Who does not want to have silky, soft, shiny and vibrant hair? You might have tried many home remedies and hair care products available in the market to maintain a healthy scalp and beautiful hair-but all in vain. Don’t get disheartened because there is one ingredient which will definitely give you the desired results with regular application. We are talking about none other than the Shea Butter. Shea Butter is extremely beneficial for your hair and helps to get rid of all your hair care concerns, because of its conditioning, moisturizing and nourishing properties. It is packed with nutrients which are essential to maintain healthy and beautiful hair. If you feel that your hair has become extremely dry, frizzy and difficult to manage, then Shea Butter is a must-have product in your hair care kitty. Keep reading to know more about Shea Butter and how is it beneficial for your hair and scalp.
What Is Shea Butter?
Shea Butter is derived from the seeds of the fruit of Shea tree also known as Karite tree which is the native of Africa. Shea Butter is an off-white or pale yellow triglyceride which is extracted from Shea nut. These nuts are treated to extract a light coloured fatty substance which is known as Shea Butter. Shea Butter is solid at room temperature. The hand-harvested nuts which are obtained from Shea tree are shelled, grilled and then pounded into powder and boiled in water for a couple of hours to obtain Shea Butter which is loaded with essential nutrients which enhance the beauty and health of your hair and scalp.
Linoleic acid, oleic acid and stearic acid are the main components of Shea Butter and these fatty acids easily penetrate through the scalp and nourish it from within adding strength to your strands. Shea Butter is also rich in Vitamins such as Vitamin A, E and F. These Vitamins and Fatty Acids which are present in high concentrations in Shea Butter are responsible for its moisturizing, conditioning and nourishing properties due to which it is widely used in many hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, serums, mousses etc.
Types Of Shea Butter
Shea Butter is categorized into 3 types based on the method of production
1. Raw Or Unrefined
Raw Shea Butter is light beige to creamy white in colour. It is very smooth and gets easily absorbed into the skin. Raw Shea Butter has a nutty or earthy fragrance. It is extracted in the traditional way. The hand-harvested nuts are shelled, grilled and pounded into a powdered form which is then treated in boiling hot water. During the process of boiling, the oil of Shea Butter rises to the surface which is then scooped out and cooled. The final product is Raw Shea Butter which possesses wonderful beauty benefits in addition to having the therapeutic value.
2. Cold Pressed
This is the latest and most desirable method of extracting Shea Butter as it helps to retain the nutritive value of Shea Butter. The final product is slightly lighter in colour and fragrance than the raw Shea Butter. Cold Pressing method includes extracting Shea Butter from the nut by using an expeller press in which the expeller press puts a heavy pressure on the Shea nuts and due to continuous pressure and friction, oil is expelled from the nut and the oil thus obtained seeps out of the tiny holes which do not allow any solid particles to enter. The final product is somewhat similar to the refined product but the difference being that no preservative or synthetic chemicals are used in the extraction process. The Cold Pressed Shea Butter is rich in its nutritive value.
Refined Shea Butter is the most commonly available form of Shea Butter. It is a white coloured, odourless triglyceride which is sometimes grainy in texture. The raw product undergoes the process of refinement by subjecting it to extremely high temperature, which results in loss of certain essential nutrients such as proteins and fatty acids. Preservatives like sodium hydroxide and sodium carbonate are added to this refined product to increase its shelf life. The manufacturers often use hexane to eliminate the nutty fragrance of Shea Butter. The refined Shea Butter thus obtained, is low in its nutrient value.
Benefits Of Shea Butter For Hair
Shea Butter is known as “Mother Nature’s Conditioner”, because of its ultra-moisturizing and nourishing properties. It has a supreme conditioning effect on your dry and frizzy hair. It is power-packed with minerals, catechins, Vitamins such as A, D, E and F as well as fatty acids- linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid which are essential to improve the texture and appearance of your hair as well as to maintain the proper health of your scalp. Due to its incredible beauty benefits, Shea Butter is used extensively in many hair care products. Let us elucidate on the benefits of Shea Butter for your hair.
1. Protects Hair From Damage
Excessive use of styling tools and hot, humid weather takes a toll on your hair and makes it dry, brittle and frizzy. Shea Butter adds moisture to your dry hair and helps to revive the damaged hair. Its conditioning effect makes your dull hair, more soft, smooth and manageable. With regular application you can revive your strands, thereby adding life to it.
2. Prevents Dandruff And Itchy Scalp
The anti-inflammatory property of Shea Butter has a soothing effect on the dry and itchy scalp. It has a healing effect on the itchy and irritated scalp and at the same time, won’t clog the pores. Its emollient property helps to keep your scalp moisturized and well-nourished, thereby preventing dandruff and itchy scalp. Being a natural product, it is quite safe for all hair types to be it straight, curly, coily, colour treated or dry and damaged hair.
3. Conditions Your Frizzy Hair
Shea Butter is very beneficial in treating dry and frizzy hair as it conditions your hair and makes it soft, smooth. The conditioning property of Shea Butter is also effective in detangling your hair. The role of an effective conditioner is to maintain the overall health of your hair, thereby adding strength to your strands, lubricating cuticles and preventing frizz. Shea Butter adds shine to your hair making it look shiny, vibrant and bouncy.
4. Reduces Hair Loss
Shea Butter is well known for its conditioning, moisturizing and nourishing property due to the presence of Vitamins such as A, D, E, F and fatty acids such as linoleic acid, oleic acid and stearic acid. These are known to nourish your scalp and hair as well, thereby adding strength to your strands which ultimately results in reduced hair loss.
5. Reduces The Split Ends
Shea Butter is known to be very effective in treating split ends. The nourishing property of Shea Butter adds strength to your hair, by making the hair follicles stronger. These hair follicles nourish your strands till the end which facilitates the growth process, thereby reducing split ends. The Vitamin A and E present in Shea Butter add strength to your hair, preventing breakage of hair and split ends. Shea Butter protects your strands and also repairs the damaged hair.
6. Assists In Managing The Curls
Shea Butter with its excellent emollient property is able to moisturize the curly or coily hair, which tends to become dry and frizzy very often. This is because the natural oil or the sebum finds it difficult to find its way till the end of the strands. But Shea Butter helps to keep those curls well moisturized and well-nourished. This is due to the presence of vitamins and fatty acids in high concentrations which get easily absorbed into the cuticles and Shea Butter seals in the moisture so that your curls remain hydrated for a longer time.
7. Acts As Hair Sealant
Curly Hair has the tendency to become dry and frizzy as the natural oil or the sebum is not able to reach from the shaft to the end because of the twists and turns in the coily hair. Shea Butter is known to be very effective in treating your curls because of its emollient properties. It helps to retain moisture in curly hair by sealing in the moisture without making it look greasy. It makes your hair look hydrated and more manageable for a longer period of time.
8. Protects Against UV rays
Shea Butter possesses mild SPF property which gives protection to your hair from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Its sun protection factor is 4 and to a certain extent is able to protect your hair from sun damage. It is especially beneficial for processed as well as coloured hair.
9. Protects Against Heat Damage
Excessive use of styling tools can damage your hair making it extremely dry which is more prone to breakage. Shea Butter forms a protective coating of the surface of your strands protecting them against heat damage. Its moisturizing properties help to keep your strands moisturized making it soft, smooth and more vibrant.
Uses Of Shea Butter In Hair Care
Shea Butter is well known for its conditioning, moisturizing, nourishing and healing properties due to which it is used in a wide range of hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, serums, hair creams, mousses. Shea Butter is considered to be a one-stop solution for all your hair care issues. It is always recommended to use, Unrefined A-Grade Shea Butter for achieving the desired result as all the essential and valuable nutrients of Shea Butter are retained in it. Lets us see how to use Shea Butter at home for beautiful, long and luscious hair with this DIY hair mask.
1. Shea Butter Moisturizing Hair Mask With Coconut Oil
- Take Shea Butter and Coconut Oil in the ratio of 2:1 in a glass bowl.
- Melt both the contents using a double boiler method.
- Apply the mixture evenly onto your scalp and hair and leave it for 40 minutes.
- Wash off with a mild shampoo and warm water.
2. Shea Butter Nourishing Hair Mask With Cedarwood Essential Oil
- Take Shea Butter in a bowl and melt it using a double boiler method or by heating it in the microwave for 2 minutes.
- To this add 2-3 drops of Cedarwood oil and mix well by stirring.
- Apply this mixture evenly onto your scalp as well as hair.
- Leave this nourishing mask for 1 hour and wash it off using a mild shampoo and warm water.
You can try any of these hair masks once or maximum twice a week depending on your hair type and texture. Both the hair masks are packed with vital nutrients which are required for making your hair strong, soft, shiny and vibrant.
Word of Caution
Shea Butter is generally safe for topical application. But everyone’s hair reacts differently to different products. Same is the case with Shea Butter. Whenever you purchase Shea Butter, always go for the high-quality product to reap all the benefits of Shea Butter. Raw or unrefined A-grade Shea Butter is considered to be the best Shea Butter.
But people with thin hair should use it with caution, as Shea Butter can form a thin film over the hair surface and weigh it down by making it flat or greasier. Excess of oil in your hair can also make your face oily, which may not be suitable for people who already have oily and acne-prone skin.
Raw Shea Butter has got a strong nutty smell which may not be liked by many people. To counteract this problem, you can add any essential oil of your choice and enjoy its endless benefits.
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