Welcome to the wonderful world of Shea butter! That white gunky stuff is to black hair what money is to a gold diggah, our hair needs it and needs it now!Lol.
Ok pardon the drama in the opening sentence but I kid you not. I have been using Shea butter (pure and unrefined) for the past two months and I can already see the change. My hair is softer and less crunchy after washing (I have natural hair btw). But think about it, if it can work wonders for my kink then it surely shall be magical for your straight tresses too. 🙂
Firstly what is Shea butter?
Shea is a natural fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. It is mostly found in the Savannah regions of West and Central Africa. Shea is an all purpose fat, it can be used in cooking, hair care and skin care products. Shea butter’s strength is in its moisturizing property. Unlike most fats it melts readily into the skin and does not leave you feeling greasy. In it’s natural unrefined form it has a bit of a stink though the stink disappears a few minutes after application. The more refined the butter is the more the likelihood of losing vitamin potency so its best to try buy unrefined Shea butter.
For the past month I have been using a Shea butter and Olive oil rich body butter I bought from Woolworths and my skin has never been so itch free, moisturized and happy.
Mind you this stuff is expensive and rightfully so because its absolutely luxurious on the skin.
For my hair I opted to go for some odorless pure unrefined Shea butter that I ordered from the UK-absolutely ridiculous that I had to buy something produced in Africa overseas! I am yet to find a local retailer that sells it here in Botswana.
I started by mixing it with some olive oil and coconut oil but I found that my scalp tends to get very itchy when I used coconut oil (it is not pure coconut oil so that could be the cause of my itchiness) so I eliminated it from my mix. The olive oil was also eventually eliminated because despite being good to my hair it left my hair slightly oily which I don’t like. So now I use the Shea butter alone which works well for me.
UPDATE: I now mix the shea butter with pure coconut oil and castor oil. To melt it I put my jar of butter+oils in a bowl of hot water straight from the kettle or microwave it for 30 seconds or so. I apply it to my ends after applying my homemade leave in to my hair. I no longer apply the shea to my scalp.
After I wash and condition my hair I pat it lightly with a towel but not too much, it should remain damp. I then separate my hair into sections and braid it, making sure to rub some Shea into the hair section I have parted and on to my scalp too. I tend to do this in the evenings so that I can wrap my head in a silk scarf and let it dry overnight while I sleep. My hair is always extremely soft in the morning and remains so throughout the week till the next wash. It is best to apply the butter when your hair is damp because the Shea helps to keep the moisture in therefore making it soft. If you wait till it’s dry, your hair will not soften up much. My hair then stays slightly oily for the next 2 days but then it subsides and is a joy to work with for the rest of the week. It also eliminated all my dandruff issues, if you have a big problem with dandruff you might want to try Shea butter, simply magical I tell you.
You can use it on relaxed hair in the same manner, apply it to your hair when it’s damp and be sure to apply it to the ends seeing as these are the most fragile parts of your hair. Shea will help reduce split ends and repair damaged hair.
There are many Shea butter recipes you can try online, click here for a simple one using olive oil as the only other ingredient.
Happy Shea buttering!! 🙂 lol!