If I were forced to make a choice of only one hair and body care product to use for the rest of my life, shea butter would be it. Shea butter is a miracle ingredient, and if its uses were tallied up they’d number in the hundreds.
While there hasn’t been a lot of research to back up many of the claims of shea butter benefits, there is no shortage of folk wisdom and testimonies singing its praises. And really, in a world of cosmetics laden with synthetic ingredients, finding a pure ingredient is a beautiful thing, especially when it happens to be so effective for so many women.
Shea butter is extracted from the nuts of African karite trees (Vitellaria paradoxa), a species that grows from Guinea and Senegal to Uganda and South Sudan. Shea butter has long been used for health and cooking in Africa and is also an ingredient in a number of confections, especially chocolate; but its latest role is as the new darling of the beauty world.
According to the American Shea Butter Institute, the moisturizers in shea butter are the same ones that are produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands, making it one of the best matches for dry skin. After a nice warm bath, I like to apply shea butter to my skin while still damp to lock in the moisture.
1. Make your hair happy
Shea butter is used in many hair care products for its ability to seal in moisture, define the curl, condition the scalp, alleviate dandruff, and decrease frizz. The hair butters and creams that work the best in my hair contain shea butter, without a doubt. Try out my DIY shea butter recipe that I use to moisturize my hair.
- 1 container raw shea butter
- 1 cup pure coconut oil
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/4 cup castor oil
Shea butter is said to protect and soothe the lips. Apply several times a day and smooch frequently to test its efficacy.
3. Fade stretch marks
As a mom of two, stretch marks are what I call my battle wounds. While a lot of people advised me to use cocoa butter to fade my stretch marks, I’ve found much better results by using shea butter. Its abundance of vitamins and healing agents really soothe and rejuvenate the skin.
4. Repair cracked heels and troublesome cuticles
If you are suffering from painful cracked heels, shea butter solves the problem. After my shower, I massage shea butter to my feet while still damp to lock in the moisture. For heels that are particularly bad, apply shea butter before bed and slip into cotton socks for the night.
There are unlimited hair and body recipes with shea butter that you should try and I promise your hair and skin will thank you.