DIY: Shikakai Powder Hair Wash for Hair Growth

Shikakai means fruit for hair and it has been used as a hair cleanser for centuries in India. Traditionally, for our oil bath, after massaging our hair with this massage oil, we have our hair wash with a mixture of arappu powder and shikakai powder. We have arappu tree in the farm and we usually collect the leaves, sun dry and powder it for the whole year’s use.

Good quality arappu powder made with tender leaves, cleans well and it is easy to wash the hair only with it. But store bought arappu is usually not that good and it is getting increasingly hard to get good quality arappu. If we buy arappu from the shops, we usually mix it with home made shikakai powder.

Even older people will find it easier to apply/ wash their hair with arappu, if it is mixed with shikakai powder, as arappu mixture is pasty. We never use shikakai powder alone, as it can be a bit drying, especially if it is used without the oil massage. It is always mixed with arappu powder.

Shikakai cleans the hair well and produces good lather, though not like surfactant based shampoos. This shikakai blends prevents hair loss and promotes hair growth, if used regularly. Make shikakai powder for hair wash, during the hot summer months. It should be sun dried till crisp. If you are making it in small quantities, powder it in a dry mixer after sun drying it well.

Shikakai Powder Hair Wash for Hair Growth

1. Sun dry the shikakai till very crisp.

2. Powder the shikakai finely. If using a mixer, make sure it is completely dry.

3. Mix 2 tbsp of shikakai powder with 1 cup arappu powder. Add water and make it into paste.


  • Sun dry till crisp, else you will not be able to powder it finely.
  • The amount of shikakai powder to be mixed with arappu powder is individual choice.


  1. Radhika Vasanth
    September 5, 2013 / 2:03 pm

    I grew up washing my hair with arappu and shikakai. I wish I can get them here.

  2. Anonymous
    October 25, 2014 / 9:41 am

    Hii what is shikakai and arappu in tellugu.we can get in hyd or not

  3. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    October 28, 2014 / 8:21 am

    Hi, Shikakai is called Cheekaya | Gogu | Chikaya in Telugu. Arappu is called Chigara in Telugu. Try in country medical shops in Hyderabad, I am sure you will get it there…..

  4. Sai Kanakha Lakshmi
    March 17, 2015 / 8:26 am

    Hi Ramya,This is Sabitha, I really loved your website and all tips are great and very useull. What is arappu power?thanks

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 18, 2015 / 5:25 pm

      Hi Sabitha,I am really glad that u like the website. Arappu powder is a traditional South Indian hair wash powder that is made by grinding the leaves of the arappu tree. It is the most gentlest way to wash our hair. You can also check the arappu post in the blog for the pictures and more details….

  5. Anonymous
    July 17, 2015 / 4:43 pm

    Hi. My friend recommended oiling hair before using shikakai and arappu mix. Will shikakai and arappu remove the hair oil properly or leave it greasy? She also said I should use shikakai and arappu in 2:1 ratio. I have never tried these herbs before so I am unable to make my on opinion on what is the right ratio. Please guide.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      July 22, 2015 / 5:29 pm

      Hi, Arappu does remove the oil but I would suggest using it twice especially if you have thick hair. Shikakai is quite drying on the hair so try using very little of it. Arappu takes some getting used to, so try applying oil lightly for first few washes and add very less shikakai (for a cup of arappu powder, 2 tbsp of shikakai will be good). Then with practice you will know exactly how much shikakai to add, but trust me it is worth all the effort…

  6. Anonymous
    August 13, 2015 / 8:44 pm

    Hi ramya. It wil b very kind of u if u can ans following queries1. Instead of oiling hair can we add oil to shikakai arapu mix? Wil it have same effect? If yes then how much oil to add.2. Shud shikakai arapu wash be followed by deep conditioning as herbs I believe can b very drying?3. Shud we massage the shikakai arapu paste or just apply and rinse off gently? M asking this becos I hav heard shikakai granules r coarse even in powder form and can rub off hair shafts during massage.4. For a first time user…how do we actually apply this paste on hair…like a shampoo on wet hair or like how people take separate strands of haie as in case of hena and then tie them up for sometime. 5. Can we add rice powder to shikakai arapu mix? I hav heard it adds shine to hair and can help in smooth removal of herbs. Can rice powder b a substitute to pre wash oiling?I know too many doubts…but wat can a fellow first user do with no one to guide offline! Thanks a lot. Love ur blog.-Sonam

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 16, 2015 / 5:27 am

      Hi Sonam, No problem :)1. No, don't add oil to shikakai arappu mix, it will leave your hair greasy.2. Traditionally arappu was used after oil bath so no conditioner was needed, try oil massage before shikakai arappu to prevent drying.3. I prefer to apply a semi thick paste all over the hair uniformly first and then rub gently to lather and then wash it off.4. Wet your hair first and then apply. I have to warn you, you might find it very messy and hard the first few times but you will get used to it very soon.5. Please don't add rice powder, it will be hard to use the paste. But you can add in rice water to mix into a paste and it will leave your hair shiny…

  7. Umamaheswari
    January 7, 2016 / 10:32 am

    you have mentioned in the proporation to use 1 cup arappu and 1 cup shikkai to powder. Then to use for 1 cup arappu : 2 tbsp shikkai powder. which one to follow?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      January 31, 2016 / 12:23 pm

      It is 2 tbsp of shikakai powder for 1 cup arappu powder, thank you for pointing the mistake, I will change it…

  8. Anonymous
    April 7, 2016 / 7:43 am

    Hi Ramya, One of my friends suggested the addition of Korai kizhangu, kichili kizhangu and sambangi vidhai and raw rice (50g each) for 1 kg shikakhai,along with vendhayam and Reetha. Could you plz advise what properties do each of these ingredients have and will it be a good enhancement for homemade shikakai powder? Thanks, Gokila.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      May 27, 2016 / 5:40 pm

      I have used korai kizhangu & kichili kizhangu only for my skin, I don't know how effective they are for hair. Sambangi vithai and fenugreek will condition the hair well. Reeta and shikakai cleans the scalp very effectively. Try a small batch and see how it agrees with you, if it dries your hair increase the fenugreek in the recipe…

  9. yuvasri reena
    September 3, 2016 / 11:55 am

    Mam am going to made power of sikkai and soap nut buy giving it to the mill… My doubt is necessary to remove the seed from the soap nut

  10. yuvasri reena
    September 3, 2016 / 11:58 am

    Mam….it is necessary to remove the soap nut seed…am gng to make it power with shikarkai in mill.

  11. yuvasri reena
    September 3, 2016 / 11:59 am

    It is necessary to remove the soap but seed

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 6, 2016 / 1:27 pm

      You have to remove the seeds from the soap nuts….

  12. Praveena
    February 11, 2017 / 11:45 am

    Hi Ramya.. .This is Praveena.I'm suffering from severe hairfall and hairthining..So I started using homemade shampoo…It's working…but still hair thinning.. .I'm from Visakhapatnam..Where can I get aarapu powder..Waiting for your reply

  13. nancy g victor
    November 21, 2017 / 11:38 am

    Hi mam how to use rice water and arappu for hair wash

  14. nancy g victor
    November 21, 2017 / 11:38 am

    Hi mam how to use rice water and arappu for hair wash

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 21, 2017 / 5:16 pm

      Mix rice water and arappu powder together till it forms a paste and use it for hair wash…

  15. Anonymous
    December 6, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    Am using arappu along with shikkagai powder for past one month. Do hair wash twice in a week. But hair remains oily n STiL have Hairfall prob..pls tell me is there any tricks to use those powder. How many times should I wash my hair in week..?

  16. Anonymous
    May 10, 2018 / 11:13 pm

    For 1 hairwash for 1 day we should use 1 cup arappu and 2 spoons of sigaikai, is this correct it seems like a lot of powder to use…..? In the blog please specific how much per use we should use as often herbals are overused and can be counterproductive when this happens….

  17. Pragya Shukla
    February 3, 2021 / 2:10 pm

    Hello sister I want to ask for how long should I keep this mask on my hair and should I wash it with plain water or with a mild shampoo?

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