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Curly Nikki

Soap Nuts- A Cleansing and Thickening Agent?

By January 27th, 202114 Comments

Soap Nuts- A Cleansing and Thickening Agent?
A comment was left in the Herbal Hair Rinse article about the use of soap nuts as a natural cleansing agent. The reader stated that women on LongHairCommunity are using it to cleanse and thicken, and you know when I read the latter, I had to do a bit of research ;)

What is a soap nut? (’cause I had no earthly idea): Soap Nuts are the fruit of the sapindus mukorossi tree. They grow in countries with warmer, tropical climates such as India and Nepal. They were the laundry cleaning agent of choice prior to the chemical ones we use today.

Where can you buy them?

How do I use it?: The instructions found in the link below were the best I came across.

Benefits of use:

  • Body
  • Shine
  • Gentle, effective cleansing
  • Did I mention, BODY!

So what do you think, is it worth a shot?

Later Gators,


  • Anonymous says:

    Yes,Soap nuts Cleansing and Thickening Agent.bacause In Ayurveda the list of uses for Ritha or Soap nuts is impressive and used in over 20 medicinal preparations, which alter the fruit to make it either 100% digestible or emetic.

  • mangomadness says:

    Awesome post! I've been interested in soapnuts for a while. I'll def check them out.

  • Anonymous says:

    I love soap nuts and would never use another detergent again!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey, I know this is late, but you can buy a soapnut shampoo bar from here if you don't want to go through that whole process. And they seem to be a good price:

  • Anonymous says:

    I love this topic I just used soap nuts a couple of weeks ago. Founf about it on the LHCF.
    It's very easy and cheap : pour boiling water on a handful of nuts, let sit 12 hours and you get 2 cups of soap.

    It was gentle on my hair and skin (a little drying for my hair because I didn't know the amount I needed so I used too much, even after shaking the soap to make it foam)
    BUT BEWARE IT STINGS REALLY BAD IF PUT IN CONTACT WITH EYES: I got a little soap in my eye and it hurt so much, my eye was irritated for 6 hours at least.
    Since I don't want to get red eyes each time i wash my hair, I used what I had left as a cleaning product in my bathroom and soap for my laundry, it worked well too.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey, according to From Nature With Love, it is called Aritha:


    Aritha powder, also known as Soapnut, comes from the fruit of the Soapnut tree. The pulp of the fruit contains a high level of saponins that act as natural foaming agents. This powder can be used to wash delicate fabrics as well as to wash sensitive skin and hair. Add the powder to a facial mix of milk powder and clay to provide delicate cleansing of the skin. Add aritha powder to salt scrubs to add cleansing action.

    As a hair and body wash, aritha powder is best used in a tea. Add 1 tablespoon of aritha powder to a cup of boiling water. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Cool and strain the tea for use as a hair wash or mild cleanser. Aritha can also be combined with amla, neem & shikakai powders for a more nutritive hair wash. Steep all of the herbs in water, and strain the tea. The tea should be kept refrigerated and used within 4 days or preserved with an anti-bacterial preservative.

    Use with caution around the eyes.

    INCI Nomenclature: Sapindus laurifolia (Aritha) Fruit Powder
    Shelf Life: 2 Years


  • Maria says:

    Nikki, you can buy these soapnuts in powder form. I have a box that I bought and all I have to do is add water. I add it to my Amla mix.

    Here it is:

  • Anonymous says:

    Aritha powder is made from soapnuts and if your hair is already prone to dryness, I would suggest just admiring from afar. I think it's better for oily hair types. Just my $.02.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yay my topic lol!

  • aye says:

    Nikki, I love your blog!
    Ok, Now I have a co worker who is Indian and says that this is all her mom used in her hair growing up. I want to say she called them shikaki nuts, but don't quote me lol. she said that they would pick them off the trees and then boil them and use the foam to clean their hair. I'm always looking a cheap organic ways to take care of my hair. There is a desi store not to far from my home, I'm going there after work to pick some up. i'll update you with my results.

    oh and please check out my blog :-)

    peace ladies

  • Tracy says:

    It seems to me, after reading a review, that the use of soap nut is for heads that produce alot natural oil. I, however put oil on my hair as well as a little gets on my scalp, I probably produce very little natural oil myself, since my hair is so dry. Would it dry out ones scalp? In the review she stated not to get the soap nut on ones part because it would dry out that area. Hmm!

  • Namun says:

    Well, after briefly reading the LHCF instructions, it looks like there's a bit of a process involved. However, if you have the time and patience to extract the soap and experiment with the liquid, then I'd say it's worth a shot. Especially if you get good results. It could be a great alternative to commercial products. Does it have a smell? Can you add essential oils to it?

  • Phoenix says:

    My local health food store sells these and I have have a trial size. Never thought to use them on my hair so I will give that a shot this week and let you know how it goes

  • b. says:

    Lots more info can be found on She discusses the use of soap nuts (and many other natural items) for household use and body care. I never thought to use them for hair care, though! Hm…

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