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5 Uses and Benefits of Shea Butter

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a natural conditioner for hair. It is produced from the Shea-Karite tree nut, which is a native tree found in the tropics of East and West Africa. It provides extraordinary moisturizing properties and is therefore known as “mother nature’s conditioner”.

It’s been utilized for decades in areas of Africa not only for the hair but also because of its skincare and therapeutic qualities. Shea butter is also known to heal burns and injuries, and to get rid of surgical marks, dermatitis, and stretch marks. Apart from medicinal uses, some of the most common uses for Shea butter include using as a natural moisturizer for your body and face, and as a conditioner for dry hair.

Here are some uncommon uses for Shea butter that you can start doing now:

1. Sooth Irritated Scalp

Shea butter has been used for centuries to sooth dry itchy scalp or dandruff on African Hair. It’s also a great source to provide moisture for dry or damaged hair. It is usually utilized like a foundation for health-related creams, and it has been believed to possess anti-inflammatory qualities. It absorbs easily into the scalp and it does not clog the pores. It provides moisture from the roots on down to the ends. It is therefore extremely beneficial to hair that is relaxed, colored, or heat-treated.

How to Use It:
Melt down Shea butter in a double broiler over boiling water. Once it has cooled to a reasonable temperature, spread onto your fingertips and apply in small amounts directly onto your scalp. Rub in circular motion. You can add drops of tea tree oil for an extra soothing sensation.

2. Sealant for the Hair

Black hair has the tendency to be dryer than any type of hair due to the texture. The natural sebum from the scalp has a hard time sliding down the shaft to the ends because of the bends or coils of black hair. Shea butter is frequently found in curly hair treatments because of its emolliating qualities. This makes it excellent for locking in moisture without leaving your hair greasy and heavy. Since it aids in fastening moisture into hair it’s fantastic for keeping your hair protected against the weather.

How to Use It:
You can use it alone or you can add it to your favorite conditioner to give you extra moisture. It’s also a great additive for shampoos and hair creams.

3. Protection Against Heat

Shea butter does not sit on the hair, instead it absorbs into the hair strand/shaft without leaving a greasy or heavy feel. However it does coat the hair shaft so that it is protected against damage from the heat tool being passed along the hair.

How to Use It:
You can melt it down and combine it with another natural oil, such as grapeseed oil or avocado oil which have high smoke points. Apply in small amounts before blow drying and straightening natural hair.

4. Shield Against UVS

Shea butter is believed to have a low amount but sufficient SPF to protect your hair against the damage from ultra violet rays of the sun. This is definitely beneficial for processed or color treated hair.

How to Use It:
Melt it down and apply lightly before going to the beach, lake, or any activity in which your hair is exposed to sunlight. You can even add it to a moisturizer spray to spray it on easily to your hair.

5. Softener for Hair

Shea butter is great for softening hard brittle hair. It’s an excellent moisturizer, and therefore offers that advantage for dried as well as fragile curly hair.

How to Use It:
Mix with another carrier oil and apply as your “oil step” in the LOC method, or as a moisturizer for 2nd or 3rd day hair.

Refined vs. Unrefined Shea Butter
There are two types of Shea Butter refined and unrefined. Unrefined Shea butter means it has more of its natural goodness. One of the reasons Shea butter is refined is to eliminate it’s natural aroma which may not be liked by some. However the odor does absorb fairly quickly. If you want to use an unrefined Shea butter with less of an aroma, its been recommended to use Shea Butter from Uganda or East Africa. It cost slightly more, but it is also known for being able to make your hair a little softer and it’s slightly better at moisturizing.

Everyone’s skin is different. Do a patch test on your skin before applying all over your scalp. You want to see how your skin and scalp react to Shea butter first.

2 Comments

  1. Out of Africa

    Really Enjoyed this blog post . Really Thanks you !

  2. lungiswa

    Hi,

    I am from cape town, south africa. I would like some unrefined shea butter for hair – please advise how and where I can get it.

    Thanks

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