DIY: Homemade Natural Shikakai Shampoo Recipe

This homemade shikakai shampoo can be done very easily if you have the ingredients at home. This shampoo is made with natural ingredients and it doesn’t have any harsh chemicals in it. This shikakai shampoo cleans the hair really well. All the ingredients for this shampoo are already dried, so you can buy them in bulk, store and use it year round.

The ingredients for this homemade shampoo are shikakai, soap nuts and dried amla (gooseberries). We call dried amla “Nelli mulli” in Tamil. To make this herbal shampoo, take out the seeds from soap nuts and soak it along with shikakai and dried gooseberries, the previous night.

The next day boil them, till they turn soft and you will see foam forming on top. Strain this liquid, cool and wash your hair with this herbal shampoo. Soap nut is an excellent cleanser and shikakai has been used for centuries for hair wash in India.

Dried gooseberries condition the hair leaving it soft. This homemade shampoo will not lather like the regular surfactant based shampoos, but it will cleanse the hair well. I find that after using this shampoo, it does leave my hair a bit dry so I use a conditioner.

I would suggest the same to everyone who experiences dryness after using the shampoo. Update: I would suggest adding 1 tbsp pf fenugreek seeds to the mixture as it greatly prevents drying of the hair.

Homemade Natural Shikakai Shampoo Recipe

1. Remove the seeds from soap nut.

2. Take dried amlas and shikakai in a bowl.

3. Soak soapnuts, dried amlas and shikakai in water overnight. Make sure they are completely immersed in water.

4. Next day, boil the mixture till everything gets soft and mushy.


5. Strain and use the liquid to wash your hair. This mixture shown in this picture is very thin and is perfect for washing hair that is not oiled, but for washing oily hair boil till very thick. I usually boil till there is only a few tbsp of the mixture left and it removes oil well. When you boil it till thick the color will be reddish dark brown.


  • This amount of ingredients will be enough for one hair wash.
  • Adding amlas helps to condition the hair so try not to skip it.
  • Try buying the ingredients in bulk, sun dry and store them in an airtight container.
  • Increase the quantity of the ingredients, if you have long and very thick hair.
  • Make sure to condition your hair later, if you experience dryness.
  • I would suggest adding 1 tbsp of fenugreek seeds and if you still experience dryness you can increase it even more.


  1. vanitha
    September 16, 2013 / 4:05 am

    What is the tamil name for soapnut?

    • Anonymous
      May 31, 2016 / 10:54 am

      soapu kai

    • Suresh dew
      September 3, 2016 / 11:58 am

      Poovanthi kaai or poolaangai or poongaankai.

    • Suresh dew
      September 3, 2016 / 11:59 am

      Poovanthikaai….or poolaankaai or poongaangkai. In south tamil.nadu its called poovanthi kaai.

  2. AparnaRajeshkumar
    September 16, 2013 / 5:32 am

    I like the back drops ! good one ! DSLR la edutha mathiri iruku !

  3. ramya
    September 16, 2013 / 11:39 am

    Vanitha, soapnut is called "Pungankai" in Tamil.

    • vanitha
      September 19, 2013 / 1:32 am

      Thanks Ramya!!!! So we can buy this from regular grocery store

  4. ramya
    September 19, 2013 / 4:31 pm

    Soapnut is available in nattu marunthu kadai, not in a regular grocery store.

  5. Unknown
    October 14, 2013 / 4:02 pm

    Super post.. one Q.. will there be foam when you use this.. else how do we know that the oil is completely gone?

  6. ramya
    October 16, 2013 / 1:19 am

    It will have light foam, but not like surfactant based shampoos. Your hair will not have the greasy feel, and will be squeaky clean 🙂 .Try using it twice, if you have oiled your hair really well.

  7. Hopy Allen
    January 10, 2014 / 4:43 am


  8. Anonymous
    January 21, 2014 / 2:47 pm

    its realy nice and useful 🙂

    March 25, 2014 / 12:55 pm

    I tried this shampoo, but my hair didn't get 'squeaky clean'. Before shampooing my hair, I massage them pretty well, the first time I used this shampoo, I thought I wasn't doing it properly so I repeated for the second time and then the third, my hair was still oily as if my hair were insistent on remaining oily. Please help, suggest something, I don't want to start using surfactant based shampoos again…..

    • shipra sharma
      July 31, 2017 / 3:17 pm

      Add multani mitti to it it will help

  10. ramya
    March 25, 2014 / 2:16 pm

    Nidhi, next time you make it, increase the quantity of soap nuts in the mixture and boil the mixture till thick. If you still find that the greasiness does not go and you find it difficult to have hair wash, then try this: Soak only the dried amla and soap nut and follow the above said process and mix the liquid with good quality shikakai powder and use that paste for your hair wash.

      March 27, 2014 / 11:53 am


  11. Priti Jain
    March 26, 2014 / 7:55 pm

    Can u plz tell me how to use ready made amla aritha n shikakai powder in washing oiled hair?als tell me how much quantity should i tk of each powder in for washing my hair..?i hv dandruff problm…

  12. ramya
    March 28, 2014 / 5:56 am

    To use ready made powders, I prefer this ratio: 1/4 cup shikakai powder+ 1 tbsp amla powder. Add little water and make it into a paste and use this paste for washing your hair.

  13. Anonymous
    November 9, 2014 / 4:36 am

    Hi Ramya, Can this be stored for subsequent washes in case we make it in bulk? If yes, then how long?

  14. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    November 9, 2014 / 5:03 am

    Hi, It can be made in bulk and stored for subsequent washes in the refrigerator for almost 1 to 2 weeks….

  15. Anjalee sharma
    November 17, 2014 / 6:11 pm

    Can you tell me is it Even useful for the hairfall? I have the issue with it but lately having a lot of hairfall. Suggest how to stop hairfall n even the re growth of hairs in natural way.

    • Suresh dew
      September 3, 2016 / 12:10 pm

      Nothing stops hairfall if your diet doesnot have nutrients soecific to hair like Cysteine..lysine.. methionine..Silica..sulphur..Paraamino benzoic acid. Externally u can only condition hair and scalp making it favourable for hair growth.You can also kill microorganisms that kill your roots like dandruff with external tea tree oil. All the hair oils..shampoos help to make the scalp healthy and assist in good hair growth. But hair takes nutrients from blood. If u get results from external treatments then ur scalp is not in a goosmd condition. If your hail falls even after good hair oil..shamp..conditioners then there is nutrients. All the above mentioned minerals and amino acids get to ur hair through blood

  16. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    November 19, 2014 / 2:05 am

    Hi Anjalee, This shampoo is a good, gentle cleanser. By personal experience I feel, regular hair massage and using homemade hair packs weekly twice coupled with a healthy diet will arrest hair fall soon. Try the curry leaf hair oil for the massage and the fenugreek hair mask regularly to see results….

  17. Anonymous
    January 5, 2015 / 7:39 pm

    Soapnut means boondhikottai thana

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      January 7, 2015 / 5:33 pm

      yes, soapnut is also called boondi kottai………

  18. vasudha sridhar
    January 21, 2015 / 2:49 pm

    Can we store this for a couple of weeks without refrigerator? I need to send my daughter as she is studying in residential school. Thanks in advance.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      January 22, 2015 / 4:33 pm

      Hi Vasudha, I have always made it fresh and have never kept it for more than a few days. But since we are using only dry ingredients it should have good shelf life. But I don't know whether it will last for a month, but give it a try….

    • Suresh dew
      September 3, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      Dry ingredients draw moisture and so scalp easily gets fungal infection….dandruff.These are mot sterile…

  19. Ramya Shetty
    April 2, 2015 / 8:39 am

    Hie… My hair is dry n thin along with split ends… Can u suggest me which type of hair wash is better? So that even my hair looks thick n silky

    • Suresh dew
      September 3, 2016 / 12:14 pm

      Nothing can cure split ends. You have to snip it and then follow hot oil treatments..good heat treatments like blow dryer..etc. Hot towel after oiling is good.

  20. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    April 5, 2015 / 5:03 pm

    Ramya, The best way to prevent split ends is by doing deep hair oil treatments. Try any one of the homemade hair oils from the blog. To use, take the oil, warm it slightly and massage it gently into the scalp and apply till the end. Take a thick towel, dip it in hot water, squeeze out the water completely and tie your hair with it. Have hair wash after 15 to 20 minutes, use either homemade shampoo from the blog or arappu powder (my preference :))

  21. Anonymous
    May 14, 2015 / 4:22 pm

    Do shikakai shampoo works on dryhair..will it be able to remove oil greasy ness frm hair…

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      May 16, 2015 / 4:15 pm

      This shampoo will remove greasiness well but if you have oiled your hair really well, try using this homemade shampoo twice..

  22. Vaavavil
    May 23, 2015 / 5:11 am

    hiii,please suggest me some remedies for regrow frontal hair…

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      May 26, 2015 / 2:29 am

      Try not to pull the hair into a tight bun or a pony tail and try regular gentle massage with any one of the homemade oils and apply hair packs that suits your hair type regularly…

    • Suresh dew
      September 3, 2016 / 12:16 pm

      Onion and ginger juice for scalp to be on 15 to 20 minutes or longer and then wash. Irritation from ginger and sulphur from onion can vring blood to follicles and regrow hair if the ptach is less than 1 year old.

  23. Anonymous
    May 30, 2015 / 2:10 pm

    dear Ramya,Wanted to know the quantity of water to use?Also do I use the same water for boiling in which I have soaked the ingredients?Please clarify my doubts.thank you

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      May 31, 2015 / 4:08 pm

      Use around 500 ml of water for the above recipe and use the same water that the ingredients were soaked for boiling…

    • Anonymous
      May 31, 2015 / 4:15 pm

      Thanks ramya. Your blog is very informative. Will try this shampoo soon.

  24. Anonymous
    June 20, 2015 / 5:34 am

    Dear ramya,I made this shampoo but the colour of my shampoo was reddish brown unlike the colour of your shampoo shown here. Also it didn't remove the oil after using it thrice and I had to use a shampoo thereafter.kindly let me know how long to boil it and which ingredient to add more of to help remove the oil.thank you

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 26, 2015 / 5:20 pm

      The longer you boil the mixture the redder and concentrated it will be. Try these following steps: 1. Use enough soap nuts depending on the thickness of your hair. 2. Boil the mixture till thick and concentrated (the mixture shown in the picture is quite thin) and the all the ingredients should turn mushy. 3. Soak the ingredients at least for a few hours before making the shampoo. I use this shampoo and it does remove the oil (I use it on lightly oiled hair), but I boil till the mixture is quite thick. The only problem I face with this shampoo is it does dry my hair a bit (even though I use amla) so I condition later…

  25. Anonymous
    October 23, 2015 / 6:07 am

    hi, please suggest the conditioner which can be used after applying the above mentioned shikakai shampoo

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 27, 2015 / 5:14 pm

      You can use any one of the hair rinse recipes from the blog depending on your hair type….

    • madhura raghunandana
      November 6, 2015 / 7:31 am

      I tried shampoo and the hair rinse but the problem is oil in the scalp was removed but the oil was there throughout the length of the hair and I had to use shampoo for that. please share the technique.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 9, 2015 / 3:13 am

      I would suggest increasing the quantity of soap nuts in the recipe and boil the liquid till very thick so it will be easy to apply on the hair. You can also add few fenugreek seeds to the recipe..

  26. Anonymous
    November 29, 2015 / 11:57 am

    I am using the shampoo which u told for more than 3 months.will it gives white hair because my husband also using this and I could see some white hairs here and there.I am afraid that the shampoo is reacting…..

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      December 14, 2015 / 2:57 pm

      Shikakai and reetha shampoo will not cause grey hair at all. We have been using it for many years and I have not seen it cause grey hair in any of my family members…

    • Suresh dew
      September 3, 2016 / 12:22 pm

      You guys must be copper deficient. Mere shikakai and soaputs cannot strip melanin from hair. Think if you used any anti dandruff shampoos untill 6 months before.What u do today shows 3 to 6 months later. Hdir takes time.Are u using shikakai for the past 6 months? Hair follicles store. Go through a shock now…and you will shed hair 3 to 6months later. Grey hair is heriditary but can be controlled by diet and oils…hair potions

  27. bramarika vinoth
    January 28, 2016 / 9:04 am

    Awesome recipe and good writeup Ramya. Can this be used for 3 months old baby? Or please suggest any other recipe…

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 5, 2016 / 1:22 pm

      I would suggest using the arappu or hibiscus leaves paste (recipe in the blog) for 3 months old baby…

  28. Unknown
    February 16, 2016 / 10:27 am

    Ramya u r amazing dear love to see this how our ancient people used natural product & how strong that are …There is no one to explain except few like u ..I transure my hair bcoz of blady chemicals I used I lost all my hair..Now feel very relaxed after reading ur blogs thanx for social responsibility…

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 19, 2016 / 2:35 am

      I am so very glad that you find the blog useful….

    • franklin arulanandasamy
      March 19, 2016 / 3:26 am

      Dear Ramya, As usual a wonderful post!!!I have a doubt??When should be fenugreek seeds added to this Ramya? Before r after boiling? Also I dint understand how long u boil it? It means romba antha thanni vathanuma ? so far just I heated the mixture. I will try as u said, this time. I soaked all these, morning 9 o clock and heated by night 8 o clock ? Is it OK??Gracy

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 21, 2016 / 12:49 pm

      Gracy, add fenugreek seeds while soaking the ingredients, boil till the liquid is thick so it is easier to use on the scalp. The first few times it will be hard to use but you will get used to it. The soaking time you mentioned is fine, try and let me know…

    • franklin arulanandasamy
      March 29, 2016 / 3:39 pm

      S Dear.It came out so well. Fenugreek softened my hair so well. As am a regular user of henna leaves ,my hair will b bit rough. But after this herbal shampoo wash including fenugreek I liked to touch and admire the softness of my hair.Thanks Ramya for ur wonderful service.Gracy

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      May 18, 2016 / 3:01 am

      I am so glad you like it, Gracy….:)

  29. Brinda Asokan
    March 12, 2016 / 6:19 pm

    Hi Ramya, Can I use this for my 6 months old Boy?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 21, 2016 / 6:28 am

      Yes you can, but add fenugreek seeds to the recipe too as it greatly prevent dryness of the hair and will leave it soft and smooth…

    • GK sterling
      April 20, 2016 / 12:22 pm

      hi pls. give me the details like for one week how much water,soap nuts,shikakai,dried amla and fenugreek we need (in grams & litre)

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 6, 2016 / 4:40 am

      For a litre of water, use around 25 grams of reetha and shikakai and 15 grams of amla and fenugreek….

  30. star
    May 24, 2016 / 7:00 am

    Hi Mam,Will you please confirm whether can I use powdered amla and shikakai to prepare this shampoo?can you suggest any brand for this. Actually, I am suffering from hairfall due to chlorine water.Please suggest me what will be good for me.Even I am scared to touch my hair with hands because of hairfall

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 7, 2016 / 5:14 am

      Though I haven't made this herbal shampoo with powders, you can give it a try. But it will be pasty and you might find it hard to apply and wash it from your hair. Also don't forget to add fenugreek powder as it conditions the hair really well…

  31. Anonymous
    June 22, 2016 / 11:03 pm

    when we soak the herbs overnight should we cover it with a lid? should the soaking water be warm or cool or cold?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      July 7, 2016 / 2:51 pm

      I use room temperature water and since we are soaking it overnight the ingredients really soften up with regular water itself and you can cover it with a lid..

    • Anjalee sharma
      July 7, 2016 / 6:25 pm

      I tried doung the same but nit getting tge soap like wuth soap nuts

  32. Anonymous
    September 27, 2016 / 6:50 am

    Hi Ramya, I tried this shampoo today after oiling my hair. Despite, boiling the ingredients till the water was really red and thick, and washing my hair with it thrice, the hair is still oily. Is there anything I can do to have "squeaky clean" hair? I have genetically scanty hair which I need to wash everyday or it becomes flat and greasy…..I live in an area with hard water.

  33. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    October 7, 2016 / 4:28 am

    I would suggest tweaking the recipe a bit to suit your hair type and the water you are using. Increase reetha in the recipe as it cleans the oiliness well and if you feel your hair is getting dry, you can add fenugreek seeds too. Also instead of whole pods, you can use the powders and make a paste with rice water and use for hair wash, will definitely remove all the greasiness….

  34. Rathika Thangaraj
    August 11, 2017 / 5:52 am

    Hi Ramya,Where to get the soap nuts?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 12, 2017 / 2:41 pm

      You can get soap nuts in health stores in India else order online…

  35. Anonymous
    January 31, 2018 / 5:36 pm

    Hi! After removing the seeds from the soapnuts are you soaking the seeds or the skin? Thanks!

  36. vinya sankaran vasu
    May 25, 2018 / 11:55 am

    Hi Ramya

    Your blog is aaaammmmaaaazzzinnnggg!!!! I am so grateful to you for sharing amazing natural recipes with such detail, clarity and patience. Thank you so so so much. Wish you the very best.

  37. annupamaa
    August 21, 2019 / 8:03 am

    where is the recipe for arappu powder??

  38. annupamaa
    August 21, 2019 / 9:45 am

    can we grind all the ingredients..shikakai, s.reetha, amla and fenugreek in the mill and use as a powder just mixing with water and boiling till it reaches the required consistency too…?/ this is muc faster easier method… also we can use rice water conji incase hair is still dry…it conditions beautifully!

  39. Dr Nikita jain
    November 2, 2019 / 4:28 pm

    Hi Ramya…u are a wonderful person….i am getting extreme hairfall and have stopped using shampoo and conditioner and serums completely ..i started washing my hair with besan or green moong daal powderpaste and rinse with acvand lemon wash…but my hairs are not at all silky though hair fall has decreased slightly and it’s dry and if i use this method after oiling my hair night before oil does not come out completely…i am allergic to hair wash powder smell so that option is out..i am thinking of using pods and washing hair. Please give how to proceed about it like should i oil my hair and then wash next day and what to use for conditioner and serum naturally and how many times to wash…i am a working mother so it’s very difficult for me to give much time for washing….so please please help and guide…i will be very much obliged….

  40. kirti
    August 23, 2020 / 7:43 pm

    Hi Ramya…i am 19yrs old and having severe hair fall. My hairs are getting thin,frizz,split ends and dry. I am not using any hair products. So please please tell me what i will do…help and guide me

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