May 27, 2015

Shikakai Powder for Cleaner, Healthier Natural Hair


by Sabrina Perkins

As more women encompass natural ways to care for themselves and their bodies, gravitating to yesteryear’s methods for high quality beauty maintenance and reducing their carbon footprint is appealing and gaining momentous traction. Nothing wrong with loving the latest and the greatest in beauty and personal care, but if you want to tap into Mother Nature’s garden of natural treasures, you merely have to take a lesson in history. We all want healthy, lustrous hair and our world is bombarded with new man-made products to try, but many women are taking greener pathways to beautification.

For thousands of years people in India have used a holistic approach to healthcare called Ayurveda therapy. Ayurveda means “the knowledge for long life” and this alternative pathway to wellness strives to retain harmony between the mind, body, and spirit while keeping illnesses at bay. According to the University of Minnesota, the durability of this holistic therapy is significant, as 90% of India’s population still uses some form of Ayurveda therapy today.

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 Using Ayurvedic powders for hair care has resurfaced as a viable option for people who choose natural ingredients for cleansing, conditioning, and even coloring their tresses. Far from new but gaining popularity, Ayurvedic powders have been pushed to the forefront for excellent hair care must-haves. A hugely popular one is shikakai powder and for good reason.

What is shikakai powder?
Shikakai powder comes from the shrub-like tree that grows in central India and shikakai translates to “hair-fruit” or “fruit for hair”. The fruit bark, leaves, and pods are ground together to make the powder, which is often used to make a slightly acidic shampoo. Shikakai powder can cleanse the hair and scalp without stripping it of natural oils because of the low pH levels. Before commercial shampoos, the women of India used shikakai powder and reetha (soapnuts) to cleanse their tresses. This powder is perfect for individuals who prefer a low foaming cleanser and with its anti-dandruff properties it is also appreciated. Shikakai is high in vitamins A, C, D, E, and K and antioxidants, which are essential for healthy and rapid hair growth. Not just great as a shampoo, this powder also has amazing detangling properties. Mix it with amla to can condition your curls and protect the scalp.

Shikakai cleanser
  • 2-3 tbsp. shikakai powder
  • 2-3 tbsp. water 
  • Mix powders and water into a runny paste. 
  • Let the paste set overnight at room temperature. 
  • Apply to hair the following morning and work the paste through the hair and scalp with fingers. 
  • Allow it to sit in the hair for 15- 20 min. and work into the scalp again before rinsing thoroughly until water runs clear. 
  • Apply a heavy oil like coconut oil if the shikakai paste if difficult to rinse out. 
Simple shikakai & neem hair pack 
  • Shikakai powder
  • Neem powder
  • Yogurt (or favorite natural conditioning agent) 
  • Mix equal parts of powders and yogurt into a thick paste. 
  • Apply to scalp and allow to sit for 15-20 min. 
  • Rinse well and style as usual.
Check out this tutorial by Duchess Gabrielle

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