Shea butter is a very good natural hair growth stimulator. The other name for it is Karite butter. Let’s take a look what that is, what’s its benefits, drawbacks, side effects and application alternatives.
Shea Butter, the Basics
It is essentially a piece of fat. The method of its creation is an extraction from an African Shea tree. The tree provides its nuts, which then are boiled and cracked. The tree provides stearic and oleic acid, which are then used to obtain Shea butter.
It is used in African cooking. When we talk about hair treatment, the general ways to apply it is using as a lotion for moisturizing and a sun block.
Shea butter incorporates some good variety of fatty acids such as stearic, politic and linolenic. Besides that, there are antioxidants. Some substances such as cinnamic acid (protects UV rays); lupeol (decreasing the pace of human aging) and triterpene (anti-inflammatory agent) are also present in shea. Shea butter is able to accelerate or decelerate the structural proteins recreation in the human body, thus protecting and strengthening scalp and hair.
There are two kinds of shea butter in the Africa. They grow on the different coasts (which are East and West). Eastern butter is a very good substance to use during massaging, and it’s more effective in treatment of different issues. On the other hand, it’s rare and therefore more expensive.
The approach of the butter extraction described at the opening of this article is not the only one method. There are others, like these. The nuts are first pressed with a press, without boiling them. This way they obtain raw shea butter without boiling the nuts. This approach gained popularity recently. These two methods are 100% natural, without usage of chemical substances. Chemicals-involved methods may not produce as pure and safe oil, but they are more effective in terms of product quantity and price.
Shea Butter Is Good for Your Hair
People always want to look for new hair treatments. Many of them are obsessed with natural hair care solutions, and they are completely right. This is one more completely natural hair treatment aid that will help you stimulate good hair growth without side effects. You can effectively deal with such problems as split ends development risk, thinning hair, excessive hair loss, dull or brittle hair.
Just apply it as a regular after-shave conditioner and it will do its job. Consider adding some other ingredients for extra functions and properties that will provide better hair care. Such as moisturizing, antifungal, nourishing ingredients. The approach of the butter extraction described at the opening of this article is not the only one method.
There are others, like these. The nuts are first pressed with a press, without boiling them. This way they obtain raw shea butter. This approach gained popularity recently. These two methods are 100% natural, without usage of chemical substances. Chemicals-involved methods may not produce as pure and safe oil, but they are more effective in terms of product quantity and price.
When you are using shea butter as a hair treatment aid, you need to consider its quality. There are quite different grades of quality that you can find available. The cheapest ones (most probably obtained chemically) have lower quality and consequently can come with potential harmful properties. If possible, you need to go for the most expensive product that you can afford. In this case wording “you get what you pay for” works 100%.
Make sure that you don’t but a lot. Because when you leave it, it ages and loses its curative abilities, and you need to aim for using new shea butter. Read the labels and buy only products where actual content of raw shea butter is close to maximum. Try not to buy from manufacturers that don’t have recognized name and good reputation.
Your scalp is quite the organ that receives the most of possible healing effects from the butter. You can handle hair growth process by using shea butter, and also – rejuvenate the scalp and follicles, thus stimulating faster hair growth and thicker hair. Do carry out procedures with shea regularly and you’ll see increased effect of its application.
There are a number of people who advocate for shea butter’s ability to even cure baldness and thinning hair by healing scalp’s structure and allowing new hair grow where they didn’t grow for some time. Some say that one week is enough to notice first results. On average, that period is 2-3 weeks.
The Application Process
The advised way to apply it is to put it to your hair after hair washing and before they dry. Add some carrier or essential oils to it, to enhance its benefits. For example, use coconut, olive or argan oil for better moisturizing and healing. When you mix one of those in, whisk it, take the mass into your hands, put to your hair and massage into whole hair, addressing the scalp the most. Do not apply shea butter on dry hair; it is important for better effects.
Additional Properties of Shea Butter
The key acids that are present in the butter the most (linolenic and stearic acids) determine its main skin healing properties. Therefore, you can treat your scalp with it, and stimulate hair growth even if hair hasn’t grown in a particular person for some time already.
You can also use it to treat other skin areas in your body to address the following: burns, arthritis, muscle soreness, over-tanning, trashes, bites, and so on.
There is cinnamic acid at some lower percentage in shea butter, but its presence is still amounts enough to be able to provide anti-inflammatory properties. You can address tumors, swelling and irritation with it.
Sun Rays Protection
UV rays can be harmful, everyone knows that. Shea butter is able to provide protection against those. It also moisturizes your hair, and thus gives additional ability to resist sun heat.
There are also anti-aging effects. Shea butter stimulates the production of collagen that is a very important thing for youngness of your skin. You can effectively treat wrinkles and prevent their appearance with it. If also provides vitamins A and E to tone up and soothe the skin.
You can use it in raw state to moisturize the skin of your baby. The butter is very soft and gentle when in this form. It is suitable to use for babies.
Moisturize your lips and protect them from dry and cold air with shea butter.
Use it during massaging. Besides lubrication of skin for massaging purpose, it will moisturize, heal and protect the skin afterwards.
Shea Butter Possible Side Effects
Up until now we took a look only at positive aspects of shea butter usage. Now we need to set out that shea butter doesn’t have any side effects in its raw state. But as you know, not all products are extracted the same way.
When we talk about cheap, low quality chemically extracted and refined product, there are some dangerous consequences of its usage. During the refining, beneficial ingredients get vanished partly, and some harmful chemical substances penetrate and stay within the product.
Hexane is one of such chemicals. You should we aware of its dangers and preferably avoid using butter that contains it.
Here are some side effects that are mostly caused by hexane: dizziness, insensibility, nausea, weakness, and migraines. Those may appear alone or together. These are short-term and immediate side effects. Remember, there is one long-lasting danger – risk of getting cancer.
Other than hexane, there is smaller but still considerable content of other dangerous substances in low-quality shea butter. They are calcium carbonate and sodium hydroxide. Those are used to provide pleasant scent to the product. For bleaching purposes, the butter is being passed through chemical filter. The risk of cancer is determined by BHT and BHA that are used to prolong effective usage and decelerate aging of the product.
The best idea is to refrain from using cheap chemical shea butter at all. You even don’t need to save money by buying cheaper one. Just don’t pay. If you want to receive alleged benefits – save the money until you’re ready to shell out for expensive naturally obtained product – preferably raw product. But it in small quantities to avoid risk of product aging.
Thus, you ensure that you’ll get all the positive properties and protection of your hair without risk of causing harm to your body.
You need to know how to tell raw shea butter from a refined one. It’s not hard. First, it’s the scent. Raw product has a good scent of nut. Additionally, there is a creamy texture. If you don’t feel any scent, or a scent that is other than nut – be sure it is a refined product.
Do not put shea oil in the fridge because it may lose its physical properties. Besides that, all the healing and treatment properties are better preserved over time right in room temperature. You can safely keep it over a couple of years such way. Don’t put the bottle under sun rays, use dark place. After a couple of years if you didn’t finish your bottle – throw it away and buy new one.
Shea Butter’s Exclusive Healing options
Soothing properties of shea butter are well known for a very long time. It has been being used to heal irritated skin and scalp, dandruff and itchiness for several hundred years already. Moisturizing is its additional property that seals the healing effect. The butter easily penetrates scalp’s pores, without further blocking them. The hair roots and follicles thus receive enough nutrients and are nourished from the deep inside. That kind of curing is very good for damaged hair.
Heat up the butter using cup or bottle put into hot water. Cool it down to a room temperature, and take it with your fingers. Apply it to your scalp, spread evenly and slowly massage into the scalp pores. For better effect mix it together with tea tree oil. That will help you treat irritation more effectively.
Different hair types and colors have different dryness and rate / level of cuticles opening, curls and waves. Shea butter is known to deal with that issue because of its emolliating features. It easily seals the moisture in the hair shaft, roots and scalp. This all contributes greatly to hair’s ability to withstand environmental impact.
Application. The butter can be used as it is, or you can mix it into your regular hair conditioner. Use it as you usually use hair conditioner. You can also add some shea into your shampoo.
Shea butter penetrates your hair and scalp, without any residues on the surface. Therefore – no greasy hair, no heaviness. But, your hair surface receives and acid film that is very good at hair protection. For example, heat protection. You can use it as a fortifying conditioner before using heat hair styling tools.
Application. As usual, heat it up and cool to the room temperature. Add some essential oil if you want. Apply to your wet hair, let it dry. Then you can use heat tools. But again, if you can – adjust those to lower temperature.
Ultra Violet Rays
There is a noticeable content of SPF in shea butter. It is quite enough to provide a healthy protection against UV from sunrays. If you color or dye your hair, this is especially important for you.
Application. Heat the butter, and cool it down, then apply to your hair evenly, massaging it in. After that you’re ready to go out – your hair is protected.
If your hair is brittle and susceptible to break, you need to soften it, and the butter is good at that here. Great moisturizing properties that will soften your hair and thus make it stronger.
Application. Use some carrier oil, like coconut oil to mix shea butter in it. Use it as a hair conditioner.
All in all, shea butter for hair is a very beneficial treatment that stimulates hair growth, provides smoothness, softness, protection from heat, UV and damage. It greatly moisturizes scalp and hair shaft.