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You Should Try ShiKai
By Debbie Steele

The name is a shortened version of "shikakai" - a fruit native to India and Burma. An extract from this fruit became the basis for the companyís first line of shampoos.

In addition to shampoos and other hair care products, ShiKai now offers facial care and bath and body products. Their line is no-frills, of exceptional quality and very reasonably priced.

Gels to Win You Over

Although Iím usually a bar soap person, these shower gels almost made me a convert. Their luxurious soap-free formula contains a high percentage of aloe vera, and is very kind to dry, sensitive skin.

They all lather nicely and have scents that are rich but not overpowering. Hereís a rundown on the fragrances:

ShiKai Shower GelsApricot Rose
: The rose smell is dominant, with a hint of apricot.

: This is their bestseller; it smells like a sweet honeydew melon.

French Vanilla
: This one has the warm, rich, sweet smell of vanilla.

: This is my favorite. It is an unusual combination, because lavender is generally considered a calming scent, while mint is energizing. This gel will make your senses come alive. It is their newest scent.

White Gardenia
: This one has a sweet, floral, tropical, almost coco nutty smell.

Yuzu Fruit
: The yuzu is an Asian fruit; it smells like a slightly sweet grapefruit.

Hereís perhaps the best reason to try these shower gels: the price. A 12oz bottle sells for a mere $6.99!

Keep the Fragrance Going

Each of their shower gels has a companion body lotion, also rich in aloe (one minor detail: the companion to the Lavender/Mint shower gel is simply lavender. Apparently, the mint essential oil didnít mix well in the lotion formulation, so they opted to omit it).

These are medium-weight body lotions with equally wonderful fragrances. Again, the price is unbeatable: an 8oz bottle of lotion sells for $6.29, and a 2oz bottle sells for just $1.95 each.

One note about this these shower gels and lotions: If youíre looking for products suitable for men, the Yuzu Fruit scent may be the best (perhaps only) option.

Borage Therapy

ShiKai also has a line of Borage Dry Skin Therapy Lotions, intended to provide relief to chronically dry skin. Borage oil is extracted from the seeds of a wildflower commonly called the starflower. This oil is rich in GLA, an essential fatty acid.

According to ShiKaiís literature, the oil has been shown to be effective in treating the redness, inflammation and moisture loss associated with dry skin. ShiKai offers two Borage Therapy formulas: Adult Formula for people 25 years and older, and Pediatric Formula for the younger set.

ShiKai Dry Skin Therapy Hand CreamEach formula comes in both a skin lotion and a hand cream (are you still with me? Weíre talking four lotions all together). The only difference between the two formulas: The Pediatric formula lacks two ingredients: stabilized vitamin C (because it can irritate young skin,) and L-Ergothioneine (a transport vehicle for borage oil that is not necessary for young skin).

I tried all four Borage Therapy lotions. All are unscented, quick to absorb, non-irritating and non-greasy. I did not notice a difference between the Adult and Pediatric formulas.

In the body lotion form, both were pretty lightweight. They did leave my dry skin nicely moisturized for 12 hours or so, but alas, do not appear to be a miracle cure for dry skin. As for the hand creams, they were noticeably thicker than the body lotions, and seemed to provide more intense moisturizing.

The most satisfying experience I had with the Borage Therapy products was when I used the hand cream as an all-over moisturizer (again, my skin is pretty dry; you may not need this much).

I was later advised by a ShiKai representative that, to get the full benefits of the Borage Therapy products, you should use them consistently for 2 or 3 weeks. I'll admit I did not do that.

I think the Borage Therapy line would be a good choice if you have sensitive skin or want to avoid fragrance for some other reason. And, as I said, for very dry skin the hand cream can serve as a good all-over moisturizer.

The prices on the Borage products are not quite as incredible as the shower gels and scented body lotions. The skin lotions are about $13.50 for an 8oz bottle, and the hand cream is about $7.50 for a 2oz tube.

Slightly Off-Topic

By the way, after having such a good experience with their bath and body products, I tried a couple of their hair care products as well, with equal success. I plan to give their facial care products a try at some point as well.

Overall, Iíve been very impressed with the high quality products, reasonable prices and excellent customer service from

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