Neem - cosmetics

The antimicrobial properties of neem leaves and seed oil have long been recognised in South Asia for their benefits to the skin and hair. Today neem products such as soaps and shampoos have become popular in India.


Box of neem toothpaste
Image: Refined neem oil is used in many products including toothpaste

Bathing in water infused with neem leaves was a ritual in some parts of India and its use to cleanse the body has developed over time. Nowadays, neem soaps and skincare are widely manufactured in India using oil from the seeds. The market for neem products is increasing, especially for shampoos that claim to have soothing properties for itchy scalps.

Most of the seed oil produced in India is used to manufacture soap. The quality of this oil varies. Refined neem oil is used in nail polishes, shampoos, toothpastes and massage creams, whereas the crude oil is used for industrial soap. Leaf-based extracts are used in face creams.