Shea butter is found as an ingredient in many of our natural hair products. It is derived from the nuts of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa), which are native to West Africa. Shea butter’s ubiquitous presence in hair care, skin care, and cosmetics, can be attributed to its natural nourishing properties. Here is a more thorough look at the benefits of shea butter for natural hair:
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1) Serves as a moisture sealant
One of the benefits of shea butter for natural hair, is it moisturizing property. When shea butter is included in your hair products or used in its raw form, it can serve as a great moisture-retaining ingredient. For one, shea butter is made of a thick consistency. Thicker butters like shea butter, can aid in moisture-retention by smoothing the hair cuticle, as butters provide an easy coverage of your strands. In turn, this helps to trap moisture and prevent it from escaping as easily.
In addition, shea butter is a great moisturizer not only for your hair, but for your skin as well as it can help to prevent dryness. It contains different fatty acids, along with vitamin A and vitamin E, that contribute to shea butter’s moisturizing property. To note, due to the thickness of shea butter, you may want to consider applying small amounts of it to your strands, or mixing it with an oil for easier smoothing. This can help to prevent your strands from feeling weighed down or greasy.
2) Softens and nourishes the hair
Shea butter contains multiple nourishing nutrients that then transfer to your hair. There is a combination of essential fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, and other components that can benefit the health of your hair. To add to this, the natural nourishing properties of shea butter help to soften and strengthen your strands. Shea butter makes a great ingredient to add to your DIY deep conditioners.
3) Can help to prevent breakage
Another one of the benefits of shea butter for natural hair, is that it can help to prevent breakage. The nutrients found in shea butter, in combination with its moisturizing and nourishing properties, can help to strengthen your strands and thus prevent breakage. Shea butter provides a soothing yet thorough coverage of your strands and is great for alleviating dry, brittle hair and ends.
4) Soothes an irritated scalp
If you have experiences with an irritated, dry and itchy scalp, shea butter can provide some relief. Shea butter has natural anti-inflammatory properties which then can benefit an irritated scalp. Additionally, shea butter won’t clog pores when applied to the scalp.
5) Great for styling
If you want a soft and defined, long-lasting twist-out or braid-out, consider adding shea butter to your list of good ingredients to look for in your hair products. Whether it is a twist-defining cream with shea butter listed as an ingredient, or you are using the all-natural, unrefined form of shea butter, it can make an excellent styling alternative. Simply wet / spritz your hair with water. Then, follow up with shea butter and an oil for soft and voluminous results.
6) Bonus: Shea butter can offer some sun protection
We often forget the importance of protecting our hair form the sun’s harmful UV rays. Shea butter can offer some degree of sun protection, attributed to cinnamic acid, a component found in shea butter. However, the SPF protection provided by shea butter is not that high though, so be sure to protect yourself with an adequate sunscreen.
Good natural hair products that contain shea butter:
- Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
- Unrefined Raw Shea Butter
- Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream
- As I Am Double Butter Rich Daily Moisturizer