Soapnuts or reetha are actually not nuts; they are just the dried fruit. Soapnuts are small and round and may contain from one to three seeds. They fruit when dried and turn into a hard brown shell that resembles an acorn and the fruit is sometimes called soapberry or soap berry nuts. The berries are the fruit from the soap nut tree ( Sapindus mukorossi ) and the tree is primarily found in the Himalayas although they can be found all over the world.  

Traditionally used by the natives to cleanse their clothing, bodies, and hair, the nuts are grown and harvested organically, pitted, and dried in the sun and the treasure of this nut is in the shell that contains saponins. Saponin is a natural substance or surfactant that produces a soaping effect and is an all-natural glycoside with a distinctive foaming characteristic. Soap nuts are 100% hypoallergenic, as they are fruit and not actual nuts.

Why do people use soap nuts?

Well, for one they are an excellent alternative for persons allergic to chemicals in detergent soaps and they are also used in Ayurvedic treatments for eczema, psoriasis, and some fungal conditions. They are affordable, all natural, and can be used to clean just about anything. Yes, that also includes hair. If you are all about all-natural products then soapnuts will clean your house, body, and hair for much less than any brand on the market.

Benefits of soapnuts for hair

To be completely accurate, they are great for your hair and body, so consider trying them as body washes too! They contain vitamins A, D, E, and K so they add shine and smoothness. With its natural anti-bacterial properties they are great for skin and scalp infections like dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis. They are also anti-fungal, so they can be used for ringworm on the body or scalp and soap nuts have natural conditioning properties, which are perfect for persons with sensitive skin and nut allergies.

They are also great for curlies who have neglected shampoo to consistently co-wash. While they clean effectively, they are not drying like shampoo and you will be left with softness and manageable tresses instead of tangles. They have natural moisturizing and conditioning properties that are great for your dry skin and scalp.

How To Wash Your Hair Without Shampoo Using Soapnuts

Vita from VitaLivesFree shares her quick and simple video on how she cleanses her hair with soapnuts! She shows you how to make the shampoo from start to finish and then she shares how she uses it as her shampoo.

Soapnut Shampoo via Wellness Mama

  • 5 soap nuts (I got mine here)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
  • 1 small muslin bag

What to Do

Place soap nuts in a small muslin bag and place the bag in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 min. After the 20 min. simmer, add 1 cup of water and allow to simmer for 10 more min. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Squeeze out the bag until it suds and then rinse with cool water and squeeze into the pan again. Store in a glass jar in the fridge until use. Massage a small amount in to hair and let sit for 5 min. Rinse well. Can also be used as a soothing wash for skin, especially in those with eczema and psoriasis.

Soapnut dandruff treatment

  • 1 Tbsp. soap nut liquid
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Massage mixture into scalp for a few minutes and allow it to sit for from 15 to 20 min.  Shampoo with pre-made soap nut shampoo and style hair as usual.