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What is Shea Butter?
Shea butter has been used by African women for centuries as a multipurpose moisturizer. This rich and creamy ingredient is extracted from the Shea trees found along the “Shea Belt” that spreads from east to west Africa. Raw Shea butter from West Africa tends to be denser whereas Shea butter from East Africa is creamier and softer. Both are equally good in quality. Shea butter can either be used in its raw form or as an ingredient in hair products such as leave-in conditioners and strengtheners.
To extract the butter, nuts from the Shea trees are pounded into a powder and then boiled with water. The butter starts separating from the water and rises on top. The nuts are often roasted before this process for enhanced oil secretion and richer consistency.
One of the best uses of Shea butter is for haircare and let us tell you why we love Shea butter for natural hair.
Stearic acid: Stearic acid is found in plant and animal fats. It is known as an emulsifier which means that it acts as an agent to keep oil and water blended in any product. This is why when you apply Shea butter to wet hair, it does not get separated. Stearic acid is a light substance that does not weigh your hair down which makes it a great moisturizer.
Oleic acid: Shea Butter contains oleic acid that helps to avoid water loss and retain moisture in hair strands and is good for controlling water loss on the strands. A good leave-in conditioner like Megagrowth Deep Strengthening Conditioner containing Shea butter is a great way to retain moisture in dry hair.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps in the secretion of natural oils from the scalp which keeps it healthy and moisturized. This is essential to avoid dryness of the scalp, itchiness, and dandruff.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help in healthy hair growth and reduce hair follicle damage. It acts as a protective barrier, restoring shine and moisture.
Benefits of Shea Butter For Natural Hair
Hydrates and Softens Hair: Shea butter deeply nourishes and moisturizes the hair as it is rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamins A and E. It hydrates the hair without making it greasy. It can also soften dry and damaged parts of hair such as split ends and improve hair texture and quality. Try out Megagrowth Break-Free Leave-In Strengthener to keep your hair soft and moisturized.
Sunscreen for The Hair: Just like your skin needs protection from harmful exposure to UV rays, your hair too needs to be protected from the sun! When your hair follicles are exposed to the sun too often, it gets damaged and causes dryness and hair breakage. Shea butter can protect your hair from sun damage as it contains a small amount of SPF which acts as a protective barrier against UV rays.
Soothes Your Scalp: Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties and is highly moisturizing. This makes it an effective solution to fight dandruff and soothe an itchy scalp.
Heat Protection: We often tend to use heat styling tools on natural hair to style it. Shea butter can be a great heat-protecting solution since it is not heavy and absorbs evenly into your hair strands.
Undoing and Untangling Hair: Undoing and untangling natural hairstyles like brands can be a mammoth task! Rub Shea butter on your fingers before you undo a hairstyle and you’ll find that the process becomes a lot less tedious. The Shea butter will also make your hair softer and shinier.
Lock-in Hair Moisture: Shea butter is a great ingredient to lock in the moisture in your natural hair and make it softer and smoother, without making it greasy. It’s best advised to apply Shea butter on slightly damp hair rather than completely dry hair.
Freshening Up Your Hair: Your hair needs a little refresher every now and then, especially when you have dry hair. Mix up a concoction with some water and a leave-in conditioner that has Shea butter. Spray this mixture throughout the day when your hair feels dry and dull to add a little life and shine to it.
Makes Hair Stronger: As Shea butter includes fatty acids and vitamins, it provides essential nutrients to the scalp and helps in strengthening hair follicles. This benefits in improving scalp conditions, reducing hair fall, and promoting new hair growth.
We hope we were able to explain why we love Shea butter for natural hair so much and that you are excited to try it out if you haven’t already!