• FlyingPepper Team

Origin of shampoo: How a young Indian barber from Patna introduced “Shampoo” to the world!

Curiosity is the mother of invention. We are becoming less curious day by day. The declination of “How” in the google search trends in recent years indeed indicates this. Asking questions is the greatest way of learning. Ever thought how the fan in your room works, how your groceries remain fresh in the fridge or how the shampoo you use while bathing was invented? When you try to find the answers to your queries, it leads to some unknown shocking facts often, likewise the “origin of shampoo”, which is actually an Indian invention.

Credit: Unplash

India being one of the oldest civilisations, has always been a knowledge provider to the world. Ancient Indian universities Nalanda and Takshashila existed as eminent centers of learning even before Oxford, Cambridge and Europe’s oldest university Bologna. Indians are highly respected in the world because of their talents and hard working nature. A high portion of Silicon valley entrepreneurs, NASA scientists and Software engineers working in the U.S are Indians or Indian origin.  

India has a rich heritage of cultural as well as behavioural practices. Cleansing hair with natural substances was a regular ritual in India which the britishers started following during the colonial era and eventually got spread to the world with trade. 

Origin of Shampoo word: 

The word ‘Shampoo’ used in English came from the Hindi word ‘Champu’ which itself is a derivation of the Sanskrit word “Chapathi” which means ‘press or massage’. Shampooing is an ancient Indian practice dating back to 1500 AD, when a paste made from the herbs and their extracts were used to cleanse the hair. Shampooing was an Indian practice which was indeed a revolution to the idea of personal care in the entire world.

Shampoo history and the ancient ingredients of shampoo:

Earliest shampoos in India were made from hibiscus, shikakai, gooseberry and soapberry extracts. These natural ingredients have properties that help in hair growth. 

Amla: Amla is a good source of vitamin C. It helps to prevent greying hair prematurely. Amla also helps in strengthening the hair, fighting against dandruffs and itching of sculps.

Soapberry: It helps in keeping the hair lustrous and reducing dandruff. 

Shikakai: A mix of hibiscus, tamarind, green gram, tulsi leaf, fenugreek and curry leaf, every ingredient of Shikakai helps in maintaining hair growth with no side effects.

Cleansing hair by this vintage natural shampoo with all the natural ingredients was a regular ritual in ancient India. Britishers started using this shampoo after coming to know about it. The secret concept of shampooing and the recipe of the vintage Indian shampoo got spread all over the world with trade.

Who introduced Shampoo to the western world?

Story of the shampoo surgeon:

A young Indian barber named Sake Dean Mahomed from Patna introduced the indian origin Shampoo to the western world. Mahomed was born in 1759, and was from a family of barbers. At a very young age, he learned the art of ‘champi’ which is sort of a head massage  along with the techniques of making soaps and shampoos using natural ingredients.


Sake Dean Mahomed, Credit: wikimedia commons

Sake moved to england and started living with his wife and children. He started working at a spa owned by a rich Scottish gentleman, Basil Cochrane. Cochrane had already an idea of starting a vapour bath service, Sake Dean helped him in setting the spa well equipped. Soon Sake introduced the concept of shampooing which became wildly popular in England. Dean Mahomed became so popular that he was made the private shampoo surgeon of King George IV and King William IV. Even hospitals started referring patients to him making him the moniker Dr. Brighton or most popularly the shampoo surgeon. 

The first sachet shampoo:

Remember those 1-5 rupees shampoo sachets we used to buy during our college days? Those shampoo sachets are also originally an invention from India.

Chick shampoo was the first company to introduce sachet shampoos to the world. These very affordable shampoos were quite a revolution for the Indian crowd of that time.

Conclusion: Shampooing is another ancient Indian practice which revolutionised the entire idea of hair care.

Now you know about the shampoo surgeon and the unique story behind the popularity of shampooing. 

You can give us a favour by sharing this article and spreading this unique story to more people. This will motivate us to bring more such stories to you.



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