Shea butter is a staple for many natural hair women because it helps seal in moisture and softens the hair.
It’s important to note that shea butter is NOT a moisturizer.
Because it’s made up of butters. Butters seal water into the hair, but they don’t hydrate it.
So if you are only using shea butter, you are simply coating your hair with butter, but your strands are still dry. It may feel moisturized for a day or so, but it’s deceiving.
Always Apply After a Water Based Moisturizer
To really get the most out of shea butter, you want to make sure you have recently applied a water-based moisturizer (or plain water). Check the ingredients. If water is not the first or second one, it’s not a true moisturizer.
(Learn how to properly moisturize your natural hair.)
Shea Moisture makes really great moisturizers and you can find them at Target and Walgreens. The products are also very economical.
I like to moisturize my hair at night. I spritz my hair with water (moisture) and then re-twist my hair with shea butter on my fingers.
The shea butter acts as a sealant to keep the water in so when I take my twists down in the morning, they are soft and moisturized.
Unrefined vs. Refined
You can buy shea butter in two forms: refined and unrefined. Unrefined is the purest form and is best for your natural hair.
The refined version eliminates the natural scent that some find unpleasant, however it does dissipate quickly and doesn’t bother me.
You can buy shea butter at your local beauty store, but you can get it much cheaper online at Amazon or other online stores. Many of the local beauty stores charge way too much for unrefined shea butter.
I try to avoid buying natural hair products from local beauty supply stores because they normally raise the prices too much.
As a side note, local beauty supply stores are losing business because so many women are now going natural and purchasing products online. So I’m finding they are raising prices in order to keep profits up. I also don’t always trust that their products are truly natural, even when labeled as such.
How to Make Whipped Shea Butter
When combined with natural oils, shea butter can make a rich, nourishing sealant for your hair. Here’s how to do it…
- Put about 5 tablespoons in a bowl.
- Place some water in a teapot and let it boil and steam on the stove. The steam is going to soften the shea butter.
- When the steam comes out of the pot, place the bowl with shea butter near the steam to slowly melt/soften it. Don’t use a microwave to soften because it will strip the nutrients.
- Add a couple of teaspoons of your favorite natural oils to the bowl (see the benefits of various oils here)
- Use a hand mixer to blend/whip the mixture until it’s the consistency you want.
- If it’s too thin, add more shea butter. If it’s too thick, add more oil.
Congrats! You now have a long-lasting mixture you can use to seal and soften your hair! Place in an air-tight container so the shea butter stays fresh.