Monday, October 25, 2010

How to wash your hair with soapnuts (reetha)?

I had bought soapnuts (they are environment friendly and natural detergents) and shikakai a year back with the resolution that I would use only these things to wash my hair. Well, as you might have guessed, it never happened!! (till now) But, yes, I was successful in making homemade shampoo with soap nuts and shikakai and other ingredients. 

A few days back one of my friends informed me that she has bought soap nuts to wash her hair regularly. And, I remembered my long forgotten lot of soap nuts and shikakai. Now, the reason I could never use soap nuts was because I never knew how to use them. I had asked a lot of people and they told me correct procedure but still I could not bring myself to use them. So, there was no harm in asking one other person, right? I asked my friend how to use soap nuts to wash hair. And, she told me. Strangely, you have some people in your life who assure you of things without really doing so. She is one of them and I decided to follow here advice to the letter.

So, what did she advice me? Quite simple: Soak soap nuts and then use the liquid to wash your hair. When the liquid gets finished, use the soap nuts to lather a batch of water again and use it again and again as many times as you want. No details, nothing. But, still, I decided to go with it. So, what did I do? 
  • I put 3 soap nuts and 2 shikakai fruits (vary according of the length and thickness of your hair, my friend said it is very less, she has shoulder length hair - shorter than mine and she used 10 soap nuts so you can go for 15 too if you have waist length hair) in a cup and covered them with boiling water and left them overnight. I deseeded the soap nuts before soaking them. You can throw away the seeds or grow your own soap nut tree.
  • In the morning, during my shower, I shook the soap nuts in the water and then put them in little water in another mug. (Do not throw away the soap nuts.) 
  • Now, I took the liquid (it has very less foam in it) and applied on my scalp and started massaging. It does not lather at all in the starting. So, you have to just work your way through your hair very thoroughly. Then, I dipped my hair strands into the liquid and shampooed them as well as I could. Yes, the whole procedure is a lot more messier than using a shampoo. And, it might tangle your hair. (There is a surprise there!!) Then, I rinsed it off. 
  • Now, I took the other mug in which the soap nuts were transferred and used that liquid for the second round and simultaneously, transfer the soap nuts into the first cup in some water. Shake the soap buts a bit to bring out the lather. Again follow the same routine. This time your hair might lather. Mine did not because I had oil in my hair. The time soap nuts will take to lather depends on the oiliness if your hair so it might lather for you int he first time also if your hair is not very dirty and free of oil. 
  • So, this way, I followed the shampooing of my hair six times though I could have probably stopped at third or fourth. Well, that would come with experience.I would aim for less times the next time I shampoo.
  • I did not condition my hair. I wanted to see the results without the effect of any conditioners and such.
The results: 
  • Soap nuts are also washing agents. Though they are natural, they also clean your scalp. So, excessive washing is not recommended. If you do try this, stick to three. That is enough to clean the oil from your hair also. I overdid in my naivety.
  • My hair was shinier and softer without using any conditioner.
  • Now comes the surprise!! There was minimal tangling of the hair which was easily resolved in a minute which is really less as compared to ones I get while using a normal shampoo. 
  • There is no frizz in the hair even though I overdid my shampooing.
  • Manageable hair.
  • There was less hair fall in the bathroom as compared to using shampoos.
Advantages: 
  • Completely natural and non-toxic.
  • Soap nuts and shikakai condition the hair very well and promote hair growth. They also help stop hair loss and treat scalp infections and dandruff.
  • If you use organic soap nuts, I think the results would be even better.
  • Do not throw away the soap nuts after your hair wash is over. There is a lot of lather left in them. So, use them to wash your utensils or put them in a cotton bag and throw in a cycle of laundry. You can give your detergent a miss. Clothes come out really clean and bright if you use soap nuts.
So, I have decided that I would use soap nuts whenever I do not have to rush anywhere. I will keep a bottle of shampoo for emergencies. You really need time to wash your hair with soap nuts. Be careful not to get the liquid into your eyes or it stings the eyes pretty bad. I'll give an update the next time I'll wash my hair. 

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