#NaturalHair!

Is Shea Butter an Effective Moisturizer?

Shea Butter is a HOT commodity in natural hair care. SheaMoisture, Jane Carter, Karen’s Body Beautiful, Carol’s Daughter, Shea Radiance, Cantu and more and more companies are using shea butter in their products.

I know for a fact that my hair loves Shea Butter because when I use Shea Butter my hair feels soft, luscious, and has a great sheen. But I know that many naturals have complained that Shea Butter is too heavy and seems to just sit on top of the hair. If this is the case for you, you may be using too much. Sometimes we are heavy handed and feel the need to use ample amount of product on our hair, but in reality, with many butters and products in general, a little goes a long way.

Does shea butter work magic on your hair and scalp?

Maybe.

Here are some of its chief benefits:

Shea butter provides moisture to dry and damaged hair from the roots to the tips, leaving it healthy and shiny. Because it’s rich in vitamins A and E, shea butter soothes dryness, repairs breakage, and mends split ends.

Shea butter absorbs quickly and completely into the scalp without clogging pores, leaving a greasy residue, or causing a buildup of oil or dandruff.  Shea butter helps heal a variety of scalp problems, including dry scalp, psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.  Shea butter protects hair from weather damage caused by wind, humidity, and extreme dryness, and repairs such damage.

Because it’s rich in moisture and can shield against harmful ultraviolet radiation, shea butter protects hair from sun damage.  If your hair has endured chemical treatments, hot irons, and blow-dryers, shea butter can restore its moisture and vitality.

Why Use Shea Butter for Hair Care?

As it is full of minerals, vitamins, moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, shea butter’s benefits for hair are many. Its anti-inflammatory properties heal damaged scalp and help clear any infection. It works well against dandruff too. It can do wonders for hair that has been damaged by excessive coloring and blow-drying. It also helps to de-stress hair that has been affected for too long by pollution. Damaged and brittle hair can be conditioned and revitalized by its moisturizing properties. It soothes and softens dry hair. As it is light and non-greasy, it can also be applied as a leave-in for hair. This will help to shield hair by locking or concealing hair moisture. Besides being great for dry hair, it helps to nourish normal hair and it’s non-greasy, easy spread property helps to control excess moisture in oily hair. Its use for hair growth is quite popular due to its rejuvenating minerals and vitamins.

Try this Shea Butter Recipe

100 gr Shea butter (I used refined shea butter, if you have unrefined shea butter it’s even better!)
20 gr Apricot kernel oil (or any light and easily absorbing oil)
40 gr Corn starch (this helps in feeling little bit less oily on the skin, but of course, since this butter is made 100% by butters and oils and there is no water inside, the buttery feeling cannot disappear)
20 drops Lemongrass essential oil
10 drops Rosemary essential oil
(this was my own choice of essential oils: lemongrass to feel fresh and rosemary for the antibacterial properties that, since this butter was meant for foot, were quite needed for a good results)

HOW TO:
- Simply melt the Shea butter in a double boier (not completely, just melt half of it and let the remaining heat melt the rest. This way all the good properties of Shea butter won’t fade away!).
- Add the apricot kernel oil
- Whip the oils, as if you were whipping some cream
If the oils are too hot you can whip them, put them in the fridge for few minutes, whip them again… until you are satisfied with the consistency.
- When the oils are properly whipped and they have cooled down you can add your essential oils and the corn starch!
- Mix all the ingredients with a spoon
- Put them in a jar

Source¹ Source² Source³

About Jenell B Stewart

Jenell Stewart MS, the founder and editor in chief of the award winning website KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com dedicates most of her free time educating and uplifting women with natural hair by way of her extremely popular website and YouTube channel. Jenell has been featured in Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise.com, and starred on the Dr.Oz television show as a Beauty Expert. In 2012 she was named one of Essences top Instagramers and that same year KinkyCurlyCoilyMe won an award for “Favorite Website” of the Natural Hair Community.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697955933 Undine NapturalBeauti Hunt

    My hair loves Shea Butter, and I love that I make my own whipped Shea Butter mixture now!! I’m truly loving my natural hair journey and I’m also a product junkie, especially if the product has Shea Butter in it, I’m definitely buying it! :)

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      I love me some shea butter too! Exactly why my favorite product line is SheaMoisture!

    • http://www.naturallycurly.com/ blessed_coils

      This is definitely me…lol. I love Shea butter, I first got introduced to it in 2005, I had a terrible dog bit on my leg and it left this ugly scar. So I used raw Shea butter and it has blended the scar into my original complexion n

  • http://yepthisishowifeel.blogspot.com/ ahutton61

    I love it also and have created my own hair and body butters from it. I ordered a butter trio shea-mango-coco and will soon be making even more wonderful butter products as Christmas gift for my Mother, Daughter and Sisters this year. My favorite is a mix of shea, coconut oil and castor oil. I call it my coco-shea mix and it is wonderful. I have stopped using curl gels because a little aloe water spritz to my hair in the morning and followed by a leave-in and my coco-shea mix gives me the same results and I have 4b-c hair!

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      You go girl! I love when people learn their hair.

  • Elaine B.

    How do you store your mixes? Great article by the way.

  • Danielle Benson

    I use shea butter as well. Not just on my hair but my skin as well! Its just an all aorund great product :)

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      Amen!

  • http://www.facebook.com/glamshelly Shelly-Ann Elizabeth Cameron

    I suffer from eczema and gave up on doctors. Shea butter mix with coconut oil and aloe Vera gel is my savior. Visit my blog http://www.glamnaturallife.com

    • 1Sewwhat

      Omg, seriously? I had a really bad allergic reaction that triggered my eczema. Eczema that hasn’t reared its ugly head since I was a child. I am running out to get my shea buter NOW! Thank you!

  • Kendra

    Man this post makes me want to become a mixtress in the kitchen!!! I have made some cool recipes but for some reason I haven’t really tried any of them yet :( I am a 4a with really springy, very fine and very porous curls and I know my hair LOVES Shea butter. I got some unrefined Shea butter when I was in Nigeria with my family and I’ve used it a couple times on some twist outs and I definitely use SheaMoisture products as well.

  • Kendra

    Jenell, where do you buy your refined Shea butter from? Or do you know of any good stirs/websites where I can stock up?

  • cb

    mango shea butter mix is good for the skin…my hair is extremely thin, fine for shea butter…but mango is perfect

    • Kameeka Burke

      mango butter is nice, i whip it with shea and illipe butter. its a very good mixture

  • Anita

    I am currently using a shea butter mix, it works great on my hair but my face will break out…can suggest any other moisturizers?

  • shenika

    I love shea butter! it is something I will always have around in my collection of hair goodies. Thanks for suggesting corn starch to make it less oily, I never thought of that! Check out my post on how much I love shea butter and the new butter in my life lol x

    http://sheni-kare.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/i-cheated-on-my-first-love-butter-love.html

  • http://www.ugochi-jolomi.com/ Ugochi

    Thanks a lot Jenell, but I have a few questions. Is Shea butter a good product for hair conditioning as in steaming? Have you written any post on various ways we can use the product?

  • SistaWithCurls

    Thanks for the infor.

  • queenbee9

    A moisturizer contains WATER. NO OILS ARE MOISTURIZERS. NONE. IMPOSSIBLE.

    Moisturizers are water suspended in oils and conditioners so that the water in them is released at a slower rate along with things to soften hair or skin (emollients and conditioners)
    Does Shea Butter contain water? NO? Then it is not a good moisturizer.

    Shea Butter is a good emollient (hair softener) , a great sealer, and a great conditioning oil but it is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER a moisturizer. Use it mixed with other oils or conditioning products to impart luster or sheen or softening agents but NEVER try to use it to replace water–it is not possible.

    • Marcia Lissemore

      I used it after spraying my hair with water to hold the moisture in.

      • queenbee9

        Excellent!

        • Marcia Lissemore

          Thank you. How’s your journey going?

          • queenbee9

            Short answer: fine.

            Long answer:

            It has been very interesting as I continually consumer test products and product combinations. My hair is at BSL length despite a lot of shedding which I attribute to stress (I am constantly working and traveling and rarely take time off)

            I have found the shedding reaches a plateau when I take multivitamins and minerals (especially B12 and iron) but unfortunately, I often miss those vitamins when I travel and forget to repack them then the shedding starts back up.

            My hair still appears thick but what makes it interesting is that my hair has undergone typing changes. I started my natural hair journey in 2003 and grew my hair to below my navel (what is called waist or almost hip length) by 2010. I did not know my texture or type back then, I just kept it in braids, washed it, pressed it and returned it to braids and of course measured it every time the extensions came out and after it was pressed.

            I had NO IDEA from that regimen what my natural hair looked like or how it shed.

            The reason is this: when your hair is in braids for months at a time, the shedding which would seem excessive if at once appears acceptable because it is over 4 or 5 months. (Yes I kept the braids in that long).

            I did not go without braids until Oct 2010 when I decided to get my hair relaxed for a change. BIG MISTAKE. I went from very long hair to hair to my BSL and in Sept of 2011 decided to stop the relaxers at least in theory I stopped. I texlaxed the front portion (my bangs so I could wear weave ponytails) in Dec 2011 and by March 2012 I had rededicated myself back to natural hair but this time, no pressing.

            WHY ? I started watching youtube vids about hair in Feb 2012 and was curious about the hair on my head. I got my first relaxer when I graduated from high school but before then, I got a “hard press” which lasted for about 2 weeks back then so I still had no idea what my natural non heat trained/damaged hair was REALLY like.

            It has been an education. The front was coily and was 4a, the top or crown would be described as 4b and the back was 3c with large, silky coils.

            Then the front turned to larger coils, the top got more cottony and the coils in the back degenerated over time to s waves. Weird.

            I blame it on the henna which I had heard could affect the curl pattern.

            I began using henna in place of protein treatments due to the reaction I had to protein treatments and I stopped with almost all extensions when I started breaking out on my scalp and neck and back every time I wore synthetic or so called “remy” hair.

            I can wear no synthetic hair of any sort now and human hair or what cost hundreds and is sold as human hair does not get along with my hypersensitive scalp–even the thread used to sew in weave causes my scalp to break out, replete with itching and burning.

            NOW.. WHY if I have hair to my bra strap would I want to wear weave or extensions? Less manipulation which I believe (and still believe) is the key to hair length retention and laziness.

            I like the ‘grab and go ” technique. since I used to do hair, I no longer want to play with my own hair or anyone’s for that matter. I like healthy hair but am too busy to spend or devote hours a day to my hair regimen.

            So the henna was for conditioning and hair strengthening and the extensions were to give my hair a break. I started extensive shedding in 11/2013 after having been in braids for 3 months. this was not simply a few hair–I was pulling long strands from my scalp 10 to 30 at a time from one twist.

            SCARY? Yes in a way, but the funny thing is, I would often go MONTHS with no hair shedding at all–not the daily 100 or even the daily 30. I would often comb my hair and never find a single strand so it is like my hair released these strands all at once. My hair does not seem thinner or shorter BUT it also appears to not have grown very much.

            In 2013, I did the last of my minichops finishing up with a bc of cutting 4-7 inches all over my head to get rid of all traces of relaxer, and then I was still trimming because my ends seemed to be straight still. My hair ended up as APL after all those chops in the back and to the bridge of my nose in the front.

            Then a funny thing happened in 2013.. after using henna just 3 times, my curl pattern changed.

            1. The coils in the back which were magic marker size, became long S curls still silky but no more coil.

            2. The hair in my crown went from a good, strong 4 b to s waves also but cottony and now that hair is almost straight –NOT SILKY STRAIGHT. It is POOFY BUT ALMOST COMPLETELY STRAIGHT. After a shower, you can glide a comb through it and to get definition, I have to braid it or twist with product–Gel now makes my former 4b hair coil into ringlets but I hate gel.

            3. I have very fine hair–individual hairs used to feel like cobwebs now they can feel very defined in places and like thread. This is not all over. I have a mixture of thick strands and very, very fine strands

            4. My 4a front has also straightened and now my wonderful 4a cols are just crinkles.

            If you individually strand test my hair, it looks like it has multiple personalities: the strand will be straight with one large coil then some deep wave crinkles, then straight then a large curl.

            it is as if it never decided what to be when it grew up.

            When I wet my hair, it lays in waves, the dries poofy except the very back which dries silky and with waves.

            so now the front appears to be 3c-4a, the crown is 4a and something else (because there is very little curl and it does not kink, I am not sure what to call it)

            The very back is 3a and looks like it should be on someone else’s head.

            Now, I am going to have test locks put in and am considering sister locks. My goal is less maintenance, and a healthy scalp.

            Right now the shedding has really decreased but I still am unsure what caused it in the first place or even if it was natural– I had a sew in a month ago and the THREAD burned my scalp causing it to break out. How do I know the thread did this–because after the weave was out and my scalp was still burning and itching, we did a search and destroy and every where it burned, we found bits of the thread used in the sew in. a week later, after numerous washings, I took a bit of the thread and put it on my scalp–within about 10 minutes it was stinging and burning and where it lay was a red welt on my scalp .

            I laid normal sewing thread on my skin also and go no reaction. I then tried to put a piece of the Remy hair on my scalp–same thing, though it took 30 minutes before it showed up–a red welt–synthetic hair–a larger welt and faster.

            so I have concluded that protective hair styles that involved hair added to my own is not for me but my hair alone would require greater manipulation so I am considering sister locks.

            My scalp is still very sensitive and I have to be careful what hats I use and what products. I used to swear by JBCO now it breaks me out if used alone or as the dominant oil. Shea butter does not have this affect but it does seem to make my hair LESS pliable so I have to use it in moderation.

            right now, I am back to what works well, water, a cermide, a moisturizer and then a sealing oil–a very light touch while my scalp and hair reach an equilibrium.

            My hair grew from APL to BSL by May of this year (so in about a year) but that was only about 4.5 inches of growth which means I have not retained my normal length (I grow about 6 to 8.5 inches each year on my own head).

            On the up side, the scalp reactions and the shedding have allowed me to free myself from use of many products and techniques and this has caused me to concentrate on MINIMAL product and manipulation techniques which not only saves money and time but allows hair to do its own thing without too much manipulation.

            In the end, THAT is a very good thing.

          • Marcia Lissemore

            Good to hear the vits are helping, but it mist be a pain keeping on top of it all. I hope you get some ease for your scalp. Have you tried conditioning with T-Tree or Clove oil, or having more vitamin E in your routine. That should help your scalp a bit. What are sisterlocks like? Never seen in it real life only heard people say they’ve had then or having them done?

            My hair’s getting on my nerves. I’m not sure if stress is a factor in mine as well. The first 3 cycles of challenges I’ve done I had amazing growth. I had a mid chop in October last year, and the time it’s grown back to nearly the same length has been slower than I thought it would. Last challenge I had sections that hadn’t grown at all and some that were very little growth, whereas other areas have grown nicely. I have combination hair about 4 different textures so I’m thinking the different hair typed sections have grown differently. I put on the same amount of oils on my hair in exactly the same way, an yet my hair growth last C.O cycle hadn’t grown much at all different.

            This cycle I haven’t been well and currently on medication and my hair has shed so much it’s crazy..

          • queenbee9

            Marcia: Normally, hair has staged growth (which means it grows, stops and sheds at timed intervals) but there are several factors that can disrupt this cycle if they change:

            1. Weather–very cold or hot temperatures can cause shedding to occur or slow growth. wind can damage hair by lifting the cuticle which allows damage to occur INSIDE the hair

            2. Nutrition–we need water inside as well as out–too little can cause our hair to go dormant or get brittle. Hair is a repository for chemicals we use (like drugs or alcohol or food) some combinations can stunt hair growth

            3. Mechanical–if we change up what we do or use blow dryers (damaging like the wind) or heat or too much comb manipulation all these things can affect the hair

            4. Water–water used to wash hair as well as what we drink can affect hair shedding and growth.

            I have used Vitamin E but you have to be careful with that because too much vitamin E used on the scalp can cause hair loss. It is best taken internally.

            I have used teas and garlic–garlic oil works very well but when you use it, you are sort of super stinky for a while.

            I think my hair experienced a high shock this past winter when we had crazy freezing weather (A lot of people I know are actively shedding since last year) that, and my diet which has more requirements since I am menopausal (hormones have a MAJOR impact on hair condition and shedding.

            I may be losing a lot of estrogen which would cause hair loss but I do not wish to take Hormone replacement therapy.

            Sooo.. My shedding reminds me of Janell’s description of her hair loss which may be related to hormonal fluctuation.

            It is a lot less than it was> If hair has entered a dormancy period (where it seems not to grow) this may be a great time to simply hair products and techniques, put it in a long term protective style and make sure to drink plenty of water and take a good, strong multi vitamin.

            It is a lot easier to figure out what is going on if you can already say: nutrition, and mechanical issues, and weather are already taken care of. Because I did not notice shedding until Jan of this year, ,I was behind in determining the cause –now I am playing catch up but my goal is total health, so that if there are hair issues or hormonal issues, I can see them for what they are.

    • itsallinmyhands.com

      Indeed.

    • Courtney

      And where exactly did you get this definition of a moisturizer? Because I could of sworn an oil is a moisturizer…its exactly a synonym of the word moisturizer.

      • queenbee9

        From my cosmetology class. (Dudley grad and state board licensed as of 2000) An oil is an emollient . “If You love it, It willgrow” by Dr. Phoenix Austin ( pages 99, 102, 107- 114.) “The Science of Black hair” by Audrey Davis- Sivasothy (pages chapters 5 -7) and finally my Dermatology Te and teach ology course work, IS 1983.

        There are other books which provide the definitions of miisturizer, oils and perms vs relaxers.

        Actual knowledge and study will almost always trump colloquial and/ or anecdotal infirmation, no matter how prolofic. Please excuse my typos, I am on my cell phonr.

  • Marcia Lissemore

    Thanks for the recipe Jenell, I’ll have to give that a go one day :-) . It’s totally different to the one I make, as I make them custom tailored to my hairs needs at the time.

    • itsallinmyhands.com

      This is not a good recipe.
      The recipe is mine and she posted it without even checking the mistakes which I mentioned at the end of my post.
      It takes some days and then it becomes solid again because it is not well balanced with oils and butter.
      The thing is that after this recipe I started making real creams and that’s why I never corrected it (because, as queenbee9 underlines just under this post: shea butter alone is not a moisturizer. Water and butters need to be emulsified, therefore making a cream, to actually be moisturizing).
      Sorry for the inconvenience.

      • Marcia Lissemore

        Hi there, thanks for posting. I didn’t notice it till just now. And you’re both right I already know it’s not moisturising on it’s own, I’ve always used shea butter in the screams that I make to seal my hair. And I still haven’t tried the recipe yet and would probably tweak it anyway as it didn’t mention a stabilizer. I’ve been making my own hand moisturising creams and lotions for the past few months. So looking back on it now a lil wiser, I’d have realised it wouldn’t work anyway. Everyone knows oils and water can’t mix, so it would need a bonding agent. It’s like the first time I made one of my creams, I didn’t quite get the balance right, and it was fine when it was in a colder environment; but when it got warmer the water started to separate. I love the picture you have for it, looks so lovely and fluffy. That’s what drew my attention to it. It’s still on my list of things to do, so I still will give it a go and adjust it a little. Thanks for the inspiration though hun, nice of you to share your work :-) .

  • https://www.facebook.com/yasmine.amaya Yasmine Amaya

    Just bought some shea butter , I’m going to try this next

  • itsallinmyhands

    Sorry but you think that copying a recipe of someone else and post it as if it was your own (just adding it as “third source” and without even mentioning whose recipe you are using) is ok?
    This is not a correct behavior.

    You even used the picture without asking.
    Shame on you.

    • Read.

      She linked the sources underneath the recipe. Try fully reading the article next time.

      • itsallinmyhands

        Apparently you tell others to read but you couldn’t bother reading within my brackets?
        It was just on the second line of my post… :D :D :D
        That was funny :D
        Have a good day! :D

  • http://www.rawdahnatural.com Imani

    Try this Shea Butter Blend. It contains shea butter, black seed oil, jojoba oil, neem, olive oil and more. Whipped to silky perfection this union of pure, raw, unrefined shea butter and black seed oil with its well known attributes pair up to give you an emollient cream unlike others. http://rawdahnatural.com/product/shea-butter-black-seed-herbal-blend-4-oz-jar-vanilla-coconut/