A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about the use of shampoo on curly and whether it was a good practice or not. My purpose was to inform you of what shampoo is, what it does to your hair and health and what alternatives are out there for you to clean your hair. I personally use a low-poo shampoo, but am currently researching natural alternatives and trying to come up with a recipe myself. This search has guided me to an amazing discovery – well it’s not much of a discovery has it has been used for centuries! – one which is 100% natural and is environmentally friendly. Today I want to talk about soap nuts for a natural hair no-poo shampoo.
What Are Soap Nuts?
Soap nuts are the fruit of small trees and shrubs of the Sapindus species. The name is derived from the Latin word saponins (soap) and indicus (India). Soap nuts are small, round, have seeds and are of a yellowish, brown to blackish colour. The amazing thing about this fruit is that it has a natural surfactant, saponins. If you don’t remember surfactants is a substance that when in contact with water produces a foam which helps eliminate dirt and grease. In other words, it acts like a detergent, but, in this case, one that is 100% natural and from fruit, go figure!!!!
As with many natural things soapnuts are said to have many beneficial properties despite the lack of massive research. But, hey! Who can deny centuries of use in India and by Native Americans? Still, they have been recognized to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties and effective in the treatment of lice.
Don’t be fulled by the name, soapnuts are not nuts they’re actually berries and they are hypoallergenic. Because it is a very gentle cleanser, soap nuts are suitable for children, those with sensitive skin and people who suffer from eczema and psoriasis. Furthermore, with the increasing awareness of the impact of chemical products on the environment you can now find cleansers, laundry detergents and shampoos made with soap nuts.
Soap Nuts For A No-Poo Shampoo
When I came across this gem I thought it ticked all the boxes for those adhering to the no-poo movement who call attention for the chemical, environmental and economic impact of using regular shampoos. As you know shampoos are filled with chemicals ingredients such as preservatives, pH stabilizers or fragrances. These chemicals are washed away into our water and soils contaminating them, some are carcinogenic and cause allergic reactions and “no-pooers” (sorry, I couldn’t resist) suggest cheaper alternatives to cleanse our hair.
Since you can reuse soap nuts several times to make shampoo before you dispose of them, they come out very cheap indeed. How great is this? You can easily make a simple soap nut shampoo using 5-6 whole soap nuts (de-seeded), 3 cups of distilled water and essential oils (optional). Check this simple homemade soap nut shampoo recipe from Wellness Mama or you can check mine here. If you’re not into DIY you can also buy some Ayurvedic soap nut shampoos, but it won’t be as cheap.
Here are some of the advantages of using soap nuts as a natural hair shampoo:
- It gives you soft, shiny and manageable hair
- It is environmentally friendly as it is 100% natural
- It as no chemicals and is non-toxic
- Very economical and you can reuse the nuts to make new shampoo
- Suitable for children and those with sensitive skin
- You can customise it – just mix herbs and essential oils to suit your needs
- Multipurpose – a simple/basic soap nut liquid recipe can be used as a shampoo, body wash, regular cleaner or laundry cleaner
I hope you found these little fruit berries as interesting as I did, and if you’re looking for a natural alternative to clean your hair this will get you started.
Is this the first time you hear of soap nuts? Would you consider using them?