Shikakai – Fruit for the Hair

A beautiful and lustrous head of hair is a dream of one and all and people use variety of chemical shampoos and conditioners in order to achieve their dream.

Flowers for Acacia concinna, commonly known as Shikakai, used for hair care for several centuries in India. Photo from Flickr

However, it is a much known fact that the results that can be experienced by using natural products are way better than the ones attained by chemical products. Shikakai, also known by the name of Acacia Concinna in botanical terms is a cent percent natural herb for the well being of hair. It is an herb that is native to Southern parts of India and has been used as a natural way of cleaning hair for centuries now.

Shikakai is packed with benefits especially for the hair and it is interesting to note that it is also used as a detergent to wash away the impurities from clothes. The main point of this article is to focus on the health benefits of Shikakai and how it can be used in combination with other natural ingredients as an effective shampoo for the hair. The literal meaning of Shikakai is fruit for the hair and it definitely does justice to its name.

The use of Shikakai is quite common and the best thing about this herb is that it is beneficial to everyone and does not have any adverse effects on the user. Shikakai possesses many remedial characteristics and if used in an appropriate manner it can do wonders for the hair.

Shikakai: Benefits Associated With the Herb

Benefits for the hair:

  • Shikakai is very mild in nature and is used for cleaning and conditioning the hair. The bark and leaves and fruit pods of Shikakai are dried and made into powder form which is then made into a paste to apply on the head. It has to be noted that a natural shampoo made from Shikakai does not make much lather like the other shampoos but it is a much better and effective way of cleaning hair.
  • There is considerably low pH found in Shikakai which means that when used as a shampoo it will not leave the hair without its natural oils. When one uses a shampoo made from Shikakai then there is no need for a separate conditioner as Shikakai is an excellent natural conditioner and detangles the hair without any side effects.
  • Shikakai also possesses stringent characteristics and they enable the herb to remove all the dirt and unwanted oil collected on the scalp. If the user has hair related issues such as lice and dandruff then too Shikakai is an effective remedy.
  • When a person uses hair dyes then it is highly recommended that he or she clean the hair with Shikakai as that way the hair will absorb the dye in a much better manner.
  • These qualities of Shikakai help in keeping the hair healthy and lustrous and it also helps in preventing hair fall thus enabling the hair to grow in length and volume.
  • When used in the summer season, Shikakai helps the body to stay fresh and cool and also retains the needed moisture on scalp.

Benefits for rest of the body:

  • The Shikakai leaves contain acrid properties which are best utilized when used in the form of chutneys. These chutneys help in curing the various issues occurring from exposure to pollution and many other skin related problems.
  • Shikakai also helps in fighting the signs of ageing and keeps the wrinkles away.
  • The pods of Shikakai can be soaked in water and can be used to clean the face every day and the result will be a younger and healthy looking skin.
  • The bark of this plant possesses saponin and it is used for contraceptive uses.

DIY techniques to use Shikakai
Shikakai is a rich source of Vitamin D, Vitamin C and several other nutrients which can really prove to be wonderful for the good health of the hair. There are many ways in which Shikakai can be used and applied to the hair. The traditional system begins with a head massage with coconut oil and then a paste made from Shikakai powder and water is used as a shampoo and washed with luke-warm water.

It has to be noted that Shikakai works wonderfully alone as well as with other natural ingredients such as amla and reetha. Many more natural ingredients such as neem, lemon juice, fenugreek and curd can be used along with Shikakai and the selection of these ingredients will highly rely on the person’s hair type. Another important tip regarding Shikakai is that it should not be mixed along with any oily ingredient as the mixture will not be useful at all. If one is looking for moisturizing the hair then a pre-oil massage is a better alternative.

The recipe to make a Shikakai shampoo is fairly simple and is discussed in detail further in the article. The ingredients for this shampoo are reetha or soap nut, Shikakai and water. The first step would be to soak around 5-10 Shikakai 15-20 soap nuts in water overnight as it will make them softer. The second step will be to boil the soaked ingredients the following day for around fifteen minutes on slow flame until the ingredients become tender.

The water must then be strained and used to wash the hair. The tender soap nut and Shikakai must also be squeezed and the pulp can be stored for future use. Shikakai is a natural boon for the hair and it helps in keeping the hair healthy and shining for a longer period of time. The use of Shikakai can be dated way back and still it is much better and effective alternative than the chemical based shampoos usually used by people.

As far as the availability of Shikakai is considered then it is easily and conveniently available in most medical and grocery stores. Shikakai is easy to use and the results from using Shikakai are always excellent in nature.


  1. Thank you for such an informative article! I have been using Shikakai for almost a year now and it definitely makes my hair grow faster. I love it!

  2. Yes good post.

    but use pure shikakai powder if u get in the market

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