Shea Butter and Hair - A Match Made in Heaven
There I said it! But I'm not here to make baseless statements. No, that would be unladylike. So here below are my reasons for that statement.
In my previous blog post about the benefits of shea butter for skin, you may recall that I talked about it’s moisturizing properties for skin. Well let's start from there - more specifically from the root of the hair…ahem, matter.
One of shea butter’s properties is that it does not make the skin oily - a reason both the oily skinned and dry skinned can use shea butter. This applies to the scalp as well. Shea butter will not clog pores and as such can be used safely on all scalp types.
Not only that, Shea butter also does wonders for the scalp for two reasons. It’s high in antioxidants (vitamins A, E & F) and antifungal properties that relieve the scalp of irritation, prevents dandruff (which is a result of fungus on the scalp) and also soothes it without clogging the pores.
Now onto the shaft of the hair. Shea butter provides sealing properties when applied to hair. It moisturizes with Oleic, Linoleic and Stearic acid and then immediately turns around and protects these ingredients and moisture from leaving the hair by providing a barrier and locking in that moisture. It’s lighter in weight than most other sealing oils such as castor oil and is very helpful especially for our friends with high porosity hair. As such it can be used as a conditioner with other products or as a light leave-in conditioner.
There is a huge misconception out there that only exposed skin requires protection from the sun. But I’m here to tell you; that’s not true. Hair needs protection from the sun, environmental toxins and dry weather too! And that’s a fact. Shea butter comes to hair’s rescue as well with its SPF content (SPF 3-4) to protect the hair from the harsh sun and help maintain its rich colour.
All of these benefits come together to do something major for the hair; promote hair growth. Requirements for healthy hair growth are a healthy scalp, protection from harsh environmental conditions and time. Although shea butter hasn’t cracked the time travel code (yet), it can ensure a healthy scalp, protect the hair from the environment and allow it to thrive.
Now here’s my only exception, for those with curlier, coarser, thicker hair, shea butter can be applied all through the hair. However, if you have lighter hair, shea butter is best applied to the tips of the hair to provide the benefits listed and avoid weighing down the hair.
So let me know what you think of the points above, your experiences using shea butter for hair growth and what some of your favourite recipes are.