I live in Bangalore.
The real shikakai pod thing is useless is what i figured out. It really dried hair and i lost loads of hair from it.
What i use is Banjara's shikakai powder mixed with some aritha powder and some poder called chigare(this was told to me by my dermo). I tried a lot to find out what this chigare is, but could not. You can ask for it in any departmental store or in a fancy store(bangle shop). Its a green pwoder, much like henna powder.
I mix the shikakai powder and chigare powder in a 75:25 ratio. Add maybe some amount of aritha powder. This is not a drying mixture. It washes hair out well(but you need to repeat to get oil out) and is also not very drying(hair does feel a little dry on wash day, settles out the next day, so dont worry).
You could start this way.
As for the the VO5 conditioner, i found it in a gift store near my place which sells some imported items. I luckily got one and have ordered for another. I hope he gets it for me.
But generally i found that its almost impossible to find a cone-less conditioner in India.
I tried Lotus herbals conditioner, but when i sent a query asking if it contains cones, they said it does contain. I wonder hwo they call it all herbal
I hope i was of help to you.
Alternatively, until you find a good cone-less conditioner, you could use natural recipes, like Mayo conditioner, aloe gel etc.
Also, which oil do you use? I use coconut oil whcih is very good, its washes off easily too. And its supposed to be the best oil for pre-wash and post wash.
If you need any more help, you cam PM me.