So you probably already know that shea butter is a great addition to your skin care routine. Its super buttery texture softens the skin and has many healing properties. So many brands include shea butter in their skincare products as a staple ingredient. While it’s common knowledge that shea butter is great for your skin, did you know that it’s also great for hair?
What is Shea Butter?
Shea butter is a compound made from the fat of shea nuts. The shea nuts grow on the Vitellaria Paradoxa tree or the shea tree as it is commonly known. Shea butter originated in West Africa and has an off white or ivory colour. If you see shea butter that’s yellow, don’t be alarmed. Unrefined shea butter is yellow. Shea butter becomes yellow from the addition of Borututu Roots. The Borututu Root has antioxidants and antibacterial properties, which enhances and adds to the many benefits of shea butter. The raw unrefined version is considered to be the better version, because it is of the highest quality and all its benefits remain preserved.
"Shea butter not only protects your hair from breakage, but it can protect your hair from UV rays and heat"
Shea Butter Benefits for Hair
Speaking of shea butter benefits, this one product has a million and one ways to help you on your journey to healthy hair. Here’s a list:
Shea Butter Soothes Your Irritated Scalp
If you’re prone to an irritated or dry scalp, you can actually add shea butter directly to your scalp for relief. The reason why it works so well is that it has anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to that, shea butter won’t clog your pores and absorbs right into your scalp. Even if you have a more chronic problem like dandruff, shea butter can provide relief. Combined with other moisturisers it can help to treat dandruff and prevent flare-ups in the future. One thing I’ve found to be really helpful with my dry scalp is eliminating the use of shampoos containing sulfates.
Shea Butter as a Hair Butter
Shea butter is great for the C part of the LCO/LOC method. Shea butter is much cheaper than many hair butters and works well if not better. To save some money on your natural hair journey, you can use shea butter right before you apply your oil. It’s a great sealant for your leave-in conditioner and your hair will feel great. Your hair will also stay soft and moisturised for quite some time. With shea butter, you don’t have to worry about waking up the day after washday with dry hair.
Shea Butter as a Moisturizer
Shea butter isn’t only great for wash day. You can use it to moisturise your hair at any time. Shea butter is pretty thick and so it may look like it’s too heavy but it’s pretty moisturizing for kinky hair. It’s full of vitamin E and vitamin A and will add some shine to your hair. It’s a great bang for your buck and I’d recommend it over many of the other moisturisers in store. If you follow the curly girl method and avoid products with mineral oil and silicone it can be hard to find products. The good thing about shea butter is that it’s curly girl method approved, it doesn’t have mineral oil or silicones.
Shea Butter Grows Your Hair
Yes, a lot of products claim to help you grow your hair out, but shea butter is the real deal. It grows your hair, because it prevents breakage. Personally, I like to concentrate the shea butter on my ends since it’s the oldest part of my hair and thus the weakest. If you’re experiencing breakage, I’d suggest adding shea butter to your hair care routine.
Shea Butter Protects Your Hair
Shea butter not only protects your hair from breakage, but it can protect your hair from UV rays and heat. If your hair is going to be exposed to sunlight, especially at the beach, put some shea butter on your hair strands. Shea butter contains SPF and can protect your hair from harmful UV rays. If you’re looking to protect your hair from damage from heating tools, you can apply a little before you blow-dry or straighten your natural hair.
How To Use Shea Butter
Shea butter can be applied directly to your hair in whatever form you buy it in. However, if you’re like me, you might want to opt to add oils to yours before applying to your hair. One great way to use shea butter is by whipping it. There are many videos on YouTube that can help you with this, but I’ve also summarised everything for you below. You’ll need shea butter, of course, any essential oil of your choice, and your favourite carrier oils.
How to Make Whipped Shea Butter
Add chunks of shea butter into a bowl and use a mixer to break it apart. If you want to use coconut oil and yours is solid this is a good time to add it into the mixture.
The next step is to add your oils. You can use avocado oil, castor oil, grape seed oil or any oil you like. You can also add some essential oils such as rosemary or tea tree oil.
You’re done! Scoop it out and put it in a clean container. It’s best to keep it in a cool and dark place.
Personally, when I make whipped shea butter, I add the container it’s in, to hot water and leave it there to melt. After it has fully melted, I add my favourite oils and mix it around and around until I see it start looking whipped. I try my best not to get water in there because it’s going to get grainy and fungus could start to grow in it. This is a great method you can use if you don’t have a mixer, but still want to incorporate oils into your shea butter.
The Take Out
Shea butter is a great inexpensive product to add to your natural hair routine. It has so many benefits and can be manipulated with your favourite oils to give you healthy shiny hair. It’s definitely a staple in my natural hair routine.