Looking for a natural product to make your curls look lush and healthy? Look no further!
Shea butter is well known as a skin super food, popular in many skin and beauty products, but did you know it’s also great for curly hair?
Shea butter has many properties to help create a healthy environment for your curls. In this article, I breakdown exactly what shea butter is, the benefits of using shea butter for curly hair, exactly how to use shea butter on curly hair as well as some hair care products that can help you with this.
What Is Shea Butter?
Shea butter is a popular skincare and beauty product that has been used for centuries. Originating in West Africa, the native home of shea trees, shea butter is made from oil extracted from shea seeds.
Shea seeds come from inside shells that are within shea fruit that grow on these trees, and the first step in making shea butter is to remove these seeds from their shells and to let them dry.
At this point, one of two routes is taken to make shea butter. One route makes refined shea butter. This is the easiest and cheapest to produce but it results in a shea butter that has lost most of its nutrients. This makes it less beneficial to use as a shea butter curly hair cream. It’s produced using high-heat and chemical solvents.
The second route is called unrefined or raw shea butter. It’s often produced by hand which is what I’ll describe here. This type of shea butter retains most of its nutrients giving you the full benefits as discussed below.
In this process, the dried shea seeds are ground into powder which is then roasted. At this point, the roasted powder is ground again which forms a viscous substance.
This substance is kneaded while adding water and then whipped while adding more water. This process forces the oils to come together at the surface where they can be removed.
They are then boiled which removes any remaining water and brings any remaining impurities to the top. Here, they can be taken out.
Finally, the remaining solution is strained and cooled. As it cools, it solidifies into a cream-like consistency which is shea butter.
What Are The Benefits Of Shea Butter For Curly Hair?
Shea butter is often used in skincare but it’s also great for hair too. Below are the believed benefits of shea butter for hair. It’s important to note here that shea butter has not been extensively scientifically studied in hair so these benefits have not been fully proven. However, much is known about the chemical make up of shea butter, and there is strong anecdotal evidence.
Shea Butter Is Moisturizing
The vitamin A and E in shea butter as well as essential fatty acids make shea butter an emollient. This means it is great at creating a protective layer when it is applied and then hydrating and moisturizing underneath without being greasy.
This means applying shea butter to your hair (and scalp) can moisturize and protect it. It can prevent dryness and split ends.
These properties can also increase shine and protect against heat damage from hair dryers and flat irons.
Shea Butter Reduces Frizz
Applying shea butter will not only moisturize your curly hair but it also can help reduce frizz when applying shea butter for wavy hair.
Shea Butter Softens Hair
Shea butter’s moisturizing properties also help to soften brittle hair while protecting against split ends. It also works well to soften fragile curly hair.
Shea Butter Is Great For Your Scalp
If you are prone to having a dry scalp, you’ll love shea butter. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties which can help with any redness, inflammation or itchiness. It’s also great for easing dandruff and for creating a healthy scalp to promote hair growth.
The fats in shea butter absorb easily while moisturizing your hair roots.
I recommend holding off on applying it to your scalp if you have an oily scalp.
Shea Butter Protects Your Hair Against The Weather
Shea butter has many benefits for your hair when it comes to protecting it against the weather.
Shea butter has natural SPF protecting your hair against sun damage when it is applied. While the SPF level is low, it will provide some protection.
The fact that shea butter forms a protective layer on your hair when applied can also help protect it against other forms of weather.
Exactly How To Use Shea For Curly Hair
You have two choices when it comes to using shea butter for curly hair. You can apply it directly by itself on your hair or you can buy a hair product that contains shea butter and other ingredients and apply that.
The advantage of the former is that it’s cheap, quick and easy to apply shea butter directly on your hair. The advantage of the latter is that then you also get the benefits of the other products mixed with the shea butter on your hair.
In the next section are some recommended shea butter hair products.
If you want to apply shea butter directly to your hair, you have a couple of options.
- You can simply place a small amount of shea butter into the palm of your hand and rub it together until it melts and then apply it to your scalp and hair.
- If you are having problems doing this, you can melt your shea butter using a double boiler or microwave, wait for it to cool a little and then apply.
- You can also mix shea butter with a carrier oil, like almond oil, with an electric hand mixer. This will produce a cream-like substance (like my body butter here) that you can rub into your hair and scalp. This will also give you the benefits of almond oil in your hair.
If you are going to apply shea butter to your scalp and haven’t used it before, I recommend a small patch test first. Simply rub a small amount of shea butter on your arm first and make sure you have no adverse effects before applying it to your scalp.
Best Shea Butter Curly Hair Products
Shea butter is contained in many top hair products because it is so good for your locks.
The following products are great choices for caring for curly hair.
This natural shampoo protects while it hydrates and cleans your hair. It locks in moisture and is especially formulated for shiny, healthy and frizz-free curly hair.
It contains shea butter as well as coconut oil and other goodies for your hair.
This shea butter conditioner for curly hair is designed to restore dry hair cuticles while smoothing and softening your curly hair. It adds moisture and shine while helping to remove knots and tangles so it’s easy to style your curls after washing.
It also helps keep frizz away and leaves your curls looking as good as they can.
This leave-in conditioner is like a healthy smoothie for your hair providing all-day hydration, adding shine and making it easier for you to style your curly hair.
It also helps protect your hair when using hair tools such as a hair dryer and flat iron.
I hope you have found this guide to using shea butter for curly hair useful. Shea butter is a nutrient-rich and useful product with many benefits for your curly hair.
Click here to find all our guides to using shea butter for a healthier life. You can also read our guide to using shea butter on skin here, specifically for stretch marks here and feet here.