Shea Butter For Natural Hair Growth | 4B & 4C Black African Hair
My Experience Using Shea butter for Natural Hair Growth | 4B & 4C Afro Hair / Black African Hair Growth
Greetings! Glad to have you on the Jostylin blog. Today’s topic is all about how to use shea butter for natural hair growth. I know this has been a long-awaited topic but I had to leave it till the right time.
I absolutely love using shea butter in my homemade hair creams and trust me, it’s absolutely worth using, especially if you have low porosity hair. The protection it gives for your hair is second to none.
In this article, I will outline all you need to know about using shea butter to grow natural hair, as well as the shea butter for hair benefits, the color of shea butter, along with my experience using shea butter for natural hair growth.
I will also add some delicious shea butter hair growth recipes, as well as some whipped shea butter recipes for 4c hair. For more homemade recipes, you can also check out my homemade deep conditioner for natural hair growth. Also, check out my article on how to grow natural hair fast if you're looking for hair growth tips.
What is shea butter?
So, just before I let you know my experience using shea butter for hair growth, I want to make sure you and I are both aligned on which Shea butter I am referring to, as there are various grades of Shea butter.
The so-called ‘shea butter’ found in many hair care products comes from the fruit of the Shea tree (also called karite or Vitellaria paradoxa ). The Shea tree is located mainly in the savannah of several countries such as the Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, or Sudan. It is considered by the aboriginal population as the most precious sacred tree. The tree can measure more than 16 meters in height, with a diameter of approximately one meter, and is a centennial tree.
As mentioned above, there are several different grades of Shea butter, and I always use unrefined Grade A Shea butter from Ghana. As I have the privilege to travel to Ghana regularly, I am always able to get the best shea butter on the market.
The Jostylin office is also based in Ghana in Kumasi so it's easy for us to get a hold of the best shea butter. However, Shea butter in Ghana is only produced in the NORTHERN regions such as Tamale, and that’s where I buy mine. I will not trust Shea butter coming from anywhere else, only from the source – Burkina Faso, Northern Ghana, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Northern Nigeria.
My Experience Using Shea butter for Natural Hair Growth
So when reading my experience using shea butter for natural hair growth, please bear in mind that everyone’s hair is different and our hair reacts differently.
When I first started using shea butter I used to blow dry my hair every week, so I never actually used shea butter as a sealant, like many other naturals did. I used it more as a moisturizer on my blow-dried hair. (You can see the video tutorial below). It worked so well for blow dried hair and completed protected it from any damage.
I also tried using shea butter on its own as a sealant when my hair was damp, but that was a big mistake. My hair tangled heavily. I experienced so much breakage that week. I thought maybe I didn’t detangle my hair enough and that’s why it didn’t work, so I tried again, and ONCE AGAIN my hair got extremely tangled by the shea butter.
I just couldn’t understand because everyone else was raving about it as a sealant on damp hair. Oh well…I guess it just wasn’t for me. This is the reason why I always say that trial and error is the best experience.
For me, shea butter only works best on my damp hair when blended into a cream formula with oils, glycerin, distilled water etc. But it works excellently as a sealant on my blow-dried hair on its own. It makes it sooooo shiny and soft. I love it!
How is Shea Butter Made – Composition and Preparation
The production of shea butter is made thanks to the nuts of the shea tree. Each town in West Africa makes different elaborations and has different recipes used throughout its history. Many even cook with it.
The production of shea butter is laborious. In Northern Ghana, the harvest of the fruits that fall to the ground is carried out only by women. During the process, women and children collect the nutty fruits and dry them. After drying, the seeds are crushed by hand first in a mortar and then grated again between stones. They are then transformed by a boiling process to a fat that will accumulate on the surface. This fat, generated after cooling, is collected and various filtrations are carried out to eliminate the impurities that may have arisen during the process.
This is the simple process with which you get the best quality butter and with the intact properties and what we call unrefined shea butter. You can watch this video for further information.
Shea Butter Look & Texture
Shea butter can be found in many different ways, either as an ingredient blended or whipped with other cosmetic products or in its pure butter form. Its texture at first is as if it were a type of wax, but when coming into contact with simply body heat, it becomes oil being so. It is a very simple and pleasant product to apply anywhere in the body that will hydrate that hair and body in an ecologically and totally natural way.
What Colour is Shea Butter?
This was one of the biggest debated topics for a while in the natural hair world – luckily we set the facts straight. Regarding its appearance, it has a yellowish-white color. Raw organic unrefined Shea butter is originally an ivory colour, but becomes yellow when the Borututu medicinal herbs are added. In Northern Ghana, it is common for the Borututu herbs to be added for healing purposes. Make sure not to confuse yellow shea butter with Kpangnan butter, which is also another kind of natural butter found in Ghana.
Different Types of Shea Butter That Can Be Used for Natural Hair Growth
To get the best shea butter for natural hair growth, we must differentiate between the 2 formats in which we can find shea butter in the market:
Shea butter unrefined
It is completely natural and untreated, it has not been blended with any type of additive that modifies its properties,for certain purposes such as the elimination of its odor. It also has no herbs added or yellowish color added to make it more attractive for commercial purposes.
Unrefined shea butter has a high content of vitamin A, so if refined, during the process, in addition to removing its color, these vitamins would also disappear. This manufacturing process is manual.
Shea butter, refined
This type of butter has gone through a process of elaboration so that some or many of its properties have been altered. It is extracted by means of solvents from petroleum. The oil that is extracted from the seeds is boiled to remove toxic solvent residues, then it is refined, bleached, and deodorized (elimination of odors).
Performing the process in this way, there will always be some remains of chemical substances, adding antioxidants or preservatives as in the vast majority of cases. As a result, we will obtain an odorless and white-colored substance that is aesthetically attractive but that will not have the benefits and properties that it naturally offers such as its capacity for nutrition, its great hydration, or its effectiveness as a healing agent.
How to Use Shea Butter for Natural Hair Growth - 4C African Black Hair
Many many complain that their natural hair won't grow past shoulders. In my opinion, this is likely because they are not sealing and protecting their hair. For example, I wear my hair in braids and I seal it with shea butter.
Using shea butter for natural hair growth, makes perfect sense, as it is used in many hair care products, because of its special ingredients that work not only protects the hair but to also restore it.
It has a soft consistency that is especially kind to the hair and skin. When added to your hair creams, it can soften and protect your hair by forming a barrier around your hair. It also has a slightly emulsifying effect, so it can help to stabilize your homemade leave-in hair creams. It is worth noting that Shea butter should not be heated much, otherwise, it will lose its ability to do its healing work.
Where to Buy Shea Butter Online
Both unrefined and refined Shea butter is sold in many online stores. You may need to contact the stores for more details on the grades of the shea butters they sell. You can also buy shea butter from black hair stores in local neighborhoods.
Vitamins In Shea Butter for Natural Black Hair Growth
Shea butter contains a number of valuable substances with nourishing and healing effects for natural hair growth. It is an excellent cell regenerator that can be applied anywhere in the hair and body and provides a large number of benefits thanks to its rich composition full of vitamins and minerals. It is very rich in vitamins A and E, which help balance, moisturize and soothe the skin and vitamin F that helps revitalize damaged hair and skin.
In addition to saturated and unsaturated fatty acids – oleic acid, triterpene alcohol, provitamin A, and allantoin and phytosterols. It also provides us with an extra dose of collagen that will help us fight against the typical signs of aging such as wrinkles and imperfections in our skin.
Shea butter is basically a triglyceride or fat that also contains an unsaponifiable portion (hydrocarbons and alcohols). It contains:
- Saturated fatty acids
- Unsaturated fatty acids
- Omega-3 fatty acids (formerly called vitamin F),
- Vitamin E,
- Beta carotene (provitamin A)
- Terpenic alcohols
The above ingredients combined make sure that the shea butter is well absorbed by the hair and skin and makes it pleasantly soft and supple.
Its chemical composition is as follows:
- Between 2% and 5% of palmitic acid.
- Between 61% and 71% oleic acid.
- Less than 1% linolenic acid.
- Between 15% and 25% of stearic acid.
- It also contains flavonoids.
- Between 5% and 15% of linolenic acid.
- It contains sterols such as spinasterol and delta7 as stigmasterol.
Shea Butter for Low Porosity Natural Black Hair Growth | 4C African Hair
Caring for hair with low porosity hair requires the use of emollients such as shea butter and oils with a firm consistency. The firmer oils are better absorbed into the hair because they contain small molecules. If you have low porosity hair, this means your hair has a hard time absorbing moisture. You can easily find out if your hair is low porosity by taking the Natural hair porosity quiz.
If the porosity of your hair is low, moisture not only has difficulty entering your hair strands, but also has difficulty leaving.
This type of hair indicates that your cuticle is tightly bound which makes it difficult to penetrate moisture and hair products. This type of hair indicates that your cuticle is tightly bound which makes it difficult to penetrate moisture and hair products.
If you fill a cup with water and place a hair strand in that cup, having low porosity means it will take 3-4 minutes for a strand of hair to sink completely
In addition to shea butter, your low porosity hair will benefit from other oils such as jojoba oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, babassu oil and mango butter. Humectants such as honey or glycerin are also great because they attract and retain moisture.
For more information on creating the best hair regimen for low porosity hair, read the article: Low Porosity Natural Hair Regimen.
How to Use Shea Butter on Hair - Whipped Shea Butter Recipes for 4C Natural Hair
When using shea butter on your hair, you're probably also curious about how long to leave shea butter in hair.
Shea Butter in Your Homemade Leave in Conditioners
Shea butter has a slight emulsifying effect, so it can therefore support the effectiveness of your chosen emulsifier, when making the best leave in conditioner for natural hair. Just so you know, an emulsifier is an ingredient that binds liquid to fat or oils. Without an emulsifier, the liquids and oils will separate).
Shea Butter Homemade Oil Mixtures
If you are making a pure fatty ointment that does not have any water-based ingredients, such as hair butters or whisked shea butter, the emulsifying action of shea butter still helps the ointment to blend well. This also means it can also aid with moisture penetration into your hair.
Shea Butter for Soothing Itchy Scalp
Shea butter has been used for centuries to soothe the itching of dry scalp. It also works well if you want too get rid of Dandruff natural black hair. It is also a great source to provide moisture for dry or damaged hair. It is usually used as a base for creams related to health and natural cosmetics and has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties.
More so, shea butter is easily absorbed in the scalp and does not clog the pores. Provides moisture from the roots extending to the ends. Therefore, it is very beneficial for hair that is frizzy, tinted, or heat treated. You can read more on itchy scalp remedies for black hair.
Recipe: Melt the shea butter on a double grill over boiling water. Once it has cooled to a reasonable temperature, it spreads throughout the hair. Apply in small quantities directly on the scalp. Rub in a circular motion. You can add drops of tea tree oil for an additional soothing sensation.
Shea Butter for Sealing Hair Moisture
As you probably know by now, many naturals use shea butter for natural hair growth as a sealant. Of course, it makes sense as natural African hair tends to be drier than any other type of hair due to its texture. Natural sebum has difficulty slipping from the scalp to the rest of the hair because of the curves or coils of black hair as it slides along the axis of the ends. Shea butter is often found in curly hair treatments, due to its moisturizing qualities .
This makes it excellent for blocking moisture without leaving hair greasy and heavy. It helps in fixing the moisture in the hair. This is fantastic to keep the hair protected against the weather when we are out in the open.
Recipe: It can be used alone or you can add it to your favorite conditioner to give it added moisture. It is also a great additive for shampoos and hair creams.
How to Use Shea Butter for Hair Growth - Shea Butter Hair Growth Recipes
It is possible to grow your 4c afro hair using shea butter. It all comes down to maintaining your strands healthily. In a nutshell, being patient and gentle with your hair. You should also know how apply the shea butter on natural hair and how to wash natural hair to prevent breakage. More so, sectioning and braiding your hair among other mentioned routines are ways to safely detangle your hair with minimal to no damage.
I'll now present you with some shea butter recipes. However, before applying any of the below recipes, ensure your hair is properly detangled. You can read this article for more information on how to detangle natural 4c hair.
Whipped shea butter recipe for breakage
If your hair is frizzy and brittle, this hair cream with shea butter is designed for you.
- Melt the shea butter and coconut oil in the water bath.
- Remove them from the heat, add the jojoba, and mix the ingredients well.
- Allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator until it hardens.
- Once hardened, beat with a hand blender until a creamy texture is obtained.
- Apply the treatment to freshly washed hair and let it work for 20 minutes at night. Then, rinse it with plenty of water.
- Shea butter recipe for styling hair
Please watch Youtube tutorial below:
Shea Butter Leave in Conditioner
- This conditioner works wonders, especially for dry hair. You need 6 grams of cetyl alcohol, 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil , 90 ml of hot water, 10 drops of rosewood oil and a tablespoon of shea butter to make it.
- First put the cetyl alcohol, grape seed oil and the shea butter in a tall container and pour hot water over it.
- Now stir until all the ingredients have combined to form a smooth mass and then let the cream cool. When it's still lukewarm, add the fragrance rosewood oil.
- You use the conditioner like any other conditioner: Massage it into freshly washed hair and leave it on for about five minutes. Then rinse the hair thoroughly with lukewarm water.
Shea Butter Hair Treatment
- This hair treatment repairs hair damage such as split ends. You will need a tablespoon of burdock root oil , a teaspoon of shea butter and three drops of ylang-ylang essential oil.
- Put all the ingredients in a container and mix them with a hand blender. The shea butter is usually a bit firm. So add some warm water. The end result should be a spreadable paste.
- Spread the paste on the ends of your hair and let it work for about an hour.
- Then wash off the paste with plenty of warm water and a mild shampoo.
Shea Butter Hair Mask Recipe
- The shea butter hair mask benefits are immense. To strengthen your hair, make a hair mask from a very ripe avocado, one tablespoon of honey, 75 grams of whole milk yogurt, 5 drops of olive oil, one tablespoon of shea butter and one teaspoon of aloe vera gel.
- To do this, put the pulp of the avocado and the other ingredients in a container and mix everything with a hand blender until the mixture is creamy.
- Massage the mask into freshly washed hair with your fingertips. Wrap cling film around your head and wrap a towel over it so the hair mask can work well.
- After about two hours, wash the hair mask thoroughly with a mild shampoo.
For more homemade recipes, you can also check out these articles titled;
- Protein treatment for natural hair
- Olive oil deep conditioner for natural hair
- Lemon juice for natural hair
- Coconut milk deep conditioner for natural hair
- Baking soda for natural hair growth
Shea Butter for Hair Loss
Before discussing how Shea butter can assist with hair loss, I think it's vital to first understand the various types of hair loss.
Hair loss due to genetic predisposition
The most common form of hair loss is hereditary hair loss (also called androgenetic alopecia). This hair loss affects almost 80% of all men and up to 40% of women. The cause is a hereditary hypersensitivity of the hair roots to the body's own messenger substance dihydrotestosterone (DHT for short).
Hair loss caused by hormones
Whether during the menopause, when taking or discontinuing the pill or during pregnancy and breastfeeding: In women, the hormones have a decisive influence on the hair structure and can cause hair loss. In these cases too, the sensitivity to DHT is hereditary, which is why one speaks of hormonally hereditary hair loss.
Hair loss from the thyroid gland
Hair loss can occur with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) as well as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) - almost every second thyroid patient, especially women, is affected.
Hair loss due to iron deficiency
The hair follicles are among the cells in the body that divide most actively. For this process they need a high proportion of nutrients, vitamins and trace elements. As with other deficiency symptoms, the cells of the hair follicles are no longer adequately supplied and gradually die off. This can then manifest itself as increased hair loss.
Hair loss due to stress
Both physical and emotional stress can cause hair loss - especially if it lasts for a long time. Women are particularly affected: 40% of women who suffer from hair loss have stress-related hair loss.
Hair loss due to vitamin deficiency
Hair loss can be triggered by a lack of nutrient absorption as a result of an incorrect or one-sided diet. Because the hair follicles on the hair roots need certain nutrients for cell division and the natural hair cycle. If there is no optimal supply of these nutrients, the growth phase is shortened and more hair falls out than it grows back.
How Shea Butter Helps With Hair Loss
There are numerous ingredients in shea butter that can help prevent (and even reverse) hair loss. The component that contributes the most is Oleic acid!
In 2009, Japanese researchers tested the effects of various fatty acids on 5-alpha reductase (5AR). This is an enzyme that plays a key role in androgenetic alopecia (AGA).
Which role exactly?
It is believed that in men and women with AGA, sensitivity to DHT (an androgen) plays a significant role in hair loss. It's not the only cause - genetics, environment, and lifestyle all play a role - but one that is easy to manipulate.
Where does DHT come from?
DHT is an androgen, which means it is a sex hormone. It is produced when testosterone (the male sex hormone) and 5AR interact.
Well, DHT is a natural chemical in the body. In fact, it's important for sexual development, and low levels can cause distressing sexual side effects (including inability to get or keep an erection and low ejaculate volume).However, people with AGA react negatively to DHT when it attaches to the androgen receptors of the hair follicles. This reaction causes inflammation, which in turn leads to the miniaturization of the follicles.
So what about this study? The researchers found that two fatty acids - oleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid - successfully inhibited the activities of 5AR and therefore decreased DHT production.
You may be wondering: "Wouldn't it make more sense to block DHT completely?" And you are right! There are a few hair loss treatments that attempt just that.
However, this can affect sex drive and quality of life. Furthermore, there are no long-term studies, which means that we don't really know what we are going to do to our body with it in the long term.
Instead of blocking DHT, it's better to reduce the enzyme that produces it. That way, DHT is still present in the body. However, the lower values pose less of a threat to the scalp of sensitive individuals. To read more on hair loss on African hair, read the article called, Afro hair Loss treatment.
If you're interested, have also written about hair transplants for those who are experiencing significant hair loss. You can read about it in the following articles; Best hair transplant surgeons for African American hair and Best hair transplant clinics in Turkey.
Apart From Using Shea Butter for Natural Hair Growth, What Are The Other Uses of Shea Butter?
Shea butter has become increasingly popular and is found in many natural hair products for black hair growth. However, for centuries, the fruit of the shea tree has been used in African villages for its exceptional healing and moisturizing properties. Even the tombs of some kings were carved with the wood of the tree, showing that the shea butter has been a fundamental pillar of African pharmacology.
In Africa, shea butter is traditionally used for skincare, rheumatism, muscle, and joint pain. Shea butter is also suitable for preventing and reversing stretch marks and for baby care. In principle, shea butter can be used wherever skin needs to be cared for, protected, or cured. This ranges from simple cosmetics for facial care (especially for sensitive skin), and to the cure of chronic, persistent skin diseases.
Shea butter also protects the skin. Wound healing is also promoted by the unsaponifiable nature and the other ingredients of shea butter. More so, itching and inflammatory reactions are alleviated.
The properties and uses of shea butter are endless. You can use it for all sorts of skin problems. Here is a selection of possible applications:
- Against skin aging – Shea butter tightens the skin.
- Regenerating and repairing of the dermis thanks to its restructuring and softening properties.
- For dry skin – especially the delicate skin on the face, neck responds to the gentle shea butter.
- For hands and fingernails after heavy use of chemical substances, soap or the likes.
- Has a calming and soothing effect on scaly skin, especially on the head, knee, and elbow.
- Softens cracked, calloused skin on the feet.
- Offers natural sun protection.
- Shea butter is also very pleasant as a lubricant for massages, especially for a foot massage.
- Even people with atopic dermatitis/psoriasis can benefit from the nourishing properties of shea butter – but should clarify the use with their dermatologist.
- It is an excellent curative and is also an effective agent against burns, scars, and bruises, thanks to its vitamins A, D, E, and F.
- Shea butter is also suitable for animals, for example for the care of dogs. It protects the sensitive paws of the dogs, especially in winter, when the road salt on the street attacks the paws.
- It contains anti-inflammatory properties capable of relieving pain due to arthritis and rheumatism.
- Can be a good nasal decongestant is applied to the lower part of the nasal passages.
- Powerful and lasting power of hydration and nutrition that will improve the elasticity of your skin due to its vitamin F content.
- Powerful anti-irritation. Very useful in the care of the most delicate skin or after shaving —in the case of men.
- It can be used on hair to give extra hydration and sun protection. It will bring volume, softness, and shine and can be applied both wet and wet.
- Balm for the most sensitive areas helping to moisturize and protect against chafing or redness.
- It is a comedogenic product, so it will not clog the pores when applied as oil. It also provides benefits in case of acne .
- Solar protection. Shea butter also protects and prevents against possible sunburn and is covering the skin with an invisible film that will prevent dehydration.
- Protection against the cold. Very effective for chilblains on the hands that are produced by exposure to intense cold or humidity and also for more sensitive parts that may require extra protection.
- Excellent results in treatments for problems of stretch marks, wrinkles, hands, or rough and / or dry heels.
- Lip repair and protector.
- Properties anti-aging because it is one of the most effective natural cellular regenerators.
- Advised its use also on the nails to improve its shine and prevent possible breakage.
- Highly recommended for pregnancy or lactation; preventing the skin from the possible and common appearance of stretch marks or also the possible formation of cracks in the chest.
- Highly recommended for athletes. It will provide extra elasticity to the skin and is recommended both before and after exercise as in this case, it will help the muscle to recover more quickly eliminating toxins and getting better drainage.
- You can also apply a spoonful of butter during a bath, giving your skin an extremely pleasant softness.
- Culinary uses. Shea butter is also edible and is used in the preparation of many foods in Africa. On some occasions, it has been used as a substitute for cocoa butter in the cocoa industry, although it should be noted that its flavor is totally different.
It should be noted that with the process described above, the pure butter will have a natural smell and also a short shelf life. Since it does not have any type of additives, the butter will lose its properties as time passes.
Can You Heat Shea Butter?
If you want to add shea butter to your homemade deep conditioner for natural hair, it is better to lightly melt it in a pan. It is also very important not to overheat it. If overheated it will not regain strength and lose some of its favorable properties. Since the melting point of the shea butter is between 28 ° C and 32 ° C degrees, you can get them soft by whisking it in a blender. If the shea butter is a major ingredient in a fat ointment or body butter, it is best to heat the whole mass only lightly.
Also, you should always add the shea butter with the cream preparation only when you have already finished melting the other ingredients (eg beeswax) and taken out of the hot water bath. When you use shea butter as a small part in a cream recipe, it melts easily during the cooling stirring process. Of course, this does not apply if, for example, beeswax or other high melting point ingredients are to be included in the fat ointment. Then the beeswax is melted with the oil, the mass is allowed to cool and the shea butter is added later.
Precautions When Using Shea Butter for Natural Hair Growth
There are people who may have problems or illnesses with a certain severity or who are persistent, such as eczema, so you should consult your doctor first.
It is also not recommended for people who are allergic to nuts.
It contains small remnants of natural latex so if you have hypersensitivity to it you must be careful when using it.
Other Best Oils for Natural Hair Growth | 4B & 4C Hair
Why not create your own natural hair products for black hair for growth? Combine shea butter with oils depending on the remedy you are after. Check out the following articles about using oils for hair growth:
For help on which essential oils can grow your hair faster and healthier, whilst preventing breakage, I have written some articles on:
- Coconut oil for natural hair growth
- Moringa oil for natural hair growth
- Olive oil for natural hair growth on black hair
- Homemade hot oil treatment for natural hair growth
- Castor oil for natural hair growth on black hair
- Hemp oil for natural hair growth
- Argan oil for natural hair growth
- Best oils for natural hair growth
- Shea butter for natural hair growth
- Best essential oils for natural black hair growth
- Rosemary oil for natural hair growth
More Information on the Best Herbal Remedies for Natural Hair Growth
- Chebe powder for natural hair growth
- Fenugreek for natural hair growth
- Ayurvedic herbs for natural hair.
- Herbal oil treatment for natural hair growth
Other Factors That Influence How to Grow Natural Hair
As well as using the right hair products, there are many other factors that influence hair growth. Proper nutrition, without doubt, can ensure our natural hair gets the minerals and nutrients it needs to grow long, healthy, and fast. Some other factors that influence hair growth include:
- If you are transitioning
- If your hair dyed or chemically treated
- Your hair's pH balance. Readee more on pH balance natural hair.
- How greasy, dry, or damaged your hair is
- Your hair's level of hydration and moisture absorption.
- How curly your hair is
- Your hairs texture
- Your hair porosity
To learn more on how to grow natural hair check out my article on how to grow natural hair long on natural hair growth tips.