Shea Butter for Hair: Benefits and How to Use It

When it comes to our smasher philosophy—and life sentence philosophy, for that matter—we believe in keeping it simpleton. That can include everything from makeup techniques to nail designs to fitness routines —even the number of products we keep in our beauty arsenal. Of course, as smasher editors, we have a tendency to accumulate more and more products ( merely to distress about the lack of storehouse space thereafter ). however, we ‘ve discovered that there ‘s a way to do more without necessarily having more : Using versatile smasher ingredients like shea butter .
Chances are shea butter has made an appearance in your skin care routine at one meter or another but have you ever considered using it for your hair ? Its force lies in its humidify properties for both bark and haircloth. To learn more about the latter, we tapped experts Robin Groover, Stacy Chimento, and Shab Reslan .
Meet the Expert

  • Robin Groover is the founder of Atlanta-based Too Groovy Salon and an African Pride brand educator.
  • Dr. Stacy Chimento is a board-certified Miami dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology.
  • Shab Reslan is a HairClub hair health expert and trichologist.

Keep reading to see what they have to say about the benefits of using shea butter for hair.

What Is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a fat derived from the nuts of the shea tree, native to Africa. Thanks to its hydrate properties, it is a popular ingredient in skin care and hair care products. Shea Butter for Hair

  • Type of ingredient: Hydrator
  • Main benefits: Moisturizes, softens, and protects hair
  • Who should use it: Those with thick, coarse, dry, and/or damaged hair
  • How often can you use it: Weekly
  • Works well with: Other hair oils
  • Don’t use with: There are no ingredients known to interfere with shea butter.

Benefits of Shea Butter for Hair

Gauze, hand mirror and bowl of homemade shea butter moisturizer
Westend61 / Getty Images
If you ‘ve never used shea butter on your hair before, let ‘s merely say you ‘re missing out. The nourish ingredient pulls out all the stops for improving hair’s-breadth and scalp health. That includes both reversing damage done to once-upon-a-time-healthy strands and besides helping to prevent said damage from happening in the first gear place. hera ‘s how :

  • Moisturizes: “My favorite benefits are the sealing properties, added moisture, and softening for hydrated, easy styling,” says Groover. Reslan agrees: For reducing friction and locking in moisture in your hair, shea oil is an ideal derivative of the shea tree nut as it provides better coverage on the hair and is more lightweight.” 
  • Revitalizes: Dull, dry hair got you down? Reach for some shea butter. “Since shea butter is filled with vitamins A and E and essential fatty acids, it can reduce dryness and prevent split ends while increasing shine and lessening frizz,” comments Chimento.
  • Reduces inflammation and irritation: If you’re dealing with scalp irritation, Groover says the nourishing benefits of shea butter can reduce inflammation and irritation on the scalp—without clogging pores, notes Chimento. “Its antioxidant properties can protect the scalp from sun damage and fight dandruff,” she adds.
  • Protects: We know we need to shield our skin from environmental damage, but the same goes for our hair and scalp. And according to Groover, shea butter can protect hair follicles from environmental toxins and sun damage.
  • May promote hair growth: “A healthy, build-up free and moisturized scalp is the first step to healthy hair growth,” Reslan tells us. “The strength in shea butter lies in its ability to balance and hydrate the scalp. There are studies that show shea oil may have antibacterial properties which are ideal for maintaining a healthy scalp free of fungus or bacterial build-up. It also contains linoleic acid which helps calm down inflammation found in hair follicles and on the scalp.” 

Hair Type Considerations

Woman with afro
@ salimar._/ Instagram
Shea butter is breeze through as a style and stipulate intersection for most—but not all—hair types and textures. “ If your hair is excessively sparse, shea butter can weigh it down if you use excessively much, ” says Chimento. In general, those with medium-to-coarse hair that is prone to frizz and dryness would reap the most benefits from using it. “ Shea butter is beneficial for natural hair, ” says Groover. For style, she advises, “ Consider the hair concentration, porosity, and texture to determine the come of butter needed. ”

If you ‘re dealing with scalp pique, try oiling your scalp with shea butter a couple of days before your wash day as a pre-poo.

How to Use Shea Butter for Hair

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How to Make Whipped Shea Butter

More much than not, when using shea butter on your hair, less is more. sure, that theory might sound easy adequate but when put option in drill, challenges may arise. “ It ’ mho easy to overuse hair products that contain shea butter, as it does not spread a easily as an oil would, ” notes Chimento. Apart from not overdoing it, she besides recommends performing a temporary hookup examination with shea butter inaugural to see whether it ‘s right for you. If all looks dependable, then the doors are open to adding it to your hair worry routine :

  • Buy a shea-butter styling product: To protect hair from breakage and trap in moisture, Reslan suggests shopping for a styling product formulated with shea butter (FYI: Her picks can be found further below).
  • Combine it with other products: Looking for a customized hair treatment without a lot of effort? Then simply add shea butter to one of your conditioning products. “Shea butter mixed in conditioners and masks smooth the hair, eliminating frizz, tangles, and dullness,” says Groover.
  • Use it as a hair mask: For a quick, easy, and mess-free, application method, Reslan tells us, “Shea butter can be used as a weekly hair mask in the shower to be rinsed out.” Chimento agrees, adding that you should wash it out using a mild shampoo. She advises, “When using shea butter, you should make sure to wash your hair with products that can help deep clean your scalp, rather than sulfate-free co-washes to avoid build-up.”
  • Whip it: In its natural form, shea butter is a bit firm; however, whipping it makes it easier to get out of the container and apply to the hair. You can mix whipped shea butter with a number of carrier ingredients like coconut oil to keep it from re-hardening. Once whipped, you’ll have a fluffy, ultra-moisturizing natural product that will give your hair a healthy sheen. Below, Groover shares her step-by-step guide on DIYing whipped shea butter. It’s a variation of the double-boiler method (perfect for those of us who don’t own double-boilers!).

Ingredients :

  • 2 oz. shea butter
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil

Directions :

  1. Scoop out shea butter from its jar or container and place it in a glass or metal bowl.
  2. Place a small amount of water in a pot and boil it. Once it’s boiling, remove from heat and place the bowl of shea butter over the pot. It will melt very quickly, which is why you need to remove the pot from the heat. Alternatively, you can also microwave shea butter in a microwave-safe bowl, but you may lose some of the nutrients this way.
  3. Remove the bowl from the pot and add coconut oil to the melted shea butter. Mix well. (Note: It’s fine if the shea butter isn’t melted into a complete liquid. The whipping process will break down any chunks of butter).
  4. Use a regular hand-held mixer to begin whipping your shea butter/coconut oil combination on medium-to-fast speed for approximately 20 minutes (You can take short breaks between mixing if needed).
  5. After about 20 minutes of whipping (if you have a large amount of shea butter, it will take longer), your mixture should be light, fluffy and thick, almost meringue-like. Store your shea butter in a cool, dark place in a glass or plastic container; the refrigerator is not recommended because it may become grainy. Natural shea butter mixed with coconut oil or jojoba oil may last approximately six months to one year.

Whipping shea butter will increase the volume by two to three times, sol having a container on hand to hold all of it is necessity.

The Best Products With Shea Butter