NEED TO KNOW: The Magic of Shea Butter
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While oils may get all the praise for being amazing hair conditioners and stylers, let’s not forget the magic of other natural emollients, like shea butter for instance. The waxy yellow (or ivory if refined) substance can be used for a number of things, but nothing compares to its hair benefits. Shea butter is available in many forms, but unrefined organic shea butter is the way to go.
WHAT IS SHEA BUTTER?
Shea Butter is extracted fat from the nut of an African Shea Tree. Originally from West Africa, the butter has been used for centuries for a series of things, including hair care.
WHY USE IT?
Shea butter is great for healthy hair because of how wonderful it is for healthy skin — i.e. your scalp. Shea butter is packed with vitamins, including Vitamin E which protects the scalp from dryness. The butter’s antioxidant properties promote the blood flow needed to stimulate hair growth. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that heal and protect the scalp from bacteria and severe skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
Besides being the perfect moisturizer for your scalp, shea butter is also great for your strands. As a protectant, the butter shields your hair from: sun damage with its low level SPF, heat damage caused by styling tools, and dryness.
HOW TO USE IT:
For one time use, heat a mixture of 2 tablespoons of shea butter and 2 tablespoons coconut oil until butter has melted. Add a teaspoon of honey, mix, and apply to damp washed hair. Rinse thoroughly and enjoy your shiny soft locks. (If you want to make a bottle of this stuff, adjust your measurements.)
If you have thick and dry hair, this tip is just for you! Shea butter will hydrate your mane for days. Soften your butter with a little heat and mix in some olive oil. To your hair, apply a spitz of water, your shea butter cream, and seal it all in with your oil of choice.
Naughty knots getting in the way? Use some shea butter. Dampen your hair with water, rub a dab of shea butter between your palms until soft, and apply to your hair. Using a wide-tooth comb or detangling brush (wide-tooth comb if you have tight coily hair, brush for finer, looser curl hair types) break through those knots and style hair as usual.
If you want to achieve sleek and luminous curls or twist-outs, use shea butter as your curl cream. Simply saturate your section of hair with a mixture of shea butter and coconut oil before twisting or curling. The curl definition will blow your mind!
Though heated straighteners and curls help us look fab, they do nothing for the health of our hair. Shea butter will protect your precious strands from heat damage. Melt your butter to liquid and mix in a high smoke point oil, like grapeseed for example. Apply a small amount of your mixture to your hair and style with your iron as usual.
If you suffer an itchy or irritated scalp, massage in some melted shea butter. Because it contains Vitamin E, the butter will help make skin more elastic and moisturized.
How do you use shea butter? Let us know in comments below!