Beautiful, lustrous and thicker hair is something we all want, and no day goes by without learning about yet another incredible product that is going to mean the world for our hair, turning it into that amazingly thick and healthy hair that we were dreaming about.
Even if the market gives us all sorts of revolutionary product that do work, wouldn’t be even better if you’d use something that isn’t just good for your hair and health, but also for the environment? After all, nature gives us so many ingredients that benefit the hair. You only need the patience and the time to look for them and to create your very own recipe that makes your hair grow healthier and longer than ever.
So you’ve heard of shikakai, or by its formal name Acacia concinna? Scroll down for a closer look.
What is Shikakai and is it good for the hair?
Shikakai (it means “hair-fruit” or “fruit for hair”) is a tree that grows in central India and looks like a shrub. People in India have been using it for centuries for cleansing their hair, body and everywhere they needed to clean. Shikakai is very similar with tamarind and its seed is found inside a pod.
One thing that is very special about shikakai is that it lathers pretty well and that’s because its bark is loaded with saponins that are going to foam up when shaken in water. And that’s pretty much what happens with soaps too. The seed (or fruit) is dried and combined with the leaves and bark. They all are going to be ground into a fine powder that can also be turned into a paste for using it on hair.
You may very well go with the “no poo” method, which became pretty popular, but you’re not going to have the suds of a commercial shampoo. You don’t know which way to go? Go with shikakai, as it’s natural and lathers at the same time.
Shikakai has a high concentration of vitamin A, D, E and K, but also antioxidants and all of them are going to sustain a healthy and fast hair growth. the vitamins give the hair follicles the nutrients they need for growing healthier and faster.
Nowadays you don’t have to make your own powder, but simply get the bottle and take it from there.
The benefits of Shikakai for the hair
Loaded with vitamin C and D, shikakai is a commonly-used ingredient that works amazingly as a hair cleanser. It brings plenty of benefits for the hair so here are some of them:
- You can use it when treating dandruff.
Shikakai has anti-fungal abilities so it’s going to nourish the scalp, minimizing the risk for itching and dryness of scalp. As long as you’re using it on a regular basis, shikakai is going to keep dandruff at bay.
- It prevents a dry scalp
Acting like a natural cleanser, shikakai is great for the dry scalp as it keeps it well cleansed, without stripping it from the essential natural oils.
- It thickens and strengthens your hair
This plant is great as it makes the hair roots a lot stronger, which is only going to make your hair healthier and stronger with a minor risk for hair loss.
- It makes your hair shiny and soft
Due to the natural ingredients of shikakai, the plant is helping your hair grow shinier and softer.
- You can use it for detangling the hair
Having curly hair is great as long as you have the patience to get rid of the tangles from time to time. Shikakai is also good for detangling the curls after your regular shampoo. You only need to run your fingers through the hair while you’re rinsing the hair.
- It may even heal minor wounds
Calming and soothing, skikakai brings comfort to the irritated scalp and even healing minor abrasions and cuts on your scalp.
- It may remove hair lice
Hair lice isn’t a regular hair problem, but you have kids in school, chances are you’re going to have to deal with this problem sooner or later. You should know that shikakai is going to stop the growth of hair lice, eliminating them at the same time.
- It soothes the head
It may sound incredible, but a shikakai pack is going to bring comfort on a hot day, relieving a headache. Even so, working as a soothing hair pack isn’t bad at all.
- It slows down the aging of your hair
Grey hair is one sign that we’re aging and shikakai may delay that process, helping you keep your hair healthy and radiant for a longer time.
On top of everything else, shikakai is a cheap and natural solution to the chemical-laden shampoos. As long as you’re getting some tips about what’s the best way to use it, you shouldn’t have any problems in using shikakai as your regular hair care regimen for a very long time.
DIY Shikakai shampoo made from shikakai powder
If you’re thinking about making a shampoo from shikakai powder, here’s what you’re going to need:
- 2-3 tablespoons of shikakai powder
- 2-3 tablespoons of water
You should begin by mixing the water and powder until you get a runny mixture. The runny mixture is going to serve you as the shikakai hair wash. You should complete it with water until you get a runny mixture. The better the consistency of the mixture, the higher the chances for you to spread it nice and easy through your hair strands.
Once you got the right consistency for your mixture, you should put it aside and leave it at room temperature until the next day.
You’re going to apply the mixture to the hair the next morning. Make sure you apply the mixture evenly through the scalp and use your fingers for spreading it all over your hair strands too.
Now it’s time that you get some rest once again, waiting for the mixture for 15 minutes or so. You’re not going to rinse it just yet. As a matter of fact, you need to work the shikakai mixture once again into the scalp before rinsing it with water.
If you’re not sure you cleaned it all up, you should also use some coconut oil for removing all the pasta leftovers from your hair.
The video below by Babilon Kay explains how to use shikakai powder to make a cream and how to apply it as a mask on the hair:
How to use Shikakai for the hair
The benefits of Shikakai are incredible and there are other ways to use it:
you can use the Shikakai paste and leave it on your hair for 30 minutes. This way, all the amazing ingredients inside are going to work on deeper level on your hair strands. You may find it a bit tricky to rinse the paste when time’s up, but a bit of oil or diluted conditioner is going to solve the problem.
Shikakai and oil hair treatment
You can also step up your game and make a hair treatment. Here’s what you need:
- 1 tablespoon Shikakai powder
- ½ cup of a base oil (choose your favorite one. Coconut, almond, olive and avocado oil are the best choices out there).
You’re going to mix the powder and the base oil, using a closed container when you’re done. You need to shake very well the whole mixture and store the container in a dark and cool place afterwards. You’re going to have to practice your patience as it’s going to take 3 weeks until the mixture is done for use. Keep in mind that you also need to shake the mixture from time to time as you don’t want the shikakai to set.
After the 3 weeks, you can use the shikakai-infused oil on both your skin and hair. remember to store it in a cool, dry and dark place.
Shikakai tea method
Even if this method is going to take a bit longer than the paste, it’s actually easier to rinse out from the hair. you’re going to need for this:
- 1-3 tablespoons of shikakai powder
- 1 cup of water/herbal tea
You mix the two and let them sit for 1-5 hours. You’re going to have to use a sieve when time is up so that you can pass the mixture. Add only 1 ½ cups of hot water/herbal tea to the shikakai water.
This liquid you’re going to use instead of your regular shampoo. You may apply it on your wet hair, massaging it all over your hair and scalp. Don’t forget to shake it very well as you want to improve the suds. You may even let it work for a couple of minutes, covering your head with a shower cap and only rinsing the hair at the end of the shower.