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  5. The Ultimate Guide For Using Shea Butter On Hair

Do you wish to transform your dry and frizzy hair to softer and smoother manes? Then you should treat your hair with shea butter!

Be it promoting hair growth or moisturizing it, shea butter has amazing benefits for your hair. In this article, we help you understand what shea butter is, how it benefits your hair and how to use it.

Read on.

Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks

Shea butter gets absorbed deep in the shaft, making it less susceptible to hygral fatigue. While on the surface, it coats and aligns the cuticle, making the hair softer and smoother.

-Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix

What Is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is produced from the oil extracted from the nuts of Shea-Karite trees [1], which are found in West Africa and the tropical forests of the East. Shea butter is known as 'mother nature's conditioner' for its exceptional moisturizing and nourishing properties.

Is Shea Butter Good For Your Hair?

Shea butter is enriched with fatty acids such as linoleic, stearic, and oleic acids, along with catechins, vitamins, and minerals [2], which have great benefits for your hair.

For ages, shea butter has been used as an important ingredient in different hair and skin care products such as hair conditioners, shampoos, and moisturizers.

Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix says, “Hair oils and butter can be broadly divided into two categories - ones that get absorbed in the shaft and the others that sit on the cuticle. Shea butter does both. It gets absorbed deep in the shaft making it less susceptible to hygral fatigue. While on the surface, it coats and aligns the cuticle, making the hair softer and smoother.”

Shea butter was used as a luxurious ingredient by ancient Egyptian queens such as Cleopatra, Nefertiti, and the Queen of Sheba. In ancient Egyptian scripts, there is a mention of caravans full of clay jars that were filled with shea butter for Cleopatra.

Shea Butter Benefits For Hair

1. Prevents Hair Breakage

Shea butter has high fatty acid content which makes it penetrate your hair easily in the oil form. It repairs damaged hair by restoring the lost protein in your hair shaft, thus, preventing hair breakage.

2. Moisturizes Dry Hair

Besides having rich essential fatty acid content, shea butter is a great source of vitamins A, E and has exceptional healing and emollient properties. This helps it control the dryness and split ends in your hair by providing a rich moisturizing effect.

3. Protects Hair From Heat Damage

Shea butter acts as a natural heat protectant by shielding your tresses from any form of heat damage [3], especially the ones caused by styling rods and blow dryers. It also gives your hair natural lustre and does not make it feel greasy.

4. Imparts Softer And Smoother Hair Texture

The protein content in shea butter fills in the gaps of the cuticle layers of your hair. This way it restores the cuticle integrity in your hair which in turn imparts a smoother and softer texture to it.

5. Treats Flaky Dandruff

Dehydration and malnourishment result in the dry scalp by shedding excessive dead skin which appears as flaky dandruff in your hair and shoulders. Shea butter helps to repair the dehydrated scalp tissue by providing it with deep nourishment and conditioning. It controls the excessive shedding of dead skin, thus, reducing the flaky dandruff condition.

6. Protects Hair From UV Radiation

Your hair gets damaged and loses its natural color when it’s exposed to the sun continuously [4]. Shea butter contains an adequate amount of SPF to protect your hair from sun damage.

7. Relieves Scalp Irritation

Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties, which help you get relief from scalp irritation and redness. It provides a healing effect on your scalp without clogging the follicles.

How Do You Use Shea Butter For Hair Growth?

1. Take a small amount of shea butter and apply it lightly onto your hair before stepping out in the sun.

2. You can add a half spoon of melted shea butter to your leave-in hair moisturizer spray and use it after your hair wash.

3. Melt a small amount of shea butter and keep it aside for cooling. Divide your hair into several sections and apply the melted shea butter to your hair roots. Massage your scalp in circular motions for a few minutes and wash your hair after half an hour. Do this once a week to treat dry and itchy scalp. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to it if you have dandruff [5].

4. Add a spoon of grape seed oil or avocado oil to a spoon of melted shea butter. Apply the mixture to your hair lightly before heat styling to protect your hair from heat damage.

5. Add a little amount of shea butter to your hair conditioner and use it to provide extra moisture and hydration to your hair.

6. Mix a spoon of melted shea butter into half a cup of carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil. Mix well and apply it to your scalp and hair thoroughly. Leave it for half an hour and then wash your hair with a mild shampoo. Do it once a week to promote rich hair growth.

7. Apply a little amount of shea butter directly to your damaged hair to repair the split ends.

A. DIY Whipped Shea Butter

Besides using shea butter in its natural state, you can also try its whipped version on your hair for easy usage. Follow the below steps to make whipped shea butter at home.

  • Place unrefined raw shea butter in a metal bowl.
  • Take another large pot with water and start boiling.
  • Now, place the metal bowl with shea butter above the pot of boiling water.
  • The shea butter needs to be heated from the steam of the boiling water below.
  • After the shea butter melts, put the metal bowl down and add a generous amount of coconut oil to it.
  • Now, begin whipping the mixture using a stand mixer for 15-20 minutes until you get the fluffy and light consistency.
  • Take the whipped shea cream in a glass container and store it in a cool dark place.

whipped shea butter

Some of you may find the aroma of shea butter a bit unpleasant. In that case, you can add a few drops of any essential oils such as lavender oil to shea butter before using it for your hair.

How Long Does It Take For Shea Butter To Work On Hair?

The time that shea butter takes to work for your hair depends upon different factors like the current condition of your hair, the frequency of its usage, the quality of the shea butter, etc. While people with normal and moderately dry hair can notice results just after one use, it may take several weeks for people with extremely dry and frizzy hair.

Vedix Tip: People with oily scalp and hair should avoid using shea butter as it makes the scalp and hair more greasy, leading to unwanted damage and hair loss.

Side Effects Of Shea Butter

By applying shea butter topically or by oral intake, some people may experience the following side effects:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Itchy rashes
  • Hives
  • Weakness
  • Headache

The side effects from shea butter are very rare to occur. However, if you experience any of the above symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shea Butter For Hair

1. What Kind Of Shea Butter Is Best For Hair?

Always prefer using shea butter that is unrefined and organic for your hair. Make sure you opt for a grade-A version of shea butter as the nutritional qualities in it remain intact for a long time.

2. How Long Should You Leave Shea Butter In Your Hair?

You can leave shea butter on your severely damaged and dry hair for 20-30 minutes in your weekly treatments. For general deep conditioning, you may leave it on your hair for just 3-5 minutes a week.

3. How Often Can You Use Shea Butter?

Use shea butter for your hair, not more than once or twice a week. Apply it after washing your hair. Overusing shea butter can make your hair feel heavy and greasy.

The Last Word

Shea butter works best for people with extremely curly or dry hair who have great moisturization needs. Avoid using shea butter if you have a hair texture that tends to build up grease and dirt. Instead, you can opt for shea oil to moisturize your hair.

At Vedix, we customize an Ayurvedic hair care regimen for you based on your hair type and its needs with the right products formulated with dosha-balancing ingredients.

Know Your Dosha Now

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