DIY Homemade Natural Shampoo for Hair

by Parita on August 29, 2012 · 90 comments

Dear Beauties,

I often get asked queries on hair care especially how to maintain your hair, make them grow faster, what to do to control hairfall etc. I have already reviewed my trusted hair oil Cantharidine Hair Oil which I have been using for more than 26 yrs now and absolutely love it and cannot imagine my life without it.

These days we often hear about people wanting to try to all natural products and products without harmful chemical and silicons for our hair. So today I am going to share a way to cleanse your hair naturally without using any shampoo or conditioner using all natural products. I have been using this way to wash my hair ever since my school days, in between college I did switch to using shampoos and conditioners mainly coz of lack of time and my laziness but these days I am back using this method and totally loving it!

So without any further delays lets get started. For making this all natural hair shampoo or cleanser you will need Reetha also known as Soapnut and Shikakai also known as Acacia concinna. I am sure most of you the benefits of these two but still let me write down a few of them

homemade natural shampoo

Shikakai- The word Shikakai literally means “fruit for hair”. Acacia concinna or Shikakai has been used traditionally for hair care in the Indian Subcontinent since ancient times. It is one of the Ayurvedic medicinal plants. The fruit is known in India as shikakai “fruit for hair” in its use as a traditional shampoo. In order to prepare it the fruit pods, leaves and bark of the plant are dried, ground into a powder, then made into a paste. While this traditional shampoo does not produce the normal amount of lather that a sulfate-containing shampoo would, it is considered a good cleanser. It is mild, having a naturally low pH, and doesn’t strip hair of natural oils. Usually no conditioner is needed, for shikakai also acts as a detangler

Reetha (Soapnuts)- Soapnuts, such as those of Sapindus mukorossi, are used in Ayurveda. They are a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers.They are used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for eczema, psoriasis, and for removing freckles. Soapnuts have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp. Soap nuts have become increasingly popular as a nontoxic laundry detergent

So lets get started with the procedure now that we have introduced both the main ingredients

1) For my waist length hair I take about 15 – 20 reethas and 5 to 10 shikakai, this would depend upon the potency of reethas and shikakai, sometimes the reethas are not strong enough so you may need more. Reetha basically are fabulous cleansers but tends to dry out the hair so we add shikakai to it as shikakai is known for its natural conditioning and hair softening properties. Remove the seeds from reethas and soak both of them in a pot of water overnight. This will soften them to some extent.

homemade shampoo ingredients

2) Next boil this mixture for about 15 to 20 mins on slow heat until they are soft and tender.
Wash you hair naturally without shampoo

3) Below you can see the amount of foam is produced. Once the reethas and shikaki are tender you can either strain the mixture and use this water to wash your hair or the way I do it is to crush all reethas and shikakai together to remove their pulp and juice..add more water if required and then strain this mixture and store it in a bottle. This water can then be used to wash your hair. You can even store this in fridge for about a week.
final shampoo

How to use it

-> First wash your hair gently by just using plain water.
-> Now use the soap liquid we prepared and rinse your hair gently, remember no foam will be created until and unless the hair is clean. So you may need to repeat this procedure for atleast 2 to 3 times. I usually do it 3 times since I oil my hair before washing. YES it removes oil from hair too.
-> Since reetha are cleansers they also have tendency to dry out your hair and get them tangled, shikakai helps in certain extent to make the hair soft and manageable but I highly suggest using a conditioner after this. If you have normal hair you probably wont need conditioners but if your hair is dry do use a conditioner.

Benefits

-> Its completely natural so free of chemicals
-> Both the ingredients are known for their beneficial properties for hair.
-> Reetha are known cleansers and helps to remove dirt from hair very effectively.
-> Shikakai makes hair soft and manageable
-> Hair loss is very less as compared to when using normal shampoos
-> This is the only way I achieve frizz free hair! Yes it controls frizz to a great extent
-> Improves hair texture and makes them stronger – I have felt this myself that after washing my hair using this liquid my hair feels stronger from roots!
-> Helps with dandruff
-> Makes my hair appear super straight! Love it
-> Promotes hair growth in long run
-> Shikakai is very mild and PH balanced so wont strip off natural oils from scalp

The problem with this method is that its quite a bit messy and time consuming but since the benefits are so high I dont mind going that extra mile.

Also this procedure is very versatile, you can add shikakai powder, amla powder, hibiscus powder etc and make changes suiting your hair :)

Hope this was helpful to you all, if you have any questions do post them below and I will try to answer them to best of my knowledge :)

So until tomorrow . tc and stay beautiful! :)

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{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }

aparajita August 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

just wow Parita di! :D i m going to try this the first thing when i reach home for my vacs! :* thanks

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Thanks aparajita :) do let me know how it turned out for u :)

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Aparajita August 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Definitely!:D

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akhila August 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Parita, this is very good. I want to try this one. Can I use Banjara’s aritha powder, shikakai powder and amla powder ? can you please help me with the ratio of these powders if possible. thank you.

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Anjali August 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm

akhila, powders can be used in same ratio, but they are very messy to clean.. bathroom gets messed up. It is best to go for liquid shampoo rather than paste / powders.

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm

thanks anjali! i agree i rather use liquid than powders

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Akhila I highly recommend you to first try getting your hands on reetha and shikakai if you are not able to get it you can def go ahead and use powders :) use in the same ratio for all three and it should work well :)

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sweta August 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm

very helpful tip Parita….
I remeber when I was young my mom used wash her hair with this kind of homemade liquid. she used to add some aamla also in it…. I wish to use it, but really time consuming job. But will try it someday :)

BTW for instant us one can take powder of all these ingredients make a past out of it and use as a shampoo… that also works well!!

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Thanks Sweta :)

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Anjali August 29, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Parita, i am using the same concotion from 1 month, i can see the results. My dry hair is manageable-now & looks fluffy. Conditioner is a must, like you said. But nothing beats natural products.

checked your revu on oil, Lovely hair & a lovely you.. Thanks.. :)

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Thank you Anjali :)

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gurpreet August 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Hi parita, thanks.. i am surely going to try this over the weekend..

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm

do let me know how it worked out for your gurpreet :)

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Rajani August 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Nice one Parita… :) i do use the same concotion also i do add hibiscus leaves and aleovera to it… :) it makes my hairs super soft and fresh.. :)

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I used to add hibiscus powder ..thanks for the aloe vera tip..how do you use it? you directly add aloe vera gel? also how do you hibiscus leaves directly?

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Rajani August 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

i grind them and use… i use the fresh aleo vera pulp… this mixture makes hairs lil messy coz of the leaves… but u can clean it up easily once it dries with the wide tooth comb.. :P

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm

thanks for the tip Rajani!

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Somreeta Mukherjee August 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

pari….i tried using it for quite a few months and loved the way it cleaned the hair strands. in fact, it can be used daily. bt the prob is dat even after sieving the mixture so many times, fine particles of reetha still remain and tend to create scalp buildup. at first i ignored thinking dat the particles would slog off once my hair is dry bt………………..any tips there u would like to share…/

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Hi Somreeta, for some reason I have any faced any residue build up issue..I always use a cloth to strain the liquid ..what do you use? try using a cotton cloth, also avoid using powders and try to get hold of whole reethas and shikakai..this way it should help in reducing the powdery build up

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Somreeta Mukherjee August 29, 2012 at 2:46 pm

i use whole reetha only Pari…nt the powder….! :(
donno why it happens thus…

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm

oh thats bad :( do you use thick cotton cloth to strain?

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Somreeta Mukherjee August 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm

err….not that too…lemme see…i wil try it once more and see how it turns out…! :O

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nidhi August 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm

same pb iv faced… with reetha i too see scalp buildup or residue staying hair.. don’t have dandruff trouble at all… whenever i tried applying it it stays….

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roopa August 29, 2012 at 2:22 pm

i’ve got dry hair too. my mom used to use this concoction to wash my hair but then we had not heard of conditioners back then, so my already dry hair kept falling and falling due to friction and tangles but i also had thick hair then. Now i can use this to wash my hair and use conditioners and also get rid of bad old dandruff.

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:46 pm

yup reethas do have tendency to dry out hair and get them tangled hence use shikakai with it and even after that conditioner is a must!

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Shami August 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Parita, i saw your comment in hair oil post itself, i searched for soapnut in my place, but i couldnt find it :( where will it be available??

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:50 pm

soapnuts are usually available in local grocery stores usually the ones who are wholesellers..try searching online..i think they are available but you may have to order in bulk..not sure :(

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Rajani August 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm

hey Shami… hw r u?? long time… :P and soupnuts u can get in those local stores where they sell the puja things…. in banglore we in those kind of shops….. :P

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Shami August 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm

how are you.. how is work going on :)

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ife August 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm

hi u can buy soapnuts whole in healthkart and the powder in stylecraze.

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm

wow ife..thanks this will help a lot of us!

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shweta August 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Hi parita, Really a nice article. This one will really help a lot of people. Parita I stay in Wakad, where do you think will I get that Cantharidine Hair Oil in Wakad?? I read in one of your post that you also stay in wakad.. right ? where do you stay exactly ?

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Shweta are you aware of dutta mandir road in wakad? There is this medical shop on this road..i think opp to the new restaurant 121..sorry i forgot the name..let me see today and will update by evening :)

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shweta August 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm

oh yes Parita ! I stay there only ..closeby.. behind parkways ! i will surely check it out..where do u stay ? we should meet sometime… whats say ? :)

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm

oh wow then the medical shop is very near :) sure absolutely! i stay on dutta mandir road only..nearby polaris hospital :)

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:57 pm

hey the name of medical shop is pulse just next to that beauty world parlor if i am not wrong :)

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Sandhya August 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Hi Parita. Wonderful tip. I have been using it during my college days, and my hair was fine. But now no time, so shampoos are the time savers, but they do not rescue any hair fall :-(. After reading your post, I am inspired to follow the routine again. Can we make this solution and store it atleast for a month ? Any suggesstions on this?

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Hi Sandhya..thank you..I have stored it for a week but never tried it for a month and honestly I would suggest you to make a new portion every weekend..much better than storing it for month

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Rati August 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm

it reminds me of my mom parita. she used to do this and she is gorrrgeous hair till today. :)) Thanks for reminding. It felt really good. :)

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm

hi rati..my mom too had jet black hair even in her late fifties and she has always used only cantharidine hair oil and reetha to wash her hair :)

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Dolon August 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Thanks for this Parita..will try it out now

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm

welcome Dolon

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sakhi August 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm

During school days I had tried the same…I had damaged my hair by permimg them..and only this had rescued me..and touchwood I still have straight silky mane….but due to busy schedule cant try this now..but I swear by reetha, amla and shikhakai….

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm

you should def give this a try again..make the liquid n store it for a week :) saves time

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Varsha August 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I used to do this as a school girl, and though my mother was being cruel keeping me away from from shampoos, which were just arriving in the market back then! (Remember clinic plus and the blue hair silhouette?)…headbang!

Then over past few years my hair has reduced to less than half the original volume! I was just waiting to get done with my exams and re start this good old paraben, silicone free regimen! Thanks for reminding me of my wow. I’ve never used the decoction filtered. I used to crush the soaked reetha and use them. Made the bathroom messy! I will try your way.

BTW for the newbies, beware..this liquid stings eyes like crazy. Take care none enters the eyes! Else this is God sent hair potion for me!

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm

totally agree that it stings eyes like crazy and thanks for mentioning the same!

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Sumi August 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Wonderful idea Parita :)

My mom used to make a shampoo from reetha and hibiscus leaves..
I had wonderful hair when I was young.. but then these shampoo ads attracted me
and now i have no hair :P

I should start trying this again..

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm

you shud definitely give it a go again Sumi ..thank you

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Renji August 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm

wow….This is really informative Parita….will try this for sure…:) Happy Onam to you

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm

thanks a lot Renji..happy onam to you too!

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anamika tiwari August 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm

can i get this shampoo
in any shope

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm

hey anamika..this is homemade version and i dont think it will be available in any shop

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Jabberwocky August 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Great post, Parita! I used to use a similar concoction a few years ago but with dried amla and a few drops of lemon added to the mixture which made the hair shiny. Then, I got lazy and left it. Thanks for reminding me about this fantastic shampoo. I’ll try it again this Sunday. :D

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm

welcome JW :) adding lime is such a good idea! thanks!

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Mayuri August 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Hi parita,
DO you use any conditioner after using this ?

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm

absolutely mayuri..conditioner is a must since reetha tends to dry out hair

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Bhumika August 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Sounds great Parita..would try soon :)

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm

thanks bhumika..so let me know how it turned out for you :)

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm

thanks pragnya for the tip..will def try it out :)

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ife August 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm

great post… i use only shikakai and amla powder. leaves hair soft n clean… will try reetha powder now

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm

welcome ife :)

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm

hey ife i cud not find soapnuts on healthkart..can you pls confirm?

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ife August 29, 2012 at 9:19 pm

moderation… just posted a link for soapnuts :)

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Parita August 30, 2012 at 10:36 am

hey ife can u pls let me know if they are selling it as soapnuts only on healthkart or any different name..under whichc ategory it is available?

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ife August 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm

sos organics himalayan soap nut in HC
powders in SC

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Parita August 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm

thank you so much ife!

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nidhi August 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm

mez too have tried it with Amla …. can anyone suggest how to handle reetha?? . i also see a buildup after application … my scalp is clean and free of dandruff always…. dono somehow why reetha stays if i apply it…

as i had bought amla ..now usually use it in heena application instead.

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm

nidhi i always strain the mixture via cotton cloth and then only use the liquid to wash off my hair..have you tried straining?

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nidhi September 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm

good tip…will try that once thanks.

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Arunima August 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Hi Parita,
Iv tried this mixture so many times but i never seem to get it right.I oil my hair with coconut oil the night before and im talking dripping-from-my hair amount of oil.Do you have any suggestion as to how i can tweak this formula to effectively get the oil out?
Thanks

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm

hi Arunima..first of all i think you are applying way too much of oil, also on oiled hair you will need to wash your hair atleast 3 to 4 times using this mixture, the key here is that until and unless it does not create foam by itself your hair is not cleaned properly and there is still oil left..also try increasing the quantity of soapnuts..hope this helps

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Shilpa Pinaki August 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Detailed & Informative Post Parita..!! I can vouch for it as I used that only when I was single & in India & Oh Boiii (rather Girllll :D) How much I miss it as its not available here. It used to make my hair Oh-So-Shiny & helped in Hairfall & Dandruff to great xtent. I had devoted one Pressure Cooker for it & used to soak in it & next morning 3-4 whistles & they become all mushy..Keep using it as its “The Best Hair Cleaning Solution”.. :)

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Parita August 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm

OMG shilpa that is so awesome tip! how come I never thought of putting them in pressure cooker! fabulous! thanks for sharing

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mishthi August 30, 2012 at 1:40 am

yey…..!!!! i am also using dis…… gives me so mch mental satisfaction that m not using any harsh chemical on my hair.. and it works so well.. jst a lil tym consuming.. :)

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Parita August 30, 2012 at 10:35 am

yeah a bit time consuming but totally worth it :)

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Rama August 30, 2012 at 7:35 am

good try Parita..
I remember, when i was a schhol kid my mom used to make powder out of shikkakai, reetha and shoeflower.no chemicals and i know its good..but washing it off is a pain..i discontinued it..

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Parita August 30, 2012 at 10:37 am

thanks Rama

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vino August 30, 2012 at 10:53 am

good work parita… i have shikakai and soapnut powdered along with dried hibiscus petals,green gram,methi seeds,henna leaves and besan..of course it was made by my mom…not sure of the proportions…but it really helped out to rescue my daughters scalp from flaking …without using any other chemicals…

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Parita August 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm

oh wow vino thats awesome powder with so many good ingredients!

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Deepika August 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

i am already facing hair loss due to this rainy season, i will try it asap :)

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Parita August 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm

you should definitely give it a try Deepika!

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Zee Bee August 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

if you are in a hurry just pressure cook whole herbs cool and strain and use it. Keep a empty shampoo bottle for this ,store the liquid in that and while washing hair dispensing a little from the bottle helps and massage gently. I usually wet my hair only with this liquid and i find i have to apply only a little the second time to wash off all the oil.another a lot of pansari and even local baniyas keep aritha , buy a kilo and save money. I buy ritha from the same person i buy my dals.

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Parita August 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm

thanks ZeeBee.I am definitely going to try using a pressure cooker..its such a time savior!

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Praseena August 31, 2012 at 12:31 am

Hi Parita, thank you for the lovely post and taking time to explain each and every thing in such detail :) You have lovely hair

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Parita September 3, 2012 at 11:13 am

thanks a lot Praseena :)

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Kirti September 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Hi Parita,
I am Kirti, I think we spoke a few months ago on your cantheridine hair oil review where in I had mentioned that I too was suggested by a doc to use the oil to ward off a fungal infection with the above mentioned oil. Anyways..
You had mentioned me about this shampoo in the last query and today you have come up with the entire procedure and that’s so GOOD of you. Thankyou….
Hope i can be your friend on fb and so send me your regular email address plz…. Should I just look by your name on fb in order to find you.
Do keep in touch…
Kirti

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Kirti September 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

Hi Parita,
I am Kirti, I think we spoke a few months ago on your cantheridine hair oil review where in I had mentioned that I too was suggested by a doc to use the oil to ward off a fungal infection with the above mentioned oil. Anyways..
You had mentioned me about this shampoo in the last query and today you have come up with the entire procedure and that’s so GOOD of you. Thankyou….
Hope i can be your friend on fb and so send me your regular email address plz…. Should I just look by your name on fb in order to find you.
Do keep in touch…
Kirti

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snehal August 2, 2013 at 1:06 am

hey parita…….can u tell me how to store this mixture water for weeks without using fridge…….coz i live in hostel n really wanted method for itz storage…..plz pz rly

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nidhi July 18, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Hey hi PA Rita! I have made this shampoo and used it twice buti want to ask you whether I should apply a hair mask(I prepare a natural mask comprising of Aloe vera,method and tulsi powder)after washing my hair with this shampoo(as it would enhance the benefits of the hair pack since my hair would be squeaky clean beforehand)? *drool* *preen*

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