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curly hair with shea butter

The Benefits of Using Shea Butter for Hair

Here’s how the nourishing hair care ingredient can improve your strands.
09 Jun 2023
Shea butter is a product that you've likely used in your body care routine, but if you turn your favorite hair care products around and look at the ingredient list, you'll probably see shea butter listed there. This nourishing ingredient is a hair care favorite for anyone looking to retain moisture in their hair, but you may not know other reasons why shea butter is such a great choice for your strands. Keep reading to learn more about shea butter for hair, including its benefits and how to use it in your hair care routine.

What Is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a fat obtained from the nut of the vitellaria paradoxa or shea tree, found in West Africa, as per the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The fat is extracted by roasting and pressing the nut kernels. The natural product can be used in cooking, as well as in beauty products, and for medicinal purposes like healing rashes, cuts and burns due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Shea butter can be used on its own, or it can be incorporated into products like cream, lotion or conditioner.

Is Shea Butter Good for Hair?

Shea butter became a popular natural hair product because it can help reduce scalp irritation, and when used on strands of hair, the fatty acids in the ingredient act as an emollient, helping to add and retain moisture, as per a National Center for Biotechnology Information.

3 Main Benefits of Shea Butter For Hair

Shea butter can help you take care of your hair in a variety of ways. Check out some of the benefits of shea butter for the health and look of your strands.

1. It Adds Moisture

As we mentioned before, shea butter is an excellent moisturizer, making it an ideal ingredient for those with dry or brittle hair. When hair is adequately hydrated, it becomes softer and smoother, and it’s easier to repair damage. Shea butter can also help protect your strands against hair damage like split ends and alleviate dandruff.

2. It Helps Reduce Frizz

If you notice frizziness or flyaways when styling your hair, add a bit of shea butter to your strands to help reduce the frizz and smooth your hair.

3. It Reduces Itch

Shea butter can also be used to relieve an itchy scalp, due to the creamy texture and fatty components of the ingredient. If your itchy scalp is a result of atopic dermatitis or eczema, according to the NCBI, shea butter can help with those conditions.

How to Use Shea Butter For Curly Hair

While all hair types can benefit from using shea butter, since curly hair can run dry due to the shape of the strands (it’s harder for oil to move down from the scalp on a curly strand), adding shea butter to your routine is a great way to maintain moisture levels.
You can buy pure shea butter and use it on your scalp and strands, or you can reach for a product that contains the ingredient (often easier and also includes other good-for-hair ingredients). Everything from shampoos and conditioners to hair oils and leave-in creams can contain shea butter, making it simple to implement it in your hair care regimen. Below, some of the best hair care products with shea butter.

Born To Repair Sulfate-Free Nourishing Shampoo

While you may think shampoos are solely meant to cleanse, you can still nourish your hair as you wash it. This shampoo contains shea butter to hydrate and repair your curls, and it’ll deeply clean your hair without stripping it of natural oils or moisture.

Born To Repair 60-Second Moisture Treatment With Shea Butter

If you want to maximize your moisture levels, try this moisture treatment that will hydrate your strands and seal the hair's cuticle for shiny, healthy hair. After shampooing, apply the treatment to your hair and wait one minute before layering your conditioner on top and proceeding as usual with your wash routine.

Born To Repair Nourishing Conditioner With Shea Butter

This conditioner pairs well with the shampoo and moisture treatment above, and it will intensely hydrate your hair and help you detangle your strands. Gently massage the conditioner into your hair, paying special attention to your ends, and then rinse it out.

Born To Repair Reviving Hair Oil With Shea Butter

Keep the hydration going with this hair oil. It deeply moisturizes the hair, fights frizz and adds shine, for healthy-looking curls. Apply the oil on damp or dry hair, and work it into your strands from roots to tips.

Born To Repair Reviving Hair Oil With Shea Butter

Leave-in conditioners and creams can help you style and hydrate your curls after shampooing and conditioning, and also as part of the LOC method (a process where you use leave-in conditioner, then oil, then cream to retain moisture in your strands). This cream uses shea butter to define your curls and restore moisture, and in addition to nourishing your curls, the cream comes in a tube with 78 percent less plastic than other products — making it good for your hair and your planet.

Healthy Hair Butter

This nourishing cream protects hair from damage and it can be used as a styling cream, a leave-in moisturizer, and to smooth your edges and flyaways. In addition to shea butter, the formula includes hydrating oils like jojoba, sweet almond, and soybean.

Next up: How To Moisturize Natural Hair

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