Know-How India Introduced ‘Shampoo’ To The World

Sake Dean Mahomed (1759–1851), portrait from Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove.
Sake Dean Mahomed (1759–1851), portrait from Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove.

By- Khushi Bisht

Since the dawn of time, many cultures have practiced a variety of beauty and hair care procedures. But how many of you have pondered about the origins of "shampoo?"

Amazingly, India's diverse culture and people were key in the origination of shampoo. Greek geographer and historian Strabo was the first to report about India's hair-washing customs in the fourth century B.C. Indian people began rinsing their hair with a variety of Ayurvedic ingredients at a young era.

In India, cleaning hair with organic ingredients was a common practice, and many people across the country still maintain this tradition of preserving and drying specific herbs and preparing a mixture from them for hair care.

India has utilized a variety of plants and their extracts as cleansers since earlier civilizations. The word "shampoo" was coined in 1762 and is taken from the Hindi term "champu," which itself was taken from the Sanskrit word "chapyathi," meaning "to massage." The shampoo has been used in India since the late fifteenth century, when a combination of boiling gooseberry, hibiscus, soapberries, acacia, as well as many other hair-friendly plants was prepared and applied to the scalp to clean and healthify the hair.


Many people across the country still maintain this tradition of preserving and drying specific herbs and preparing a mixture from them for hair care.
Unsplash

Shampooing was indeed an Indian technique that revolutionized the concept of hair hygiene across the globe. But who was the one who brought Shampoo to the West? Well, there's a tale about it too.

Sake Dean Mahomed, who came from a barbering household, was the first to bring shampooing to the western world. He learned the skill of 'champi,' or head massage, as well as the procedures for producing shampoos with organic compounds, in his younger years. With his Irish spouse and kids, he came to the United Kingdom in the early nineteenth century. In Brighton, he and his wife launched the very first commercial shampooing massage bath. It was touted in the local press as "the panacea for all illnesses."

Sake subsequently pioneered the notion of shampooing, which quickly gained traction in England. He was so well-liked that King George IV and King William IV appointed him as their personal shampoo physician. Hospitals began sending patients to him, earning him the title "Dr. Brighton," or the "shampoo surgeon."

Sake Dean Mahomed (1759–1851), portrait from Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove. Wikimedia Commons

India was also responsible for the creation of the very first sachet shampoo. Cavinkare was the first Indian company to launch Chik sachet shampoos to the national as well as the international market. For the Indian population at the time, these low-cost shampoos were a huge step forward.

Thus, shampooing is an ancient yet traditional Indian technique that completely changed the concept of hair hygiene.

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