So far I'm loving it. It seems from my internet research that using powders is often used on Indian and black hair however I think it can benefit all hair types. There are so many benefits and I don't think I'll go back to normal shampoo anytime soon.
I have unusual Chinese hair. It feels brittle and I don't even heat style it. It's fine, wavy and when it's really dry, it's curly and frizzy. It also gets oily quickly.
From what I've read, herbal powders are beneficial because they are chemical free and won't overly strip oil from hair. Shikakai is good for gentle cleaning and imparting shine. Aritha is used to boost the oil removing properties of shikikai. I've only tried the alma once and was'nt too fussed about it. Perhaps I need to use it more often but I'm pretty happy with this current routine.
So I'm only using herbal powders for shampoo, silicone free conditioner and pure unrefined coconut oil, argan oil as hair moisturisers. To wash, I mix 1 tsp of shikakai (and 1 tsp of aritha if hair is really oily) with 1/4 cup of warm water in a recycled squeeze jar. I give a good shake and squeeze it on wet hair, just on the crown where most of the oil is. I massage it into the scalp, apply conditioner on the ends and leave it in on for about 3-5 minutes. Then I give it a thorough rinse. If I'm in a hurry and need to blow dry, I do it on it's lowest setting and just dry long enough for the hair to be damp. While hair is drying but still damp I distribute 4-5 drops of coconut oil or argan oil on the ends. I reapply the 2-3 drops everyday until my next wash.
The results so far are amazing. First of all my hair is not as dry as it used to be. I can tell because it takes longer for my hair to air dry. It's noticeably shinier than any other shampoo and conditioner I've used. And best of all, my hair feels healthier. It has more volume than before, a big plus!!!
From my experience here are the pros of using Shikakai:
Shinier, softer hair
Hair feels stronger at the roots, feels like there's more body
Gentle cleaning-won't overstrip oil from hair
Exfoliates scalp/no dandruff
100% natural, no chemicals
With continued use, hair becomes less oily
And the cons:
Messier to use
Takes longer to rinse out than normal shampoo
It has a muddy smell when wet
You have to prepare it everytime (although you feel like a chemist, mixing your own concoctions, adding the right proportions of alma, aloe vera gel, aritha, etc)
If you don’t rinse it out well, hair will feel grubby (feels like there’s build up)
What it won’t do, contrary to what I’ve read is make you shed less or condition your hair. I found that using a conditioner on the ends and applying oils after is a must.
I will do another progress report in a month or so!