Simple Natural Shampoo from SoapBerry

English: Reetha

English: Reetha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shampoos and soaps are aplenty. The marketing of shampoo is perhaps the biggest campaign of all others. However shampoos do not actually deliver what it promise. Furthermore shampoos marketed seems to be offering some kind of cure or treatment or medicine. At least there is no shampoo which does not say protein or nourishment. What about a person whose hairs are normal? Who just want to wash the hair and keep it away from chemicals? There is no such product. Seen many recipes on the net but none seem more simple or natural, than this one. There is a Berry which contains soap. It comes with many names but is available in Indian Subcontinent and China. It is called Reetha or Phenil in India. (See Pic.) It is a soapberry or soapnut. It contains a juice which is like soap. It may not generate lot of lather like shampoo but it effectively washes the oil and dirt from hair. It’s technical name is Sapindus mukorossi. More details can be found here. BTW the pick above is of dried Reetha and that is what is required. I do not know what to do with fresh soapberry.


1. Dried Reetha (SoapBerry/Phenil/Soapnut whatever name called)
2. Plain water


Soak about 10/12 soapberries in warm water for two days. (Of course water will cool down and no need to reheat it again)
After about two days the soapberries would turn soft. Now if we carefully squeeze, it will release dark brown color juice. Now there are two ways:

1. Squeeze all the Berries in water. Mix well. Throw away seeds and use water with fruit to rub on the hair and bathing etc.    OR
2. Take few berries, after squeezing open, use directly on hair. Add its water as may be required.

Either way result is same. It will take some practice and it would be perfect. This is the most simple natural hair wash or bathing soap recipe. No herbal shampoo comes without the Reetha or above SoapBerry. Due to hand problem, I did not use it for two months and now I was scratching my head for many days.


This solution can not be kept for more than a fortnight as it starts to develop fungus. I have to find out if Ascetic Acid (Vinegar) is not bad for hair, it may be added for longer shelf life. But why bother. Fresh is fine.

© Sandeep Bhalla

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