Shea Butter: What's The Buzz?

It seems as if everywhere you turn, products have Shea Butter in them. You can't pass down the beauty isle without spotting some new (and old) products labeled "Shea Butter" this-Shea Butter that (LOL). For many, the boom in the usage of Shea butter may be revolutionary, but Shea Butter is far from recent discovery-It has been used for centuries by our ancestors in Africa.

Only found in the tropics of Africa, Shea butter is extracted from nuts of the Shea-Karite tree. It is a slightly yellow or ivory colored natural fat that provides healing qualities that rejuvenates and moisturizes the skin and hair. Most commonly used as a cosmetic, shea butter is also edible and customarily used as a cooking oil.

So with all of the products out there that boast the benefits of Shea Butter ingredients, how do you tell which products are really providing the true benefits? Moreover, how does Shea Butter help the hair? I'll break it down for you.

How Does Shea Butter Benefit The Hair?
Shea Butter is an excellent moisturizer that protects and heals damaged hair without clogging pores. It combats dryness, brittleness and works wonders for dry, itchy scalp. While it can be used on any texture, it is especially great for curly hair which is naturally dry. Shea Butter has unlimited usage- it can be used as a conditioner, deep conditioner, leave-in, styling aid, moisturizer, on the scalp-the list goes on and on.

How Do You Know Which Products Are Best?
Unfortunately, all Shea Butter products are not created equal. Even more unfortunate, many marketers are merely adding small amounts of Shea Butter into products and slapping the Shea Butter label on it. So the best way to gauge how much Shea Butter is in a product is to read the ingredient label. Ingredients are listed in order from the most to the least so if Shea Butter is listed as one of the first few ingredients then it's more likely that the product will provide a greater benefit of Shea Butter.

Mix Your Own Shea Butter Recipes
If you're a mixologist or just give up on trying to find great pre-mixed Shea Butter products? Make your own. Since Shea Butter is an excellent deep conditioner, one of my favorite concoctions is Shealoe-a mixture of 100% Shea Butter and Aloe. I use this as a conditioner for my hair and skin. I also use it as a styling aid.

-Use equal parts Shea Butter and Aloe
-Break up the Shea Butter into small pieces
-Whip in a large mixing bowl or blend with a mixer until you get a smooth consistency
-If necessary, play around with measurements to get desired texture
-Optional: add olive oil or extract like vanilla or peppermint
4 Responses:

My local beauty store sells pure shea butter- Is it okay to use straight out of the jar? B/c I know me and unless I intentionally set time aside I doubt if I'll use a blender, lol.

Yes, I usually use mine straight out of the jar and apply it directly to my hair. I only use the mixer when I want to make the Shealoe, but it is not necessary. You can also mix it by hand...It's a matter of preference.

Ooh, thanks! I love Aloe Gel and I love Shea butter. Never thought of mixing the two. This is going to be my weekend project.

What's more important is if it's Fair Trade. If I don't see the label, I start thinking, "Did the women who actually spend their day extracting the butter from the nut get paid first? Or did they get shafted like so many others do?"
That's why I only buy the straight up yellow shea butter instead of some other product that claims to have shea butter in it and it's all white!

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