A couple of generations ago, people rarely faced premature hair issues. Their hair had an ageless quality, with few gray strands and minimum thinning. Wondered why? The answer is right there – Shikakai aka Soapnut. Often, it was the only thing our elders used to wash their hair. Shikakai’s shampoo-like quality made it the perfect natural hair wash. So, if you are scouring Mall shelves for a chemical-free, herbal hair cleanser to keep your crowning glory healthy and vibrant – try Shikakai-based herbal products. Markets today are overflowing with Shikakai shampoos, hair and skin packs, powders, etc. Ayurveda suggests several other herbs, besides Shikakai, for managing hair problems. Regular use of Shikakai in tandem with these herbs guarantees glorious hair.
Let’s understand how Shikakai works and benefits us.
What Makes Shikakai A Nourishing Cleanser?
Shikakai (Acaciaconcinna) is a thorny climbing shrub with oblong-shaped fruit pods and whitish-pink flowers. The Shikakai bark and pod contain Saponins (a group of organic molecules) and micronutrients (such as vitamins A, C, D, E, and K). Saponins are unique compounds that produce foam (lather) with water similar to detergents. Besides, Saponins have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. The Saponin plus Vitamin combination makes Shikakai the perfect hair cleansing cum nourishing agent.
How is Shikakai Beneficial for your Hair?
The word Shikakai translates to ‘food for the hair’. Although this magical herb helps manage digestive system problems, this article focuses only on Shikakai’s hair benefits.
Cleanses Naturally with Minimum Damage
City life exposes us to several pollutants – dust, cement, smoke, smog, carbon particles from car exhausts – demanding frequent hair washing. Non-herbal shampoos contain parabens and sulfates, harmful chemicals that damage your hair, making it dry and brittle. Herbal hair products, like Shikakai shampoo, clean without depleting your scalp of its natural oil. You get clean hair follicles and a clean scalp, with minimum dryness and damage.
Conditions Hair Naturally
The saponins in Shikakai are mild surfactants (showing detergent-like action) with a low pH level (4.5-5.5). Shikakai detangles meshed hair gently and smoothens knots, leaving your hair soft, shiny, and silky. The best part is the reduction in breakages and splitting.
Keeps Dandruff at Bay
Dandruff is a common and embarrassing hair problem – marked by an itchy and white flaky scalp. The cause is Malassezia – a fungus that grows by feeding on the oils in your scalp. Shikakai, an antifungal and cleansing agent, removes excess dried oil that clogs hair roots without increasing flakiness and prevents fungal growth.
Reduces Hair Loss
Shikakai is rich in micronutrients. It replenishes the scalp with essential oils and vitamins that penetrate deep to nourish the hair, reducing hair loss and promoting strong, healthy growth. Replace your non-herbal shampoo with herbal Shikakai products and watch your hair bounce back to life.
Heals Scalp Wounds and Cuts
Being non-abrasive, Shikakai cleanses without aggravating irritated, itchy scalp. Further, Shikakai’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action helps manage minor wounds and cuts by controlling microbial growth.
Helps Manage Lice
Lice infestation is a persistent and troublesome issue with school-going children. Getting rid of their hair lice is tricky. You can’t use harsh solutions and chemicals on tender skin. Shikakai’s antimicrobial action makes it the best option. Regular head washes using Shikakai gently clean the scalp and slow down the growth of lice.
Prevents Premature Graying
The human body, at the cellular level, is organic. In-organic chemical products are not conducive to our health. Human hair is no exception. The use of non-herbal shampoos and conditioners causes premature graying. Herbal Shikakai hair cleansers complement human hair’s organic composition. Check out this DIY Natural Shampoo for healthy hair – an excellent way to get started at home.
Excellent Stress Buster
Shikakai-infused oil and hair pack massages are known to reduce the heaviness of the head. Shikakai has a cooling effect that soothes throbbing nerves, relieving headaches and stress.With regular use of Shikakai hair products (oils, hair washes, packs, and conditioners), you can realize your dream of strong, thick, lustrous hair.
How to Use Shikakai for Best Results?
Here are a few easy ways of implementing a regular Shikakai hair care routine.
1. Basic Shikakai Powder
1 kg of sun-dried Shikakai pods; Grind in a blender and sieve using a fine sieve for a super-fine powder.
- Mix 1 tbsp of powder in half cup of any carrier oil (Coconut, Tulsi, Gingelly, or Avocado); Leave the mixture to mature for a couple of weeks; apply to scalp 2 – 3 times a week.
- Mix 1 – 2 tsp with fresh yogurt; apply to the scalp; leave for half an hour; wash with Shikakai shampoo or cold water. Repeat at least once a week.
2. Shikakai, Amla, Reetha Hair Wash
20 gm Shikakai; 20 gm Reetha; 10 gm Amla (all three powders).
- Soak all ingredients overnight in 1 – 2 lit of water
- Bring to boil, simmer until the water reduces to half
- Cool the mixture, gently crush the pods, and strain
- Use this decoction to wash your hair at least once a week
3. Shikakai, Amla, Reetha Hair Pack for Dandruff
15 gm Shikakai; 10 gm Reetha; 8 gm Amla (all three powders); 5 drops Neem oil; 15 drops Virgin Coconut oil
- Mix all three powders
- Add the oil one at a time and mix well
- Allow soaking for 15 – 20 minutes
- Apply to scalp and hair, leave for 30 minutes before rinsing
3. Of the counter, Shikakai soaps, and shampoos
There are several reputed herbal products available in the market. Read their reviews and product descriptions and pick up a Shikakai soap and shampoo best suited for your hair texture.Finally, remember, too much of anything can be counterproductive. In your enthusiasm, do not overuse. Always stick to prescribed dosages. And, if you are allergic to any of the herbs mentioned in the article, consult a doctor before use.
Happy hair care!
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