Neem: Haircare And Bodycare Products

The use of neem in skin diseases lead to its application on preventive aspects also. Taking a bath in a decoction of neem leaves was a ritual in some societies. The anti-inflammatory properties of neem preparations made their use more popular.

As given in post on Traditional uses, the neem twig is well reputed for oral hygiene, neem oil, extract or fibers have been incorporated in some of the recent toothpastes and a floss has also been prepared. Neem soap is quite popular in India and its use is also spreading in the western world. Neem extract is an important ingredient of some herbal shampoo, and neem oil is used in hair oils, body lotions, creams and mosquito repellent preparations. Neem oil is said to prevent baldness and greying of hair, and has anti-lice and anti-dandruff effects. Patents for these products have also been taken out ().

Neem has been incorporated in face packs. A typical formulation may have a very fine powder of leaves, bark and seed in clay. Milan Mehtra () has given some formulations incorporating neem for face packs for oily skin, hair oil and cream for cracks on the back of the heel. In face packs, neem has been mixed with Carica papaya which contains papain and with liquorice. The author has suggested that a bath oil based on neem can be applied immediately after swimming to remove the last traces of chemicals and salts left on the body. Neem-based gels can possibly reduce the amount of clothes required by people living in a cold climate. The antiseptic and emollient properties of neem lotion can be useful for minor skin diseases. Neem along with Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) has been incorporated in prickly heat powder and body talc.

In India, it was a common practice to apply coryllium (lamp black) along the side of the eye, particularly by young ladies as a beauty aid, to make eyes conspicuous. The common method of making lamp black was to take an earthen lamp, and put neem oil and a cotton wick in it. When ignited, the wick liberated copious smoke, from which lamp black could be collected by placing a brass cup, containing water for cooling, some distance away from the flame. The lamp black deposit was scraped from underneath the cup, and mixed with a small quantity of mustard oil to form a thick paste, called kajal.

This carbon black can also be used as a very safe, temporary hair dye, for concealing grey hair, by forming a very thin film on it using a hand glove.


Selections from the book: “Neem: The Divine Tree Azadirachta indica”. Edited by H.S.Puri. Series “Medicinal and aromatic plants – industrial profiles”. 1999.