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Shikakai, also known as hair fruit, have been used for centuries for maintaining the health of both the scalp and hair. Shikakai pods contain naturally occurring saponins which help clean off excess sebum and dirt from the scalp. The powder is high in vitamins A, C, K and D and in antioxidants that are important for hair growth. It helps to maintain the pH balance of your hair and scalp, which helps to restore moisture and prevents the stripping of natural oils. It is known to eliminate dandruff and to assist with hair growth. It is also reputed to be an effective treatment against hair lice and fungal infections. Shikakai strengthens hair follicles giving stronger, healthier hair with less hair fall. It helps to prevent split ends thus helping hair to grow longer. It smooths out hair reducing frizziness and tangles. It soothes and heals minor wounds on your scalp and skin.
Directions of use:
Natural shampoo: Take 1 tablespoon shikakai powder, 1 tablespoon reetha powder, ¾ tablespoon amla powder and ½ a tablespoon neem powder. Combine the powders in a small pot, add 2 cups of filtered/spring water and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. The mixture will start to foam. Line a mesh strainer with a damp cotton cloth and strain the mixture into a container. It should make about a cup of liquid. Add 3 cups of cool filtered/spring water. Pour half the mixture onto dry hair and gently massage your scalp. Rinse well and repeat. Your hair will take time to adjust to this natural shampoo. Amla can darken hair so if you’re blond you might want to leave this ingredient out. You can also experiment with adding essential oils and herbs, such as rosemary to your mixture.
Pre-wash healthy hair treatment: Mix 1 tablespoon of shikakai powder with half a cup of extra-virgin olive or avocado oil. Place this mixture into a container and shake well. Keep the container in a dark, cool place for a few weeks, shaking it regularly so that it doesn’t settle. You can use this oil regularly as a hair treatment. Apply it to your hair and scalp and leave it on for 2 hours. Shampoo and condition. You can also use this oil as a skin treatment.
Nourishing hair pack: Mix shikakai powder with enough natural yoghurt to make a spreadable mixture. Massage into your hair and scalp and leave for 15-20 minutes. Wash off with cold water and follow with a mild shampoo if necessary.
Refining face/body scrub: This recipe is good for treating pimples and making the complexion smooth and glowing. Take half a teaspoon of shikakai powder and mix it with a tablespoon each of cream, ground almonds and turmeric powder. Add two tablespoons of honey. Use it as a face/body scrub.
For all herbal treatments, whether for the skin or the hair, regular use is necessary. In some cases you will need to use the herb/s for at least 2 months for best results.
Please note: for external use only.
Any unused powder can be resealed and stored in a cool, dry place.
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