For centuries people in India have mostly used various fruits, barks, stem, seeds and leaves to make their own homemade shampoo. Although, now many people are opting for more convenient options -market bought shampoos; is it good or bad is a big question.
Since I was little, I have seen my mother make her own natural shampoo using shikakai, reetha (soap nut) and orange or lemon peel. I had never tried it until recently when my favourite shampoo had its ingredients changed, and my hair refused to like the new ones. Luckily my mother was paying us a visit. And I decided to use her expertise of making this all-natural homemade shampoo.
Before we go on how to make homemade shampoo, let me tell you a little about my quest for the natural shampoo.
I have suffered from an itchy scalp for many many years. And I have had uncountable bad hair days. Besides when I moved to London the hard water made things even worse. I tried using filtered water to wash my hair, this did help, but only a little. I then started trying various shampoos.
I finally found the shampoo which claimed to contain all natural ingredients. My hair & scalp absolutely loved it; I used this for a couple of years. But just recently the shampoo producers changed many of its ingredients, and my hair was left ‘cuticle broken’ and my scalp was itchy again. So I finally decided to give my mom’s homemade shampoo a try.
My mom’s homemade shampoo — let’s call the shampoo Ree-Shi for its main ingredients reetha and shikakai — made my hair amazingly soft and shiny.
And my scalp felt better, and the itch has gone away. Moreover, my hair is doing pretty fine without the need for filtered water. I so much like happy endings!
I was a bit annoyed with myself to have waited all these years to find the right shampoo for my hair. I totally overlooked my mom’s homemade concoction for all these years and never ever thought of using it on my hair. Anyways it’s never too late…blah blah.. I hope you won’t delay any bit…
1. Shikakai: Shikakai or Acacia concinna is a climbing shrub native to central and south India. Shikakai literally means “fruit for hair. It has been used as a hair cleanser in the Indian sub-continent since ancient times.
With its slightly acidic pH, shikakai gently cleans the hair without stripping it of its natural oils. It’s also a great conditioner, and helps to reduce scalp dryness and makes hair soft and bouncy.
Shikakai is rich in vitamin C and many essential phytonutrients that nourish the hair follicles and promote hair growth.
2. Soap nuts or Reetha: Reetha contains natural surfactants called saponins, which makes it a great natural cleanser. Surfactants are foaming agents that help remove dirt and grease from your hair/skin. Most commercial shampoos contain synthetic surfactants which may not be skin or environment-friendly.
Reetha is an excellent alternative for people who are allergic to sulfates and parabens in the commercial shampoo. The natural saponins in reetha not only cleans hair, they add shine and body and make hair look thicker and smoother.
How to Make
You will need:
1. This is the basic ratio, you can adjust the ingredients as desired.
2. Take all ingredients in a pan, add 750 ml of water and let them soak for about 8 hours. Or you can skip this step and straight away make the shampoo.
3. Heat the mix till it starts to boil, reduce the flame slightly and let it boil for 5-15 minutes. The longer you cook the more concentrated it will become. (add more water if you wish)
4. Remove from the heat, cover and let it cool. When it comes to the room temperature, crush the reetha, shikakai, and amla/peels with your hand.
5. Strain before use.
This is a not a long process, it just needs some planning. Yet to do this every time, before you wash your hair, can put many off. And you cannot make a large batch and store the liquid in the fridge, as it will turn bad.
The good news is, you can freeze the mixture into ice trays, and use it as and when required. Take out 2 to 3 cubes (more or less depending on the length of your hair) few hours before you want to use it.
How to use? Use as normal shampoo. Wet hair, then massage the Ree-Shi (Reetha & shikakai) shampoo on the scalp, and move towards the ends of your hair. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then rinse. This mix hardly lathers. But it cleans your hair well.
This Shampoo Suits All Hair Types: This shampoo is suitable for all hair types and will not strip the natural oils from your hair. This traditional product is probably the original pH balanced shampoo.
It may or may not. So I would suggest you use homemade egg shampoo and it works great to remove the oil from your hair.
You can add one or more of the following herbs when making this shampoo:
All of them are very moisturising and conditioning for hair, and will leave it soft, shiny and smooth.
If your hair is frizzy and dry, after shampooing pat dry your hair, then take a pea-sized amount of coconut oil or almond oil and rub through the lower third of your hair, avoiding the scalp, and leave-in. The result is soft, shiny and manageable hair.
Shikakai and amla can darken your hair over time. If you do not wish to alter your hair colour, skip these two. So use just reetha and along with it you can add one or more of the below-listed herbs (1 to 2 teaspoon each), and follow the same directions to make the shampoo.
marshamallow root – conditions and softens hair
horsetail herb – makes hair strong and shiny
chamomile flower: adds highlights to blond hair; conditions and softens hair.
fenugreek seeds – softens hair and useful in scalp conditions such as dandruff and eczema
nettle leaves – add body and get rids of excess oil, good for oily hair
I generally prefer to use whole herbs than their powder forms, because powder can be easily adulterated.
Always buy powdered herbs from a reputed seller, so you know what you are getting is pure herbal powder.
This shampoo is a great natural cleanser. It is free from not so good ingredients like Sulfate, parabens, and other additives, and moreover packaging – no more plastic bottles. It is mild, having naturally low pH and will not strip the natural oils from your hair. Usually, no conditioner is needed, as shikakai is a natural softer and detangler.
Note: If you have never used these herbs before, do a patch test to see if you are allergic to any ingredient.
Also, before buying any store-shampoo or any cosmetic products train yourself to read the labels. If you are unsure of any ingredient, then dig up info on it.
If you have used this, please share your experience. I would love to hear from you…