Shikakai, known by its scientific name as Senegalia rugata is a spiny climbing shrub native to tropical Asia. It has been part of hair care formulations since 2500 BCE, making its way into ancient ayurvedic scalp care routines for the past four thousand years. In order to prepare this natural tonic, shikakai fruit pods, leaves, and bark were traditionally dried, ground, and pasted.
This shikakai-based tonic, compared to synthetic tonics, maintains a low pH, thereby preventing any stripping of natural oils from the hair. That’s a point in shikakai’s favor; stripping natural oils every time you go through your hair care routine can, counterintuitively, lead to even oilier and greasier hair as your strands take the absence as a cue to start producing even more oil.
What’s more, the shikakai fruit contains vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, and naturally occurring anti-fungals, ensuring healthy hair with a good defense for your scalp against nasty microbes and fungus.