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What Are the Benefits of Shea Butter for Hair?

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  • Written By: G. D. Palmer
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Shea butter is a thick fat that has been extracted from shea tree nuts. This oily substance contains several fatty acids and vitamins that can provide extra moisture for human skin, hair and fingernails. Many cleanser, lotion, conditioner and hair treatment manufacturers use shea butter to reduce the drying action of their detergent ingredients. Pure shea butter for hair or products that contain this fat can benefit hair by improving its texture and shine.

Dry hair occurs when the strand does not retain enough moisture, which usually is in the form of oil. Low-moisture hair is less shiny than normal hair. It is often rough, brittle and prone to easy breakage.

Hair can become dry through use of harsh soaps, hair products that have a high level of alcohol content or heat-based hair treatments, such as flat-ironing, curling or blow drying. People who live in areas where there are low humidity levels might also suffer from dry hair. Some health conditions, such as anorexia nervosa or thyroid imbalances, might cause hair to become dry or brittle. Shea butter for hair can help when the problem is related to the environment or hair care methods. Health-related hair dryness requires a doctor's attention.

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The nut and fruit of the shea tree are about 50 percent fat and contain several oily components that don't turn into soap when treated with alkaline chemicals. Soap and shampoo made with shea butter retain more moisturizing properties than cleansers made with other types of oil. This fat also has a low melting point, allowing it to absorb into skin and hair without leaving the greasy residue that is often associated with oil. Shea butter contains vitamins E and A, which can improve skin health and reduce the appearance of scars.

Shea butter for hair works both as a leave-in treatment and as a deep conditioner. Deep shea butter treatments require massaging the oil into the scalp, then combing it through the hair. Applying a hot towel over the oiled hair can improve absorption. Deep shea butter treatments can last for a few hours or overnight, but they require thorough washing to remove the excess oil.

Leave-in shea butter hair treatments use far less oil. This hair oiling technique involves lightly oiling the fingertips, then brushing them through clean, dry locks. The dry hair absorbs the shea butter on contact, improving shine and flexibility. Using too much shea butter for hair treatments of this kind can cause a heavy, greasy look. Combing or brushing the hair after applying shea butter distributes the oil more effectively and improves overall hair texture.

Hair products that contain shea butter might provide extra benefits over shea butter alone. They tend to cost less because they use a lower percentage of this oil. Some products contain only a small percentage of shea butter. Conditioners and other treatments that have a reduced shea content might produce inferior results, because they often rely on cheaper oils as filler.

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Heavanet
Post 3

@talentryto- You can get the benefits of shea butter when you use a shampoo that contains it. This type of product is less likely to give your hair a weighed-down appearance than when you use shea butter conditioners and treatments. Skip them, and stick with shea butter shampoo instead for the moisturizing effects without the excess oil.

Spotiche5
Post 2

@talentryto- When you do use a shea butter treatment on your dry hair, rinse it thoroughly to remove excess oil. This will give you the benefits of the shea butter without the greasy look that could occur if you leave excess amounts on your hair.

Some shea butter products are available as leave-in conditioners. These products are great for dry hair, but they definitely can give your hair an oily appearance. If you have your heart using on this type of shea butter treatment, be sure to blot it thoroughly with a towel after you apply it. This will help to rub it into your hair while also removing excess oil that could cause your hair to look greasy.

Talentryto
Post 1

I'm looking for a good treatment for dry hair, but my hair is thin and has the tendency to look even thinner when I use heavy hair products. Shea butter sounds like what I need though to help my dry hair problems. Other than not using too much and combing it through my hair, what else can I do to get the benefits of shea butter without the unattractive effects?

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