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4 Ways to Use Shea Butter for Your Hair

shea butter for hair
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / silviarita

Many sites advocate using shea butter for hair treatment, especially for people with naturally curly hair. Learn all about the benefits of shea butter for hair and how to choose the finest shea butter for your home hair care routine.

Shea Butter Facts You Should Know

What exactly is shea butter? Shea butter is made from the nuts of the Vitellaria paradoxa tree, which grows across the African savanna belt all the way from Senegal to Ethiopia. Known as the “tree of life” because of its various therapeutic abilities, the shea tree is also referred as the “karite tree.” Remarkably, these trees can reach heights of up to 20 meters. 

To make shea butter, the nuts are removed from the pulp and pounded into a fine powder to extract the fat. The crushed kernels are then mixed with warm water into a paste. After cooling and hardening, shea butter is the final end product. 

 Shea butter has been used across Africa to make everything from oil for lamps, to skincare creams used in traditional remedies, soap, shampoo, and even as a substitute for cooking oil. In recent years, using shea butter for hair and skin care products has become wildly popular across the United States. 

In terms of hair care, unrefined shea butter is the best option since it maintains the most bioactive ingredients. At room temperature, it has a beige hue, a distinct nutty scent, and a unique creamy texture,

How to Use Shea Butter for Hair

Shea butter is especially helpful for curly or coarse hair.
Shea butter is especially helpful for curly or coarse hair.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / silviarita)

Shea butter is often touted as beneficial for both the hair and scalp, largely due to the moisturizing and anti-inflammatory benefits that it can offer consumers. 

  • Moisturizing: Both vitamins A and E are found in shea butter, as well as essential fatty acids. In addition to these ingredients, such as shea butter’s high fatty acid concentration, may also be beneficial to your hair’s health. This may also help to keep your hair from drying out and breaking as you benefit from a newfound luster and smoothness. 
  • Anti-Inflammatory Benefits: Shea butter’s anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate redness and soothe the scalp’s itchiness or irritation without clogging pores. It may be used on all hair types, including damaged, dry, or colored hair. 
  • Helps Protect against Heat Damage: Shea butter helps protect your hair against damage from heat styling or UV rays from the sun.

    How to Use Shea Butter for Hair: 4 Ways

    Here are our top 4 ways to use shea butter for your hair:

    1. Revitalizing Boost: To give your hair a quick moisturizing blast, melt a small amount of shea butter in your hand and apply to the ends of your hair. To prevent giving your hair a flat appearance, avoid applying the butter on or near the roots of your hair. 

    2. Scalp Massage: To take advantage of shea butter’s anti-inflammatory properties, you can use it to give yourself a soothing scalp massage. Melt the shea butter in a double boiler and when it has cooled down a bit, use a hand blender to whip into a creamy lotion consistency. Divide your hair into sections and with small, circular motions, use your fingers to massage the lotion into your scalp.

    3. Mix-In Ingredient: To give your products extra hydrating power, melt a small amount of shea butter in your hand and mix it together with your regular conditioner before applying to your hair. 

    4. Hair Mask: If your hair is especially dry or brittle, a shea butter mask can go a long way towards restoring your hair’s natural bounce and shine. Melt 1/4 cup of shea butter in a double boiler. Add two tablespoons of coconut oil and a few drops of rosemary essential oil (if you don’t have this on hand, don’t worry, you can simply leave it out). Use a hand blender to whip the mixture into a lotion. Apply liberally to your hair, combing through from the roots to the ends. Leave in for 1-2 hours before washing out. For best results, use shea butter as a hair mask once a week. 

    Tip: If you find that moisturizing products are causing your follicles to get caked up and clogged, try using a clarifying apple cider vinegar hair rinse to clear your scalp. 

    What to Look Out for When Buying Shea Butter

    When buying shea butter, always check the label for fair trade certification.
    When buying shea butter, always check the label for fair trade certification.
    (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / silviarita)

    Keep in mind that in the United States, some shea butter products are altered in a way that compromises the integrity of the natural ingredients. Some manufacturers choose to tweak shea butter to improve its aroma and texture or to save money by blending it with cheaper substances.  

    Damage to the product’s healing qualities might result from these modifications. Substandard ingredients will diminish the original therapeutic properties of shea butter for hair.   

    Before buying, take a look at the American Shea Butter Institute label on the bottle. The ASIC does not endorse Shea Butter that has been chemically treated, artificially maintained, or otherwise altered in any way.   

    Of course, there is a whole host of other factors that you should take into account before purchasing shea butter for hair. These include: 

    • Unrefined shea butter is the best quality shea butter. Products at supermarkets and pharmacies are frequently overly sterilized and scented. As a result, crucial healing properties for hair are diminished.
    • Check the color of the shea butter before buying. After refining shea butter with bleach or other compounds, it can acquire an ivory hue. Organic shea butter should have a beige color. 
    • Check the smell of the shea butter product. A tell-tale sign of refined shea butter is that its scent can have a plastic-like quality to it, whereas unrefined shea butter has a strong, nutty scent. 
    • What does it cost? In certain circumstances, a higher price does not always imply better quality or working conditions. Look for accreditation of the Fairtrade organization to make it has been manufactured in an economically friendly way. 
    • Where does it come from? Several vendors on the Internet buy their shea butter straight from Africa (e.g. Avocadostore) Always make an effort to find out where the shop obtains their items and which ingredients are used throughout. 

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