Shaz & Kiks makes the ancient Indian tradition of Ayurvedic hair oiling accessible for all hair types.
Sisters Kiku Chaudhuri and Shaz Rajashekar, founders of Shaz & Kiku
Ayurvedic ingredients for the brand's prewash are sourced from India and small sustainable farm communities.
In addition to educating shoppers on ingredients, the sisters want to stress that Ayurveda is for everyone — there is no cultural restraint to it.
Shaz & Kiks "Back To Your Roots" scalp and hair prewash, $60
The clean beauty space has seen great strides in skincare and cosmetics during the modern wellness movement, but — comparatively — haircare innovation has lagged far behind. For Texas sisters Shaz Rajashekar and Kiku Chaudhuri, who had always dreamed of creating something together (they worked in chemical engineering and digital marketing, respectively), bringing some newness to the industry offered the perfect challenge. And they knew exactly what product they wanted to introduce.
Growing up, their mother would return home from her travels to India with beautiful Ayurvedic beauty products, and create hair oils and masks out of herbs, oils, and flowers. “We always felt like our hair was the healthiest when we did these Indian, Ayurvedic rituals,” Chaudhuri says. “There are so many amazing, natural ingredients that stem from Ayurveda that have wonderful effects and benefits that are relatively unknown outside of that region, especially in the Western market.”
The sisters began cold calling to find a manufacturer that would make their dream formula from scratch, finally landing on a lab in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “We had a very specific ingredient list we did a lot of research on, and worked with Ayurvedic experts back in India to create,” Chaudhuri adds.
Ingredients for Shaz & Kiks’ first and most important product, a creamy scalp and hair prewash, are sourced from all over the world — some from India and some from small sustainable farm communities. It was a product and formulation the local lab had never seen before.
“We know prewash is not common practice for most, so one of our main efforts is education,” Chaudhuri says. “That’s why we’ve done so much research on the science behind it, so we can explain why it’s important. This is not some biomedical innovation we created — the ingredients are just unknown to the majority of the world.”
In addition to cultivating a fun, feminine, and aesthetically pleasing corner of the internet, Shaz & Kiks’ Instagram page regularly highlights key Ayurvedic ingredients and offers an engaging forum for asking haircare questions. One common one being, “Why is the product put in dry hair?”
“Wet hair is the weakest hair. Prewash creates a protective shield around your hair to protect strands against the water damage that happens in the shower,” Chaudhuri explains.
The sisters also want to stress that the ancient beauty ritual is for all hair types. “We may be using a kind of culturally specific formulation and a philosophy that is based in Ayurveda, but we really want to make sure this is an incredibly inclusive brand,” Chaudhuri adds. Shaz & Kiks prewash comes in two formulas: one for flat, fine strands and another for dry or curly hair. “Ayurveda is for everyone, and there is no cultural restraint to it.”
And though Shaz & Kiks’ first product, which can include a handmade neem wood comb, wasn’t intended to debut during the pandemic, the nurturing act may be more attractive than ever — and even easier to adopt. Though the sisters recommend leaving the product in for at least 20 minutes before showering, the longer (like, all day or night) the better. The soothing, self-care ritual with its sweet smelling herbs and flowers may be a perfect self-love act for the moment.