Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Hair Love! Shikakai

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the brand I use
Hello, Hello, Hello! Let's just skip the apologies for my absence. I was in Hell, not literally, I was in a production of Faustus, booked a few parts, got a new agent (yes I'm  tooting my own horn) and a new job, so things got kind of hectic. Now on to the matter or rather product at hand. On my last trip to the Indian grocer I picked up Shikakai powder. I've seen a few mentions of it on hair forums and one or two YouTube videos about its great cleansing and conditioning properties. Shikakai is a fruit that has been traditionally used in India as a shampoo and is one of the Ayurvedic medicinal plants. The name literally means "fruit for hair". The powder is prepared by drying the fruit pods, leaves and bark of the plant (thank you Wikipedia). The powder when mixed with hot water creates a paste that is a mild effective cleanser that does not strip the hair of its natural oils and is supposed to strengthen and condition it too. Some people throw in some Amla powder (another Ayurvedic plant), hibiscus flower, fenugreek, etc. Based on my extensive research (Google) it seems you're supposed to first massage the scalp and coat the hair with either castor oil or coconut oil, leave that in your hair for an hour two, apply your Shikakai paste (which should have cooled off by now) and wash your hair. I of course did not follow any of those instructions and ended up doing my own thing. The first time I used the powder I skipped the pre-oiling bit, mixed up my paste with hot water and orange peel powder (yes from the Indian grocer) and let it cool, finger detangled my hair with the paste, covered my hair and let the paste sit for about 10 min. (no heat was used) and washed it out. The paste rinsed out very easily and my hair felt clean, soft and awesome! I didn't follow up with a conditioner just went right into my styling routine. On my second use I just used the Shikakai powder sans orange peel powder. I got similar results but my hair wasn't quite as conditioned as before, but enough that I didn't feel the need to follow up with conditioner. I also loved that my hair had a nice healthy sheen to it after each use. I should add that unlike henna there isn't a strong scent of anything.  I'm already planning on buying more of this lovely powder I love the fact that it's gentle, non toxic and relatively easy to mix up and use. Now nothing is perfect so here are the cons: it's messy, time consuming and if you follow the whole pre -oil bit it's really, really time consuming also if this stuff gets in your eyes....let's just say there are not enough profanities and screams of bloody murder that will ease your pain. But! Despite all that, I will continue to use this powder because I've yet to use a ready made conditioner/ cleansing conditioner that works this wonderfully on my hair and has me admiring my kinky coils (even through throbbing, red, stingy eyes). For those who don't have an Indian grocer in your vicinity you can get Shikakai powder online.   Have you tried or used Shikakai? If you haven't give it a whirl, just don't get that shit in your eyes!

P.S. My ratio of Shikakai powder to orange peel powder is roughly 2 :1, sorry for the janky measurements but I don't measure when making the paste.

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