How to Use Shikakai Powder for Quick, Healthy Hair Growth

Updated on November 11, 2019
Silver Q profile image

I love messing around with my own hair and sharing hair tips and tricks with others.

This is what the shikakai plant looks like.
This is what the shikakai plant looks like. | Source

Every time I watch TV, there is always some commercial for a brand-new product that promises to give me lustrous, beautiful, and healthy hair. And there I go, like a moron, rushing off to buy it. But I've been working on becoming a new person—a greener person—one who protects the environment and takes care of my health. That's why I have decided to stop buying every hair product I see.

Lately, I've been working on making my own shampoo, and I'm always on the lookout for natural ingredients that can make my hair grow longer and healthier. My newest "discovery" is Acacia concinna, most commonly known as shikakai.

What Is Shikakai?

Shikakai (which literally translates to "hair-fruit" or "fruit for hair") is a shrub-like tree that grows in central India. It has been used for centuries there as a cleanser for hair, body, and pretty much anywhere else a cleanser might come in handy. What sets this plant apart from the rest is that shikakai actually lathers moderately because its bark has saponins, which foam up when shaken in water, similar to soap.

Shikakai looks very similar to tamarind. Its seed comes inside a pod. The seed, or fruit, is then dried, mixed with the leaves and bark, and ground into a very fine powder. That's the reason the shampoo also lathers. This powder is then made into a paste and applied to hair.

The good news is that we no longer have to make our own powder. We can just buy it and follow these instructions. But before you go and buy your own bottle, let's examine the benefits of shikakai.

What Are the Benefits of Shikakai?

One of the greatest benefits of using shikakai as a regular cleanser is that it is all natural, so you won’t have to worry about any harsh chemicals seeping into your body, but there are many other benefits.

It Foams Up Like "Regular" Shampoo

Some people who have used the "no 'poo" method love it but still miss the suds from commercial shampoo. Shikakai could be the solution for this problem. It's all-natural, but thanks to the saponins in its bark, the powder foams up much like soap. Yay!

It's High in Vitamins

Shikakai is very high in vitamin C as well as vitamins A, D, E, and K, antioxidants which are essential for healthy and rapid hair growth. These vitamins provide the hair follicles with the necessary micronutrients to help hair grow fast and healthy.

It Washes and Detangles

Works as a shampoo and detangler at the same time. Since shikakai's low pH levels mean it won't strip your hair of its natural oils, there are fewer chances of your hair getting all tangled up.

It Strengthens and Nourishes Hair

This amazing ingredient nourishes hair, making it grow faster and stronger (starting right at the roots). It also conditions hair, keeping strands moisturized and shiny.

It Prevents Dandruff and Infections

Shikakai not only prevents and eliminates dandruff, but also protects the scalp from fungal infections and even hair lice.

It's a Multipurpose Cleanser

Since this ingredient can be used as shampoo, face cleanser, and body soap, there will be fewer bottles taking up precious shower space.

Would you consider the idea of washing your hair with all-natural products?

See results
Use shikakai for long, beautiful, healthy hair.
Use shikakai for long, beautiful, healthy hair. | Source

How Do I Use Shikakai?

There are various ways in which this product can be applied to your hair. Read on to learn how to make a paste to use as a shampoo or a mask, use a shikakai tea rinse and mix with oil to use as a treatment to promote hair health.

The most common method of applying this ingredient is as a paste. You will need to buy the powder and add either water or herbal tea, until you end up with a mixture with the consistency of yogurt.

This paste can be used as a hair mask or a shampoo.

DIY Shampoo:

If you will be using it as shampoo, grab a handful of the paste, apply it to the scalp, and scrub gently for 2 minutes or until hair feels clean. Don't overdo it! Even though shikakai foams up, it is not soap. Your hair will not feel the same way it does when you wash with shampoo.

Mind you, your hair will be clean, but it will also retain most of its natural oils so during the first few days, your hair might feel a tad rough to the touch. This can be fixed easily by applying conditioner or a little bit of oil to your hair after you shower.

My favorite choice of oil is coconut. Personally, I love how clean and moisturized my hair feels after washing it with shikakai.

DIY Hair Mask:

Apply the paste to your hair and leave on for 30 minutes. If you have any trouble rinsing out the paste, just apply your favorite conditioner or natural oil to your hair after you shower. I use coconut oil and my hair has never felt better.

Use shikakai to make your hair strong, shiny and healthy.
Use shikakai to make your hair strong, shiny and healthy. | Source

DIY Shikakai Tea Rinse:

This will take a little longer than the paste, but it's easier to rinse.

  • Add 1–3 tbs. of shikakai powder to 1 cup of water or herbal tea and let it steep for 1 to 5 hours.
  • Pass the mixture through a sieve and add 1 1/2 cups of hot water (or hot herbal tea) to the mix.
  • Use this liquid as a rinse instead of shampoo.

How to Use It:

Shake before applying to maximize the suds. Apply to wet hair and massage all over scalp and hair. Put on a shower cap and rinse at the end of your shower.

DIY Shikakai and Oil Hair Treatment

You can make your own shikakai oil to use as a treatment on your hair or skin.

You will need:

  • 1 tbs. shikakai powder
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite base oil (almond, olive, avocado, coconut, etc.)


  1. Mix the powder and the base oil and place it in a closed container.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Place the container in a dark, cool place.
  4. Let the mixture rest for 3 weeks, shaking it occasionally to prevent the shikakai from settling.
  5. After three weeks, your infused oil will be ready to use. The oil must be kept in a dry, cool, dark place.

You can use this oil on both skin and hair.

My Favorite Brand of Shikakai Soap

Dr. Bronner's Shikakai & Tea Tree Soap
Dr. Bronner's Shikakai & Tea Tree Soap | Source

Where Do I Buy Shikakai?

If your local health food stores don't carry it, the best way to buy it is online. However, if you're interested in buying the Dr. Bronner's Shikakai soap, you might find it in your local Sprouts, Whole Foods, or pretty much any other health-food store.

Dr. Bronner's Shikakai Soap Is My Favorite

This is my favorite method because it includes buying a ready-to-use version of the shikakai soap. Dr. Bronner’s brand sells an excellent product. It comes in liquid form and the only thing you have to do is dilute it with water, which you can do right in the shower.

I like to keep a bottle with a soap pump dispenser filled with diluted shikakai soap in the shower. That way it's ready to use at all times. I use it in my hair and as a body wash. So far I'm loving it.

Dr. Bronner's shikakai soap is all-natural. These are the ingredients: Organic White Grape Juice, Organic Sucrose, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Tea Tree Oil, Organic Shikakai Powder, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, and Tocopherol.

This soap comes in many different smells, just like their castille soap. My favorite scent is tea tree oil, but there are many others to choose from.

Have fun trying new, green things! They're good for you and the environment.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Silver Q


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    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Will it help with hair due to menopause?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I didn't understood the part of applying to the scalp. In case of shampoo, I just apply to my head and rub until it's very lathery and then wash it. Do I have to do the same in case of shikakai paste??

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hey actually am having severe hair fall and am having curly hair...when I turned to my doctor she told some of your hair follicles have closed it seems ... My question is Will tis help me to solve my problem

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hi Rajesh.

      No problem in using shikakai powder for the past 1 year . you can try Pure Shikakai Powder which is manufactured with 25 ingredients naturally grinder. we can use that for body for taking bath. awesome feeling.

      try that from

    • profile image

      Ganesh morrthy 

      4 years ago

      if you want to keep you healthy from your hair to your body, use natural. because as a family , we have experienced a tremendous growth on hair and healthy skin and a body . dont touch shampoos

    • profile image

      Ruth Valerio 

      4 years ago

      Hi, I've just got some shikakai powder to use. Can you tell me: do I apply the paste to wet or dry hair? Thanks.

    • profile image

      rajesh patra 

      5 years ago

      Is their any problem if use shikakai daily ????

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      5 years ago

      HI, praskash,

      have you tried castor oil? It's amazing, and if used at least twice a week, it can make your hair grow up to 3 cm a month!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      hai i too facing the same problem suggest me the best suggestion i worried very much

    • profile image

      shaukat ali 

      5 years ago

      hi i am 22, i have hair fall problem, what should i do????

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      5 years ago

      Hi fpherj48:

      I love natural products, too! I try to use them as much as possible because they usually turn out better than the store bought stuff. Thanks for the comment and voting up!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      5 years ago from Carson City

      Silver Q......Thanks so much for this valuable information. I am an advocate for natural products as well and your article has proven very educational to me. I have bookmarked this hub. Great read! UP++

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi Alkanarula:

      Try it! I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Thank you for reading and commenting!

    • alkanarula profile image

      Alka Narula 

      6 years ago from INDIA

      Though its so common in India but I never tried Shikakai...after going through your hub I am so sure to try it out.

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi torrilynn:

      Yes, give shikakai a try. You'll see that you won't be disappointed. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • torrilynn profile image


      6 years ago

      thanks for your insight on shikakai. I love how beneficial it is for your hair. I will consider using in the near future. thanks again and voted up.

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi SarahLuvsFiona:

      Yes, you have to dilute it. What I do is mix 1 part shikakai soap with 2 parts water. It is easier if you leave this prepared in a bottle. You can use a water bottle or a soap pump dispenser, that way it will be ready to use every time you shower. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi :) Okay I have a question . I've bought the Dr Bronner Shikakai Soap, and I've tried Washing my Hair with it. But my Hair feels quite Greasy? Will I get better results if I dilute it with water? And if so, how much water is needed?

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi Dave smith:

      Shikakai helps strengthen the hair's root. It could help with hair loss that is caused by factors, other than genetics. Thank you fore reading!

    • profile image

      Dave Smith 

      6 years ago

      Is it useful for hair loss?

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi JPSO138:

      Yes, natural is always better. Thank you for reading and for commenting!

    • JPSO138 profile image


      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      Thanks for this information. You are right indeed, there are so many products available in the market but there is no substitute for the natural ones.

    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi toytasting:

      I'm glad I reminded you of something good. :) natural hair products always seem to be the best choice. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Toytasting profile image

      Toy Tasting 

      6 years ago from Mumbai

      My mother always applied Shikakai shampoo on her hair. She even forced me to do the same. Probably that is the reason, why my hair were much more better than present. Thanks for reminding me the true value of herbal products. I am surely going to use Shikakai from now on.


    • Silver Q profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Q 

      6 years ago

      Hi mbusley:

      Thanks for reading!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the article. I am definitely going to try Shikakai powder now :)


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