Shikakai Powder makes for an amazing natural hair cleanser and detangler while encouraging healthier hair growth and optimizing scalp health.
Shikakai powder has been very popular in hair care in India for hundreds of years where it is used as a natural shampoo.
In this post, I break down the benefits of shikakai powder for hair, how to use shikakai powder for hair growth, and the best brands of shikakai powder for hair.
By the end of this article, you should be able to create your own shikakai powder for hair growth formulations at home and experience the many benefits of this wonderful plant.
What is Shikakai Powder?
Shikakai powder comes from a climbing shrub known as Shikakai or Acacia concinna.
The word shikakai itself comes from Tamil and literally means, “fruit of the hair.” It is aka Seekaaya in Telugu.
The shikakai shrub is native to several parts of Asia and blooms in smooth, thick, and fleshy seed pods. The shrub can also be found in parts of Africa and the Caribbean.
When the seeds pods are dried for the powder, they become wrinkled and very hard.
The dried pods are then ground into a fine powder. Though you can find dry shikakai pods, it’s mostly sold as powder.
This powder has amazing benefits for hair and can assist with a host of common hair issues as you’ll see below.
Is Shikakai Powder Good for Hair?
Shikakai powder is very good for hair. Traditionally, shikakai powder was used as a paste to cleanse hair and remove tangles but it can do so much more for the hair.
Below is a breakdown of all 11 benefits of shikakai powder for hair.
1. Cleanses Hair Gently Yet Effectively
This is the most important benefit of shikakai powder for hair and is the primary use for the powder traditionally.
Shikakai powder contains a high amount of saponins, a natural foaming agent found in several Ayurvedic herbs.
While it doesn’t foam in the same way as commercial shampoo, shikakai powder shampoos cleanse the hair thoroughly and effectively.
2. Natural Detangler
Shikakai powder paste has a silkening effect on the hair which makes it a natural detangler.
It loosens tangles and makes it easier to work out knots and style your hair.
3. Eliminates Dandruff
Shikakai powder contains anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties that effectively help eliminate and prevent the incidence of dandruff.
4. Natural pH Balanced Product
Shikakai powder is one of nature’s pH-balanced cleansers. It has a low pH between 4.5 and 5.5 and cleanses hair without stripping the natural oils.
The powder is used in commercial natural shampoos free of sulfates such as Dr. Bronner’s Organic Sugar Soap.
5. Enhances Hair Color
Shikakai powder contains tannins, a phenolic compound that binds to the proteins in hair and reduces frizziness as it enhances natural hair color and prevents premature greying.
If you use commercial hair dyes, the tannin content will also prevent the color from fading quickly.
6. Soothes Dry & Itchy Scalp
The anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties in shikakai powder also help soothe a dry and itchy scalp and balance the production of sebum on the scalp.
7. Reduces Hair Breakage & Hair Fall
Shikakai powder nourishes the follicles to reduce hair fall and strengthens the hair shaft to reduce hair breakage.
With consistent usage, it also strengthens weak hair strands.
8. Guards Against Split Ends
The active nutrients in shikakai powder strengthening and infusing hair means your strands are fortified against split ends.
9. Enhances Softness and Shine in Hair
The natural antioxidants and essential nutrients in shikakai powder are beneficial for improving hair texture, making hair soft, and enhancing shine.
This benefit is particularly enhanced when shikakai powder is combined with amla powder.
10. Suitable for All Hair Types
Shikakai powder is suitable for all hair types and can be used in various concentrations depending on your hair type.
And if you have an issue after application, it can easily be fixed by clarifying and deep conditioning your hair.
11. Ideal for Sensitive Scalps
Shikakai powder is gentle enough for use on sensitive scalps and doesn’t usually cause breakouts.
Shikakai Powder Ingredients
Authentic shikakai powder is composed of only the powder of the leaves, bark, and seed pods of the shikakai plant.
Some manufacturers may also add other natural powders to it to enhance its properties.
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How to Use Shikakai Powder for Hair Growth
Shikakai Powder Shampoo
This is a basic shikakai powder shampoo recipe that can be adjusted according to your hair’s response.
You will need shikakai powder, reetha powder, fenugreek powder, distilled water, and vitamin E oil (exact measurements in the how-to card below).
Pour the powders into a jug and add the distilled water. Whisk thoroughly, cover, and let sit for some time.
Sieve the mixture into an applicator bottle then add the vitamin E oil. Close and shake.
Wet and shampoo your hair in sections with the shikakai powder shampoo. Follow up with a good conditioner.
Shikakai Powder Hair Mask
You will need shikakai powder, amla powder, Jamaican black castor oil, and distilled water (exact measurements in the how-to card below).
Pour the shikakai powder and amla powder into a bowl and whisk together. Add in the distilled water and mix till you have a smooth paste then add the castor oil.
To use, apply to dry hair in sections like you’re applying henna then pin your hair up, cover with a disposable cap, and leave on for 20 – 30 minutes.
Rinse out thoroughly with lukewarm water. While this recipe should not strip your hair, it doesn’t hurt to follow up with deep conditioning with heat.
You could also follow up with an ACV rinse instead of deep conditioning.
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Where to Buy Shikakai Powder?
You can find shikakai powder in Asian grocery stores or you can order online at the following places:-
Shikakai Powder Side Effects
Shikakai powder is well tolerated and doesn’t cause any major issues. However, if have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies, it wouldn’t hurt to conduct a patch test before full application.
Do not ingest shikakai powder internally without consulting with a licensed professional first.
Shikakai Powder Hair Products
The most popular shikakai powder hair products are a range from Dr. Bronner’s.
- Dr. Bronner’s Organic Sugar Soap
- Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Soap
- Dr. Bronner’s Organic Citrus Hair Rinse
How Much Shikakai Powder to Use?
The amount of shikakai powder you use depends on your hair length and the intended recipe but 2 tablespoons are the minimum amount to start with.
How To Make Shikakai Powder
All about DIY and want to make your own shikakai powder? It’s actually quite simple. You just need to buy some dried shikakai pods.
Take the dried shikakai pods out of the pack and check that there’s no moisture then grind them into a fine powder with a Nutribullet or the mill attachment on your blender.
Pour into an airtight jar and store in a cool, dry area. Use as needed. Should last 18 – 24 months approx.
Does Shikakai Powder Remove Oil From Hair?
As a cleansing agent, shikakai removes excess oil from the hair without stripping it completely.
If you apply oil as a pre-poo before washing with shikakai paste, it might not remove it as effectively but it depends on how much oil you applied.
Does Shikakai Powder Expire?
While shikakai powder has a long shelf life, it eventually expires like all things. The maximum shelf life of shikakai powder when stored properly is up to 2 years.
If you let moisture get into it though, it will not last that long so always store in a dry and cool place.
Does Shikakai Powder Remove Dandruff?
It sure does. Add a few drops of neem oil or lemongrass oil to the shikakai powder shampoo recipe above for maximum dandruff elimination effects.
Consistent use is required if you want to see results and engage a scalp massage brush.
Does Shikakai Powder Darken Hair?
Technically, shikakai powder doesn’t darken hair. However, it has lots of tannins that will enhance natural hair color and prevent commercial color from fading too quickly.
Does Shikakai Powder Make Hair Grow?
Shikakai powder strengthens hair, reduces breakage, and nourishes the follicles.
This means more length retention and no need to trim often so optimized hair growth.
Does Shikakai Powder Foam?
Shikakai powder doesn’t foam as much as a traditional shampoo but yes, it does foam adequately when prepared.
The important thing is that it cleanses hair without stripping natural oils.
Is Shikakai Powder Safe?
Shikakai powder is relatively safe for topical applications. If you’re unsure how your scalp will react to it, you can also carry out a patch test before trying shikakai powder.
Pin it for Later – DIY Shikakai Powder Recipes for Hair Growth
Shikakai Powder References
- Screening of Secondary Metabolites and Antibacterial Activity of Acacia concinna
- Antibacterial & Anthelmintic Activities of Aqueous Extract of Acacia Concinna Linn
- A detailed investigation on shikakai (Acacia concinna Linn.) fruit
Abi is a curly hair expert, researcher, product tester, and author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the founder of Ade Ori Hair Care, Healthy Natural Hair Products, and Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty. HNHP has strict editorial standards and ensures all the information on Healthy Natural Hair Products is the best for natural hair care. Learn more about our Editorial Policies
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