applied and washed with lukewarm water.
Amla Reetha Shikakai Shampoo: Shikakai can be used to make a natural shampoo for hair. How to make natural shampoo from Shikakai? You can start off by soaking dried shikakai pods, ritha or soap nut and dried amla in water overnight. It is most effective if soaked in an iron vessel. Next day, boil the water until the pods become softer so that they can be mashed with your hands. Let the mixture cool and then strain it. Use this water as a best natural shampoo to clean your hair scalp. Amla Reetha Shikakai shampoo is all natural shampoo. It is mild and may not lather like the chemical shampoos that you buy from the stores. There are many other methods on how to prepare shikakai shampoo at home. We shall be coming with more Shikakai shampoo recipes.
Read more about benefits of soap nuts or reetha
Shikakai powder for hair growth: Another way of using shikakai is as a hair pack. Just like the shampoo, making a hair pack is also fairly simple. For the hair pack, you need to boil dried shikakai or shikakai powder, fenugreek powder, neem leaves and some dried amla in a cup of water for about 15 minutes. Then let the mixture cool after which you need to mash the contents with your hands. Strain the water and use it to massage the scalp and hair. Leave it on for half an hour and then rinse off with lukewarm water. Shikakai hair packs are very effective in getting rid of dandruff as well as other scalp related problems.
Shikakai hair oil for hair growth: Using shikakai oil is good way of treating your hair. There are two ways of making shikakai oil. One can boil shikakai powder in coconut oil for 10-15 minutes on small flame. Allow the oil to cool before you stain the oil and store oil for future use. Alternately 2 table spoon of shikakai powder to a cup of olive oil or avocado oil. Mix well and allow the mixture remain for 3-4 weeks with occasional shaking. This shikakai infused oil can be used as hair nourishing oil. Shikakai oil can be applied to skin as well. So enjoy shikakai oil benefits!
Shikakai hair soap: Shikakai soap or shikakai shampoo bar are low cost hair treatment solutions promoted in some parts of India. These herbal hair wash soap contain shikakai extracts other with other herbs. Amla Reetha Shikakai Hair Wash soap is a popular combination. Other combinations include Shikakai, Bhringaraj and Brahmi. You may want to give try shikakai soap for hair
Shikakai Body Wash: You have seen how to use shikakai powder for hair wash. In some places in south India, rice water along with shikakai powder is also used as body wash. Rice is cooked in excess water. Once rice is cooked, this excess water is removed. It is called rice kanji. Rice kanji is mixed with shikakai powder and some aromatic essential oil and can be used as whole body wash.
Shikakai for hair wash: To make shikakai hair wash, boil 1-2 tbsp of shikakai powder or pods in 2 cups of water, till you are left with shikakai paste. Add some more water and honey. Use this shikakai water as hair rinse. Apply to wet hair and massage scalp.
Shikakai Powder Hair Pack: Simply mix some shikakai powder with fresh yogurt and apply to your hair and scalp. Let it remain for 20-30 minutes before you wash with cold water. Regular use can help get good looking stronger and healthier hair.
Nowadays people spend lot of money on hair care and skin care products but are left with unsatisfactory results most of the time. Unlike other shampoos and hair care products, Shikakai has low pH, which makes it suitable to be used on hair, as it will not strip the hair off its natural oils. It is a wonderful herb that has been used for many years as herbal shampoo and has been proven to provide effective results. So next time, search for organic shikakai powder in your beauty shop and give it a try.