We all have, at some point, heard of shikakai, be it in some hair product commercial or from our family elders. This magical herb that has been a legacy left behind by the generations has withstood the test of time and is making a comeback as we are inclining towards natural and organic products. What’s more, the use of shikakai has now spread across the globe.
Shikakai is now used in combination with other herbs, and this has only served to enhance its prowess as a potent herbal component. Read on to know what shikakai is.
What is Shikakai?
Shikakai, or the “fruit for hair”, is an Indian Ayurvedic herbal medicine. It has multiple benefits for the skin and medicinal uses and could also function as a detergent. However, it is extensively used in hair treatment and health.
Is Shikakai Good for hair?
- Shikakai contains vitamins A, C, D, E, and K and other antioxidants that promote hair growth.
- The micro-nutrients present in shikakai help nourish the hair follicle and make your hair grow fast naturally.
- It contains saponins that make shikakai lather when shaken with water. This means that shikakai hair cleansers do not require laboratory-made artificial soaps.
Properties of Shikakai
Wondering what is Shikakai? Shikakai is a powerful Ayurvedic shrub-like tree with an array of beneficial properties. Is shikakai good for hair? The answer is yes, as it is loaded with many hair benefit properties, as described below:
1. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Being a natural surfactant, Shikakai is used for scalp cleansing and also strengthening hair follicles right from the root, thereby preventing scalp inflammation.
2. Anti-dandruff Properties
Shikakai reduces irritation from the scalp and dryness, thereby providing relief from scalp itching and dandruff.
3. Wound-healing Properties
Shikakai is an ancient herb being used not just to treat a variety of diseases but to heal wounds as well due to its medicinal properties.
4. Anti-hair Fall Properties
Shikakai has antioxidants that boost the flow of oxygen and thereby help prevent hair fall.
5. Anti-fungal Properties
Shikakai also helps combat fungus due to its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
Shikakai Benefits for Hair
1. Controls Hair fall
Shikakai benefits the hair by controlling your hair fall. The presence of antioxidants and vitamins prevents your hair from becoming brittle and coarse.
2. Prevents Dry Hair
Shikakai makes your hair soft and shiny, preventing the dryness of your scalp. It also helps avoid lice in your hair. Additionally, it retains the natural lustre of hair.
3. Cleans Scalp Retaining the Natural Oils
A dry scalp can cause irritation, hair fall and deters hair growth. Shikakai cleanses the scalp gently, which induces the release of oils from the sebaceous glands and reduces dryness and inflammation of the scalp. This could further initiate healing of the scalp if you are experiencing other scalp-related issues.
4. Defer Greying of Hair
The use of chemical-ridden shampoo and the considerable stress you go through can hasten the greying of hair. Unlike such shampoos, shikakai retains hair moisture and nourishes it, healing the scalp. This further aids in delaying the process of greying despite your stressful daily life.
Research indicates that free radicals in the cells cause ageing and premature greying. Shikakai effectively prevents such free radical damage.
5. Prevents Hair Tangling
Detangling hair can be painful, especially if your hair is curly or does not have enough moisture. To comb such hair could be disastrous and will undoubtedly result in loss of hair. Once again, shikakai to the rescue! It cleanses your hair gently and helps retain moisture. This makes detangling easier, whatever be your hair type.
6. Hair Growth
Your hair needs moisture and protein to grow naturally. You can mix shikakai with henna and yoghurt to make a hair mask. Alternatively, you can mix shikakai with reetha and amla to make a hair mask. This helps cleanse the scalp, rejuvenate the sebaceous glands, and prevent free radicals from damaging hair follicles. In addition, the combined goodness of these ingredients will promote the growth of hair.
7. Protects and Nourishes Hair Follicles
Hair starts growing at the bottom of the hair follicle, and its root is made of protein cells. Vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen formation, a structural protein found in the skin. Shikakai benefits your hair with its rich vitamin C content and helps nourish hair follicles.
8. Keeps Hair Germ Free
Shikakai’s antifungal and antimicrobial properties keep precarious issues at bay. Problems like scalp eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, itchy scalp, lice, and inflammation can be prevented by regular use.
9. Hair Cleanser
Shikakai is a natural hair cleanser that cleans all the dirt, pollutants and impurities from the scalp without causing damage to the hair, unlike other chemical-ridden soaps or detergents. In addition, it retains the natural oil content from the sebaceous glands without leaving the scalp dry and itchy after the bath.
10. Repairs Split Ends
Split ends are amongst the most common hair concerns. If you have had them, you know that the only way to get rid of them is to cut off the hair at the ends. This is akin to hair fall and can be a problem if you are trying to increase the length of your tresses.
The only way to avoid split ends is by improving the health of your hair. Shikakai, rich in antioxidants, is a perfect foil to the damage caused by the free radicals. It boosts sebum secretions in the scalp that retain moisture, making your hair stronger and preventing split ends.
Shikakai Powder Benefits for Hair
- Shikakai powder benefits for hair are multifold. It helps prevent hair fall, adds to hair growth, and prevents dandruff.
- It gently detangles the hair and eases the pain and hair fall while combing your hair.
- Shikakai powder benefits your hair manifold when mixed with amla and reetha. These three powders together have a cooling effect and ease the inflammation on your sensitive scalp.
Amla, Reetha, Shikakai Powder Benefits for Hair
Amla is rich in antioxidants and vitamin A. The antioxidants repair the damage caused by free radicals, thereby improving and elongating the period of hair growth.
Reetha has strong anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the scalp averting itchiness and irritation. It also has a powerful cleansing effect, leaving your hair soft and shiny.
Shikakai is a dynamic combination of their attributes. It boosts hair growth and defers greying. Combining these three ingredients could work wonders on your hair compared to the chemically bound cosmetic shampoos.
Amla, reetha, shikakai powder benefits for hair include the following:
1. Managing Oily Hair
- Frequent shampooing can make hair dry, dull, and cause significant damage.
- Combining these three potent ingredients can get rid of excess oil without stripping the scalp of the natural oil.
- This magic potion will also reduce dandruff and other infections due to its antifungal and cleansing properties.
2. Provide You With the Lustrous Hair
The combination of the three ingredients serves as an excellent cleanser.
- Shikakai ensures that your hair stays manageable.
3. Preventing Grey Hair
Amla, reetha, shikakai powder benefits your hair by being a rich source of antioxidants that nourish your hair and prevent premature greying. It also helps retain the natural shine of hair.
How to Use Shikakai in Daily Hair Care Routine?
You can use shikakai in your daily hair care routine as a shampoo or hair oil. Here is how to do so:
1. Shikakai as a Shampoo
Shikakai is a natural cleanser that helps remove dirt, oil, sweat, and other extra impurities in your hair. It cleanses your scalp without stripping your hair of its natural moisture. Here is the secret to soft, nourished, and conditioned hair after the wash.
How to make shikakai shampoo at home?
- Soak a few shikakai pods.
- Add seedless reetha, some fenugreek seeds, and dried amla to the mix.
- Keep the mixture in a bowl of water and let it stay overnight.
- Boil the mix in the morning until the ingredients form a soft mush.
- Allow it to cool down completely.
- Strain the water and use this to wash your hair.
2. Shikakai as a Hair Oil
Nourish your hair and condition it with this simple, easy-to-make shikakai hair oil. Shikakai adds shine, lustre, and texture to your hair while conditioning it.
- Take a cup of almond oil, two cups of coconut oil, and two to three tablespoons of shikakai powder and mix these ingredients.
- Transfer the mix to a glass bottle and shake it properly.
- Thorough shaking several times will make the ingredients mix and combine uniformly.
- Let the mix sit for about seven to ten days before use.
How to Make Shikakai Powder?
To make shikakai powder, you need the following ingredients:
- Shikakai-500 gms
- Reetha- 100 gms
- Fenugreek seeds- 100 gms
- Some Tulsi leaves
- Some hibiscus petals
- Few curry leaves
Step 1 - Keep the ingredients in direct sunlight for two full days to ensure that they dry completely.
Step 2 - Mix the ingredients and grind them thoroughly. The powder should be kept dry to prolong its shelf life. So, ensure that there is no contact with water while grinding.
Step 3 - Store the mixture in an airtight container.
How to Use Shikakai Powder?
If you are wondering how to use shikakai powder, we have got you. You can add the powder to your D-I-Y shampoos, conditioners, or a hair mask. Make your own homemade hair oil using shikakai powder. Why splurge on store-bought expensive hair care products when you can make such quality and effective products at home that are also cost-efficient?
Shikakai Effect on Doshas
Individuals with the Kapha Dosha should have food cooked without oil through baking, broiling, grilling, etc. Kapha Dosha stems from the need to reduce the intake of oil in order to align with the body’s needs. When it comes to hair care regime, people with the Kapha Dosha should cleanse hair and scalp at least three times a week with natural hair cleansing herbs like shikakai, reetha, and triphala powder.
Shikakai, while washing the excess oil away, retains the natural oil content. Those with Kapha Prakriti can opt for oiling their hair with either neem or amla oil.
Side Effects of Using Shikakai
Too much of anything can be bad, even with all the magical properties of shikakai. Here are some side effects of shikakai:
- Consuming large doses of shikakai in the form of powder or pod immersed in water might elicit harmful side effects like nausea, loose stools, ulcers, and irritation in the stomach and intestinal walls.
- Frequent use of shikakai causes dry skin and even acidity.
- Shikakai can aggravate asthma and other respiratory problems.
- Regular use of shikakai can make the scalp oily.
People who are allergic to shikakai or have sensitive skin and scalp should seek advice from a dermatologist before venturing into any shikakai treatment.
Precautions to Take with Shikakai
Shikakai is generally safe to use, whether it is skin application or oral consumption. However, excess use of shikakai may lead to the below-mentioned adverse effects.
1. Excess Use of Shikakai Causes Breathing Troubles
If used excessively, shikakai may result in respiratory problems and asthma. Also, the remaining seeds of shikakai, when consumed after boiling in lukewarm water, may be hazardous.
2. Increases Scalp Oiliness and Dry Skin
If used regularly, it results in increased oiliness of the scalp. Moreover, shikakai, when used too often, may lead to dry skin.
3. Harmful During and Post Pregnancy
Consumption of shikakai during breastfeeding and even pregnancy may be harmful to the baby as it may impair the development of the baby.
4. Other Health Concerns
Excessive consumption of shikakai may lead to nausea, discomfort, and even loose stools. Shikakai may also lead to gastric problems like bloating or acidity, resulting in a feeling of uneasiness.
Shikakai has saponin content, which is known to have a spermicidal effect. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid oral consumption for those who are undergoing treatment for infertility.
It is highly recommended not to self-medicate, modify, substitute, or discontinue any continuing treatment on your own.
Shikakai is an Ayurvedic herb, but anything in excess is bad for health, whether it is natural or not, and shikakai is no exception. However, the reaction may differ from one person to another. So it is recommended to consult with an Ayurvedic physician before using shikakai for proper guidance.
Summing Up on Shikakai Benefits for Hair
Shikakai has abundant benefits for hair. It is antifungal and antimicrobial and hence keeps the hair free from infections. It is gentle on the hair as a cleansing agent while also cleaning the dirt and impurities. It is rich in antioxidants that help keep free radicals at bay and delay greying of hair. Additionally, shikakai is rich in vitamin C and helps nourish hair follicles.
Shikakai is a truly magical herb. Now that you know all its benefits, what are you waiting for?
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Shikakai Damage Hair?
Shikakai is a medicinal herb that makes hair soft and shiny, prevents a dry scalp, and helps manage dandruff. Shikakai does not damage the hair unless used in excess. It is a much safer and natural option than a detergent-laden shampoo.
How Long Can I Leave Shikakai on Hair?
If you use a shikakai hair pack with shikakai powder and yoghurt on your hair, you can leave it for about 20-30 minutes. If you use shikakai in hair oil, you can leave it overnight.
What Do You Mix With Shikakai?
- The best ingredients to mix with shikakai are reetha and dried amla. You can mix it with yoghurt as well.
- To make shikakai oil, mix a tablespoon of the powder with half a cup of basil/avocado/ coconut oil.
- You can mix shikakai powder with neem leaves, methi powder, and amla powder in water and boil as a dandruff remedy. Strain and use.
Can We Use Shikakai Daily?
Yes, shikakai is safe for regular use. Shikakai contains natural saponins and hence helps to cleanse the hair. However, if you have extra oily hair and skin, it is advised to seek counsel from a dermatologist.
Does Shikakai Remove Dandruff?
Yes, shikakai helps remove dandruff due to its anti-dandruff properties. Even in chronic dandruff conditions triggered by excess oil, it does help combat dandruff. When applied on an everyday basis, it helps eliminate excess oil, thereby reducing dandruff on the scalp without causing any irritation.
Can We Use a Conditioner After Shikakai?
Shikakai shampoo does not result in stripping the hair of its inherent oils during the hair rinsing process. Therefore, a conditioner is generally not required afterward.
Does Shikakai Dry Out Hair?
No, shikakai does not dry out hair. It is loaded with strong hydrating, conditioning, and moisturizing characteristics. Together, these properties prevent hair dryness and frizziness of hair.
How to Use Reetha and Shikakai for Hair?
Using reetha and shikakai for hair together enhances the benefits. To use reetha and shikakai for hair, all you need to do is just soak shikakai pods with amla and reetha in water overnight. The next day, to soften all the ingredients, just bring the water to a boil. After that, strain the mixture properly, and it is ready to be used as a hair shampoo.
How to Use Reetha and Shikakai for Hair?
Yes, you can use shikakai shampoo daily as it is equipped with natural saponins, which help cleanse the hair. However, avoid self-medicating. It is recommended to consult an Ayurvedic physician when looking for detailed prescriptions.