The blacker the berry……………..

Soapnut (or ritha nut) Shampoo

Posted on: March 20, 2009

I came across ritha nuts in an indian beauty secrets book that Im reading. It had a recipe for ritha nut shampoo; 1 cup of ritha nuts and 1 tbsp of lemon juice.  This recipe only makes a small amount you can, if you desire make a larger batch of the ritha nuts and store it in a container until you are ready to use. But I would suggest that you make enough for only a few uses, as not to waste the product as the liquid may go bad.

When you get the nuts you can soak them in water overnight, then you strain the liquid, add your lemon juice and voila, a simple ,natural and healthly shampoo. You can add other herbs and oils to the mixture to give it added benefits

  • Indian goose berry (amla) 50gms
  •  i.e about one hand full Soapnuts (reetha) 50 gms (after seeds are removed)
  • Sikakai* 50gms

Take about one liter of water and simmer these herbs in it till just one cup is left, cool it and use it as a shampoo. This is a multipurpose remedy commonly used by Indians for centuries. Prolonged use promotes hair growth, give them shine & volume

*EDIT* Coincidently, the book is called “Indian Beauty Secrets” by Monisha Bharadwji. 🙂

 Some links for more information:


Soap nuts are a popular natural laundry detergent in many parts of the world today. Numerous households have bags of soap nuts handy for washing clothes, or windows, or as a remedy for treating common skin problems without any side effects. Soap nuts are not nuts; rather they are the fruit of the Sapindus mukorossi tree. Soap nut trees are mainly found in India, Nepal & China. The fruits of the soap nut trees are used for various purposes. While the seeds of the soap nut fruit are used as detergents to replace artificial washing powder, the outer shell of the soap nut contains saponins which are good for treating skin problems.

People in India practice an alternative form of medicine called Ayurveda, which strongly recommends the use of soap nut powder for maintaining your crowning glory. Soap nuts have been used in this region for centuries not just to repair damaged skin and hair but also to prevent such conditions from occurring again. Soap nut powder is used to wash the hair while bathing. Regular use of soap nut powder ensures the reduction of hair fall to a great extent. Many people who were on the verge of going bald have seen good hair days because of soap nut.

Soap nuts are used in combination with many natural ingredients to counter hair loss. Soap nut powder & liquid cleanse the hair and keeps it shiny and soft. Its gentle action rejuvenates the scalp cells and prevents hair loss to a great extent. Dandruff often speeds up hair loss, but soap nuts fight away dandruff as well. When the problem of dandruff is solved, the side effect of hair loss can quite often also be eliminated. There are many companies that sell good quality soap nut shampoo with high concentration of soap nut extract. But you could also use soap nut powder or liquid directly on your hair. Gently work up lather while massaging your scalp. Allow the soap nut powder to work on your scalp for a few minutes and then wash thoroughly.

 Another fact is that using soap nuts eliminates the exposure of the scalp to harmful chemicals. If you were using a commercially manufactured shampoo, your so-called remedy would itself contain chemicals that could slow down the process of healing and recovery. Hair washed regularly with soap nut gets thicker and glossier with each use. Prevent dandruff and steer clear of future hair loss. Stick with soap nuts shampoo and you could have a head of hair to be proud of. But note that while soap nuts act as a supplement to help you against hair loss, a balanced diet will go a long way in preventing the condition from recurring.


8 Responses to "Soapnut (or ritha nut) Shampoo"

What is the title of the book? I just ordered my first ayurveda book on amazon last night.

Oh! this sounds promising, thanks for the links and info. What’s the name of the book you’re reading? I’ve been looking for herbal books on amazon and found a handful, but still doing research before I buy;-)

The name of the book is Indian beauty secrets by monisha bharadwji. I got it from the library. 🙂 I also updated it in the post.

Thanks for info!!!May be its helpful for me……

I only recently found out about soap nuts, so thanks for this post. I’m not sure if they have soap nuts in Trinidad, but if they do I’ll definitely try this recipe.

I recently made Reetha(soapnut shampoo) & i m dis-satisfied. Somebody plz help me in this regard…

2 spoons Reetha Powder(soapnut powder)
2 spoons Shikakai
1 spoon Amla(Indian gooseberry)
1 spoon bhringraj
I soke them overnight in 2 small bowls of water.& next day heat the mixture for about 5minutes. I could clearly see the color… Then i filtered the water… Thick particles were removed but still tiny powdery particles were there…. Shift the mixture to a shampoo bottle & there was already half spoon shampoo. So i shake them well so that it would lather welll

But there is no lather at all…. so some one plz help me who is using it…
i know it would lather lesser but atleast there should be some foam or surds

Because it is a natural product and doesn’t contain any foaming agents it may not lather at all. I know with soapnut it has to be agitated a bit for it to form any lather.

it does not give out much lather but washes the hair clean and clear.

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