How To Use Shikakai For Hair Growth

Your grandmothers knew how to make the most of this powerful ingredient and now you will too!

Reviewed by Madison Dufour, Barber & Cosmetologist Madison Dufour Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Monomita Chakraborty MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years

If you have never used shikakai for hair growth, you need to start ASAP!

What could be more appealing than having gorgeous, shiny, and healthy hair? However, your hair requires a great deal of attention and patience. Not everyone is willing to commit to frequent haircuts, hair products, and other therapeutic interventions. Not to forget choosing what to put and what not to put in your hair. Using natural substances that are not chemically damaging to your hair will help make this job easier.

Shikakai, the hair fruit, has been utilized for ages as a herbal medicine and hair care treatment. In addition, this natural ingredient is a strong cleansing agent, commonly used as a shampoo alternative.

Shikakai is also rich in vitamins A, C, K, and D and antioxidants that replenish and take care of hair health. The fruit, particularly in powdered form, is readily available. Here’s how it can help you grow your hair faster. Keep reading!

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Shikakai

What Is It?
A herbal powder made from the dark brown fruit pods of the Acacia Concinna tree.

What Are Its Benefits?
It may induce hair growth, prevent premature grays, soothe the scalp, and boost overall hair health.

Who Can Use It?
Since shikakai is extremely gentle on your hair and scalp, it is suitable for all hair types.

How Often?
You can use most DIY shikakai hair masks 1-2 times a week.

Using shikakai every day can dry out your tresses and make your scalp oily.

Benefits Of Shikakai For Hair Growth

1. Induces Hair Growth

Research shows that shikakai exhibits hair growth-promoting activity (1).

2. Soothes Your Scalp

A healthy scalp is the foundation for healthy hair growth. Shikakai has antibacterial and antifungal properties (2). It can soothe an inflamed scalp and restore its health (3). It also helps maintain the optimum pH level of your scalp.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Shikakai or Acacia concinna is known to be a climbing shrub-like tree from Central India’s tropical woods with dark brown pods and pink flowers.

3. Fights Dandruff

Woman with dandruff on scalp
Image: Shutterstock

Shikakai has anti-fungal properties that makes it an effective, natural anti-dandruff solution (1), (2). This prevents issues like follicle cloggingi  Red or white pimple-like inflammation of the hair follicles commonly caused due to bacterial infection. and aggravation, leading to unhindered hair growth. It can also help reduce dryness and itching.

4. Nourishes Your Follicles

Shikakai is a great source of essential vitamins. Its vitamin C content can help promote hair growth by giving your scalp a collagen boost (4). It is also a great source of antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage.

5. Cleanses Your Hair

Shikakai has saponins that make it a natural mild cleanser. This means that it cleanses your hair without stripping away the natural oils from it. This keeps your hair clean and conditioned.

6. Adds Shine

Woman with shiny hair after applying shikakai
Image: Shutterstock

Shikakai helps add shine to your hair while also making it much more manageable. If you have a tangle problem, it would be a good idea to include this ingredient in your hair care routine.

7. Prevents Grays

Using shikakai can help put off your hair’s natural graying process. It can also effectively deal with issues like premature graying. Washing your hair with shikakai before you dye it will also allow your hair to absorb the dye better.

8. Curbs Hair Loss

Shikakai can help curb hair loss by restoring scalp health. It effectively deals with issues like anaggravated scalpi  Inflammation of the scalp that can occur due to infections, scalp pimples or even pressure from tight hairstyles. , follicle clogging, dandruff, and itching  (1), (2), (3). In many cases, curbing hair fall is as simple as restoring scalp health.

9. Prevents Lice

Woman checking her scalp for lice
Image: Shutterstock

There is nothing more annoying than head lice. Anecdotal evidence suggests that shikakai may be a natural solution to a head lice problem. Not only does it curb the problem, but it also keeps the head lice away for good with regular use. However, there are no scientific studies to prove these effects.

Maicurls, a blogger, shared her experience of using shikakai for her hair in her blog. She said, “My scalp felt and looked really clean as did the length of my hair. My hair did not feel overly dry (i).”

Here’s how you can use shikakai to reap its benefits.

How To Use Shikakai For Hair Growth

1. Shikakai Shampoo With Amla And Reetha

Shikakai is an inexpensive and healthier alternative to store-bought shampoos that are laden with harsh chemicals. Studies show that amla may promote hair growth by prolonging the anagen phasei  Active growing phase of the hair follicles during which the hair grows about 1-1.3 cm every 28 days. of hair growth (5). Reetha can help cleanse the scalp and remove dirt and oil build-up (6). This herbal shampoo helps nourish the scalp with nutrients while also cleansing it.

You Will Need
  • 5 shikakai pods
  • 5 reetha pods
  • 1 tablespoon of amla powder
  • 750 mL water

(You can also use the powdered forms of these ingredients.)

Prep Time

8 hours+20 minutes

Processing Time

5 minutes

  1. Soak the ingredients in 750 mL of water overnight.
  2. In the morning, boil the water with the ingredients in it until the pods soften completely.
  3. Let the water cool and then mash the ingredients together. Strain the liquid and store it in a shampoo bottle.
  4. Rinse your hair with water and use the shikakai solution in place of your regular shampoo.
  5. You may have to wash your hair twice with the shampoo for it to lather. (Unlike store-bought shampoos, this will not lather much.)
  6. When a slight lather appears, it means your hair is clean and can be rinsed.
How Often?

2-3 times a week.

2. Shikakai And Curd Hair Mask

Shikakai and curd hair mask
Image: Shutterstock

Curd can help soothe the scalp and condition your hair. It can also effectively deal with issues like dandruff and flaking while making your hair soft and healthy (7).

You Will Need
  • 2 tablespoons shikakai powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons curd
  • 2-3 drops of vitamin E oil (optional)
  • Shower cap
Prep Time

5 minutes

Processing Time

20 minutes

  1. Combine the two ingredients to get a smooth paste with a thick consistency. Optionally, you can add a couple of drops of vitamin E oil to the blend for extra hair conditioning and damage protection.
  2. Apply this mask to your hair, working it in from the roots to the tips of your hair.
  3. Once your scalp and hair are completely covered in the mask, cover your hair with a shower cap to avoid a mess. Wait for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes have passed, proceed to rinse out the hair mask with cool water and a mild sulfate-free shampoo. If you have oily hair, you may skip conditioning.
How Often?

1-2 times a week.

3. Shikakai And Egg

This is one of the most nourishing hair packs you could use. It is packed with egg proteins and Ayurvedic ingredients that improve hair health (8). Using this pack once a week will ensure that your hair grows out to be strong and healthy. This is also a brilliant remedy for hair fall.

You Will Need
  • 2 teaspoons amla powder
  • 2 teaspoons shikakai powder
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek powder
  • 2 teaspoons triphala powder
  • 2 teaspoons brahmi powder
  • 2 whole eggs
  • Shower cap
Prep Time

5 minutes

Processing Time

40 minutes

  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl until you get a smooth mixture.
  2. Apply this mask to your hair, working it in from the roots to the tips of your hair.
  3. Once your scalp and hair are completely covered in the mask, cover your hair with a shower cap to avoid a mess. Wait for 40 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes have passed, proceed to rinse out the hair mask with cool water and a mild sulfate-free shampoo. Do not use warm water as this may “cook” the egg.
  5. Finish with conditioner.
How Often?

Once a week.

4. Shikakai Oil For Hair Growth

Shikakai oil for hair growth
Image: Shutterstock

Shikakai hair oil helps boost hair growth by improving the circulation of blood in your scalp. It also keeps your follicles nourished and hair conditioned.

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon shikakai powder
  • 1/2 cup basil/coconut/avocado oil
Prep Time

2 weeks

Processing Time

45 minutes-overnight

  1. Combine the shikakai powder with half a cup of oil in a jar. You can use basil, avocado, or coconut oil for this recipe.
  2. Store this mixture in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks. Keep shaking the jar every now and then to ensure that the oil is well-infused with shikakai. The oil will be ready to use after about two weeks.
  3. Once the oil is ready, take about two tablespoons of it and massage it into your scalp.
  4. Massage your scalp for about 10-15 minutes and then work the oil into your hair, from the roots to the tips. Leave it in for an additional 30 minutes. Optionally, you can leave the oil in your hair overnight.
  5. In the morning, wash the oil out with shampoo and cool water.
How Often?

2-3 times a week.

5. Shikakai And Honey Hair Rinse

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can apply a smooth paste of shikakai powder mixed with neem leaves and turmeric to minor scalp wounds to prevent further hair loss from that area.

Use this rinse to add instant shine to your hair. Honey is an emollienti  A substance that softens the skin by forming a coating on the surface that helps trap moisture to hydrate the underlying skin/hair. and can condition your hair and enhance its luster (9). If you have dry hair, this rinse also makes for a good shampoo replacement. With regular use, it makes your hair shiny and soft while also strengthening your roots and hair shafts.
You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon shikakai powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup filtered water
Prep Time

20 minutes

Processing Time

5 minutes

  1. Heat the water in a pot until it comes to a boil. Add the shikakai powder and oil to the boiling water.
  2. Let the mixture steep for about 15-20 minutes with a lid on the pot. Strain the mixture and add the honey to it. Let it cool.
  3. Optionally, you can skip Step 2 and directly add honey to the mixture if you want an exfoliating, gritty rinse. (This is not recommended for people with curly or dry hair.)
  4. Shampoo your hair as you normally would and then pour the shikakai solution through your hair.
  5. Massage it into your scalp and hair for about 5 minutes and then rinse it out with some cool water.
  6. Alternatively, you can replace your normal shampoo with this rinse.
How Often?

Once a week.

While shikakai is generally considered safe and beneficial for hair, it may cause side effects in some individuals, especially if used excessively or in improper formulations. We have discussed a few of those in the next section. Continue reading.

Side Effects Of Shikakai On Hair

  • Excess Scalp Dryness: Shikakai’s natural cleansing properties may lead to excess scalp dryness if not adequately balanced with moisturizing agents.
  • Hair Brittleness: Overuse of shikakai or using it in higher concentrations might make the hair dry and brittle and cause breakage.
  • Scalp Irritation: Some people, especially those with sensitive skin, may experience mild scalp irritation or allergic reactions.

It is best to use shikakai in the appropriate dilutions. Combine it with suitable moisturizing ingredients and conduct a patch test first to ensure it suits your skin and hair type.

The advent of shampoo has not been able to eradicate the use of hair soaps altogether and for a good reason. With how busy our lives have gotten, it can be hard to give your hair the care and attention that it deserves. Here is a list of the top shikakai soaps you can use for the days when you cannot seem to catch a minute for yourself. These shikakai hair soaps are definitely among the best cleansing products you could use for your hair.

Infographic: 5 Ways To Use Shikakai For Hair Growth

Want healthy and shiny hair? Look no further than shikakai. It is used extensively in hair care regimens due to its cleansing and antioxidant properties. Check out the infographic to know how to use shikakai with other ingredients to give your hair that perfect luster.

5 ways to use shikakai for hair growth (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Shikakai is a natural remedy used to improve hair health. It is commonly used as an organic alternative to shampoo and can help stimulate hair growth. The presence of essential vitamins and antioxidants makes it a wonderful ingredient to incorporate into your hair care routine. Shikakai’s benefits for hair include soothing your scalp, reducing dandruff issues, cleansing your hair, stimulating hair follicles, and preventing free radical damage. It is a non-toxic and sustainable Ayurvedic treatment for hair growth, and you can use it as a hair rinse, oil, or mask. Following the recipes mentioned above will help you achieve strong, healthy, and lustrous hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can I leave shikakai on my hair?

You can leave shikakai oil in your hair overnight and wash it off in the morning.

Does shikakai powder expire?

Yes. Shikakai powder can lose its effectiveness over time. If stored properly in a fridge or in a cool, dark place, shikakai powder lasts up to 2 years. If the powder starts smelling odd, it is time to throw it out.

Does shikakai darken hair?

No. Shikakai does not dye the hair. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that it moisturizes the hair enough to prevent premature graying and retain darker hair color for a longer time.

Key Takeaways

  • Shikakai is a shrub usually used as a shampoo to promote hair growth and dandruff relief.
  • You can use shikakai pods or buy packaged shikakai powder.
  • Prepare a natural shampoo by grinding together soaked shikakai, reetha, and amla or mixing their powders.
  • Shikakai mixed with yogurt can relieve dandruff and nourish the hair.
  • Use a hair pack of amla, shikakai, fenugreek, triphala, and brahmi with eggs for ultimate hair nourishment.
shikakai for hair growth

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Discover the natural power of shikakai from this interesting video. Get beautiful and healthy hair with this gentle, yet effective cleanser. Scroll down to watch the video.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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  2. Todkar, Sandip & Chavan, Vaibhav & Kulkarni, Arvind. (2010). Screening of Secondary Metabolites and Antibacterial Activity of Acacia concinna. Research Journal of Microbiology. Vol. 5. 974-979.
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  4. Pal, Rashmi Saxena, et al. “Synthesis and Evaluation of Herbal Based Hair Dye.” The Open Dermatology Journal 2018, 12, 90-98.
  5. Luanpitpon, S. & Nimmannit, U. & Pongrakhan, V. & Chanvorach, P.. (2011). Emblica (Phyllanthus emblica Linn.) Fruit Extract Promotes Proliferation in Dermal Papilla Cells of Human Hair Follicle. Research Journal of Medicinal Plant. 5. 95-100.
  6. Vn, Meena & Devi, V N & Rajakohila, M & Arul, Logarathinam & Syndia, Mary & Prasad, P & V N, Ariharan. (2012). Multifacetious Uses of Soapnut Tree – A Mini Review. Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences. 3. 420.
  7. Milind, Parle, and Malik Jyoti. “Curd: A Sedative With A Bonus Bowl Full Of Useful Side Effects.” International Research Journal Of Pharmacy, ISSN 2230-8407.
  8. Jain, Pushpendra & Das, Debajyoti & Das, Chandan. (2017). PROSPECT OF HERBS AS HAIR GROWTH POTENTIAL. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 5. 25-33.
  9. Ediriweera, E R H S S, and N Y S Premarathna. “Medicinal and cosmetic uses of Bee’s Honey – A review.” Ayu vol. 33,2 (2012): 178-82.
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Madison Dufour

Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist

Madison Dufour is a licensed and practicing barber and cosmetologist with 10 years of experience, as well as an entrepreneur running several hair businesses, including MadisonD Barbering and The Exquisite Find Hair Blog. After working behind the chair for several years, she felt the calling to start the non-profit Barber in a Bag that teaches basic hair cutting skills full bio

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