Chao Botanicals Product Review: A Taste of Ayurveda

Have you just started your natural hair journey, or have you been at it for a while and are still learning the different applicable techniques? 

You’ve probably come across the term Ayurveda. While you may not be willing to jump onto another likely “craze” in the natural hair movement, you may be a little curious about testing it out—

 

The practice of Ayurveda originates from the Indian subcontinent and has spread to other parts of the world over time.

On matters of hair care, Ayurveda offers different remedies for common hair-related issues such as hair loss, premature greying, thinning of hair, and more.

 

Among the budding natural hair product manufacturers in Kenya, Chao Botanicals incorporates some beneficial Ayurvedic hair treatments into its formulations. 

They have a range of four products; each has a minimum capacity of 250ml and costs below 1000ksh (10$). 

 

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Review of the Chao Botanicals Must-Have Washday Products

  1. Conditioning Shampoo

The product has a pleasant calming scent, thick creamy consistency, and is medium brown in color. It is infused with Amla (which helps darken hair), Reetha (a cleansing agent), and Shikakai (helps clear dandruff). 

When applied to the scalp, the shampoo leaves a soft tingle. However, this feeling ebbs with continuous use, i.e., on subsequent wash days. 

For it to lather, you have to use a generous amount of it and work it on wet hair.

Due to the shampoo’s conditioning property, it encourages clumping of the hair but not in a manner that leads to knotting. It is also non-stripping, leaving the hair soft and supple: you can detangle at this stage. 

As a gentle cleanser, it’s preferable for use when you have little to no build-up. Otherwise, it’s better to use a clarifying shampoo: less time-consuming, too. 

You can also use the shampoo before clarifying—like a pre-poo treatment—as it allows the clarifying shampoo to cleanse any remaining gunk without stripping your strands. 

  1. Deep Conditioning Treatment

Their deep conditioner is quite thick in consistency and has a powerful natural smell. Its formulation includes: 

      • Fenugreek (high in protein) and Rosemary, which help in combating hair loss.  
      • Hibiscus promotes hair growth. 
      • Amla, Shikaikai are already discussed above.
      • Ashwagandha may help prevent hair loss (a stress reliever), strengthen hair, and alleviate scalp irritation.
      • Bhringraj helps prevent hair loss, slows down greying, and reduces dandruff.  
      • Flaxseeds can promote hair growth while strengthening the strands. 

You can sense the conditioner counter the shampoo’s effects as you apply it, as the strands feel rather stiff. (It probably has more strengthening than moisturizing properties.)

However, if you start your Natural hair wash day routine with a pre-poo, the strands retain some of their initial softness. 

You might want to water it down a bit for ease of application. I find it easier to spread and effective when I do so, as opposed to the feeling that it’s just sitting on the hair when I don’t.

Though, the conditioner does absorb well when used with heat.

After letting it sit for a few minutes under heat, detangling as you rinse it out, the brush glides through.

Tip: I use a scalp massager/ shampoo brush to detangle— a recent convert. 

Even so, there’s a noticeable amount of shedding as you rinse, which hasn’t been the case with the deep conditioners (with similar properties) I’ve used before.

 

  1. Leave-in Conditioner

It has faint notes of peppermint and is creamy white in appearance. The leave-in is infused with Fenugreek seeds, Rosemary, Ginger, Ashwagandha, and Peppermint oil (promotes hair growth). 

It’s a fast-acting product that softens the strands immediately upon application. Works well as a daily moisturizer for refreshing a style: best used on wet hair.

When it is used with heat, the strands eat it up.

Pro tip: I put my Leave-in conditioner while in the shower so that my hair cuticles can lift from the heat present—low porosity hair struggles. 

It also does an excellent job in mixing with other hair products that you may use after and hardly leaves a residue. 

 

Personal Best Products from the Range

The conditioning shampoo is okay to use on washdays when you don’t have much product build-up. 

It can also be used as a pre-poo treatment before going in with a clarifying shampoo.

Their Leave-in treatment also works great: it’s fast-acting and leaves the hair pliable.

However, the deep conditioner may be more suitable for someone whose strands need a little more protein/ strengthening than moisture. 

You might want to alternate it with a deep moisturizing conditioner more often, for one with low porosity hair.

 



Resources

Reetha, Amla, Shikakai: https://www.1mg.com/ayurveda/reetha-46

Fenugreek: https://www.thehealthy.com/nutrition/fenugreek-seeds-for-hair/

Rosemary: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319444#research

Hibiscus: https://www.healthline.com/health/hibiscus-for-hair#hair-growth

                   https://www.1mg.com/ayurveda/hibiscus-111

Ashwagandha: https://www.byrdie.com/ashwagandha-for-hair-loss-5080425

Bhringraj: https://www.healthline.com/health/bhringraj-oil#for-hair

Flaxseeds: https://www.healthline.com/health/flaxseed-for-hair#how-it-helps

Peppermint oil: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289931/

Ginger: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3578824/ (no scientific evidence that it promotes hair growth)

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