Google Header -->
Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

5 Uses and Benefits of Shea Butter You Haven’t Thought of Yet

By January 27th, 202130 Comments
5 Uses and Benefits of Shea Butter You Haven't Thought of Yet

by Veronica Jacobi via NaturalBella

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a natural conditioner for hair. It is produced from the Shea-Karite tree nut, which is a native tree found in the tropics of East and West Africa. It provides extraordinary moisturizing properties and is therefore known as “mother nature’s conditioner”.

It’s been utilized for decades in areas of Africa not only for the hair but also because of its skincare and therapeutic qualities. Shea butter is also known to heal burns and injuries, and to get rid of surgical marks, dermatitis, and stretch marks. Apart from medicinal uses, some of the most common uses for Shea butter include using as a natural moisturizer for your body and face, and as a conditioner for dry hair.

Read On!>>>

Here are some uncommon uses for Shea butter that you can start doing now:

Sooth Irritated Scalp
Shea butter has been used for centuries to sooth dry itchy scalp or dandruff on African Hair. It’s also a great source to provide moisture for dry or damaged hair. It is usually utilized like a foundation for health-related creams, and it has been believed to possess anti-inflammatory qualities. It absorbs easily into the scalp and it does not clog the pores. It provides moisture from the roots on down to the ends. It is therefore extremely beneficial to hair that is relaxed, colored, or heat-treated.

How to Use It:  

Melt down Shea butter in a double broiler over boiling water. Once it has cooled to a reasonable temperature, spread onto your fingertips and apply in small amounts directly onto your scalp. Rub in circular motion. You can add drops of tea tree oil for an extra soothing sensation.

Sealant for the Hair
Black hair has the tendency to be dryer than any type of hair due to the texture. The natural sebum from the scalp has a hard time sliding down the shaft to the ends because of the bends or coils of black hair. Shea butter is frequently found in curly hair treatments because of its emolliating qualities. This makes it excellent for locking in moisture without leaving your hair greasy and heavy. Since it aids in fastening moisture into hair it’s fantastic for keeping your hair protected against the weather.

How to Use It: 
You can use it alone or you can add it to your favorite conditioner to give you extra moisture. It’s also a great additive for shampoos and hair creams.

Protection Against Heat

Shea butter does not sit on the hair, instead it absorbs into the hair strand/shaft without leaving a greasy or heavy feel. However it does coat the hair shaft so that it is protected against damage from the heat tool being passed along the hair.

How to Use It: 

You can melt it down and combine it with another natural oil, such as grapeseed oil or avocado oil which have high smoke points. Apply in small amounts before blow drying and straightening natural hair.

Shield Against UVS
Shea butter is believed to have a low amount but sufficient SPF to protect your hair against the damage from ultra violet rays of the sun. This is definitely beneficial for processed or color treated hair.

How to Use It: 

Melt it down and apply lightly before going to the beach, lake, or any activity in which your hair is exposed to sunlight. You can even add it to a moisturizer spray to spray it on easily to your hair.

Softener for Hair
Shea butter is great for softening hard brittle hair. It’s an excellent moisturizer, and therefore offers that advantage for dried as well as fragile curly hair.

How to Use It:
Mix with another carrier oil and apply as your “oil step” in the LOC method, or as a moisturizer for 2nd or 3rd day hair.

Refined vs. Unrefined Shea Butter
There are two types of Shea Butter refined and unrefined. Unrefined Shea butter means it has more of its natural goodness. One of the reasons Shea butter is refined is to eliminate it’s natural aroma which may not be liked by some. However the odor does absorb fairly quickly. If you want to use an unrefined Shea butter with less of an aroma, its been recommended to use Shea Butter from Uganda or East Africa. It cost slightly more, but it is also known for being able to make your hair a little softer and it’s slightly better at moisturizing.

Where can I buy Shea Butter?
Shea Butter is a very popular moisturizing supplement for the hair and therefore most beauty supply stores that cater to black hair should carry refined and unrefined Shea Butter. You can also purchase it from online retailers that are focused on natural black hair care.

Tips for Shea Butter Usage: 

Find 100% natural unprocessed Shea butter at your local natural foods store. Processed Shea butters can take on different forms.

To melt it down, use a double broiler or place in a bowl over hot water. Do not expose it to direct heat on the stove.

Keep in a cool dry place. Shea butter will melt in warm temperatures, just like coconut oil.

Try DIY Whipped Shea Butter for easier application.

Everyone’s skin is different. Do a patch test on your skin before applying all over your scalp. You want to see how your skin and scalp react to Shea butter first. 

Are you on the Shea Butter Bandwagon?

This article was originally published on November 2011 and has since been updated for grammar and clarity. 


  • mishafreedom says:

    I agree. It is not a moisturizer. It is very important for natural hair to be spritzed with water or water component daily. I make up my own moisture mist and seal with raw shea. I have thick curly hair and this process works for me.

  • Tee says:

    What kind of shea butter should you apply on your skin….refined or unrefined? I have natural hair, but would also like to clear up my skin, etc

  • Pam says:

    I get shea butter from coastal scennts – theirs is unrefined from a co-op in Ghana. They also help the people there afford healthcare, which is awesome.

    I love shea butter. I also don't think it's a moisturizer, but it works great in conjunctio with moisture. I. Spray my hair with water/aloe, and use shea on my scalp and ends, and lightly throughout my hair. I also suse it onn my skin right after a shower and I won't be ashy for an entire day. 🙂

  • MsAfriKanaChic says:

    Is shea butter ok for fine natural hair?

  • OloriOba says:

    Shea butter has been my go-to oil/butter for years, ever since I lived in Nigeria. I have to say that I have noticed a BIG difference between the Shea Butter I used to buy in the US and the one I have my mom send me from Nigeria. The shea butter sold here in the US seems to be so refined (even though the seller says it is 'unrefined') and does not work as well as the one my mom gets straight from the ladies that make it in Nigeria. My hair feels crunchy and dry when I used to use the one I bought from the US. Either way, I use Shea butter for my whole body from the top of my head to the soles of my feet and I LOVE it!!

  • Pommydiddy says:

    Shea butter is part of my grooming mainstay. I soften the raw shea w/organic coconut butter, add olive, jojoba, and almond oil using a safflower oil base. This is my every day, every way balm…for my hair and skin. My skin and hair have never been more beautiful. I always receive compliments. The key is that less is more.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes, I have been on the shea butter wagin for quite sometime. It is a hair and skin must have for me. It works wonders!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I absolutely love Shea butter. I use it for hair and skin. It produces really nice results when used as a sealant with Shea Moisture hair milk

  • Levone says:

    I've been loving shea butter for years. I prefer to mix with an oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, etc. before using on my hair. It's great to slather on the hair before swimming as well!

  • RazzyYazzy says:

    My hair feels and looks healthy when I use my shea butter mix. (1/2 cup aloe vera gel, 1/4 cup shea butter and 1/8 cup olive oil) I blend this up in the blender until nice and fluffy and store it in a 8oz jar. It sets up like a creamy pomade and is easy to apply to damp hair. Shea butter is the stuff!

  • Afrinaturality says:

    The irony is that I have been using shea butter since I was a small child – I didn't realise what it was. It is called 'ori' where I am from. When I first ventured into the natural hair community, everyone was banging on about shea butter, so I decided that I wanted a piece of the pie myself. Imagine my face, on opening my first self-bought tub of 'shea butter', and finding that this gem of a product was the ori I had been rubbing on to my glowing skin all this time! Lol! Thank you mum for imparting your beauty secrets!

  • mangomadness says:


  • mangomadness says:

    I love unrefined shea buttter for my hair and skin.

    Shea Moisture products are my haircare staples. Most of their products have unrefined shea butter in them. I use the Purfication Masque(detangle/pre-poo), Moisture Retention Shampoo, Curl and Style Milk and Deep Treatment Masque(as a leave-in). They keep my hair moisturized, sheen-y and sweet-smelling.

    I use shea buter on my skin via my DIY body butter (shea butter/aloe vera gel/vegetable glycerin). It moisturizes well, makes my skin super soft and silky smooth.

  • Anonymous says:

    My hair hates shea butter. It makes it dry and brittle.

  • Anonymous says:

    ….been using shea butter since the day I went natural. Only thing it does not seem to really absorb into my hair.

  • Tai says:

    I wouldn't be able to do my hair without Shea Butter. I LOVE that stuff!

  • Anonymous says:

    I mix shea butter & a small amount of Vit E oil and use it on my face daily. Is is so creamy and feels so good, and my husband and daughter have commented on how good my skin looks since I've been using it(I'm 60 y.o.). I use a mix of shea, EVCO and Vit E as a sealant for my hair every night. I guess you could say I love shea butter – lol. I also like the fact that shea butter has some UVA protection because I don't get much sun, so I feel it is the only sunscreen product that I need.

  • Zoya says:

    I am officially in love with shea butter. Tried coconut oil, olive oil and amla oil but my hair is absolutely thriving on unrefined shea butter. Still rocking a TWA (3weeks post BC) and i never knew my hair could be so soft and curly. Curls!!!! Never knew i could have curls in my hair. lol…
    Also use it on my skin and for my daughter's hair too..

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Anon 10:37 – the reason why it's leaking onto your face is because you're putting too much into your hair or it could be that it's building up too. Basically use a little and cleanse every couple days. Think of it like this, the raw shea butter is solid so if rub that onto your hand then into your hair as the days goes by the solid melts and it ends up being too much product in your hair hence the reason why it then leaks onto your face.

    Hope that helps!

  • The Purse-a-holic says:

    Always thought of it for skin….good to know

    Confessions of a Purse-a-holic

  • Anonymous says:

    I use the yellow kind.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm on the bandwagon and use it for every inch of my hair and body!

  • Anonymous says:

    Shea butter is definately a staple for me!

  • Anonymous says:

    I used it in my hair for a couple of months and unfortunately it somehow gets onto my face and breaks out my skin. I now only use it on my body but not my hair or near my face.

  • Shea butter doesn't equal moisture says:

    Ok so I'm always confused and disagree when people say that shea butter is a moisturizer. A moisturizer needs to contain water in order to moisturize. Shea butter is a butter/oil. For some it can be an amazing sealant but it doesn't contain any water so it can't be a moisturizer. I used to use just shea butter on my hair as my moisturizer when I was first natural because everyone described it as such, but it made my hair brittle and dry. Then it dawned upon me that shea butter is a fat; it can not impart moisture on one's strands. Am I right or am I wrong? Any disagreements? I think it is important that we truly understand the properties of certain products so that we can use them to our benefit.

  • Anonymous says:

    Shea butter is a staple for me. I use it on my skin daily and mix it with other oils for my hair. I normally buy the large tub from my local African or Caribbean markets.

  • Anonymous says:

    Love the butter for my hair…esp mixed with some coconut oil for braidouts!!

  • Carla says:


    I've been using shea butter on and off for quite a while now. I melt a small amount and add it to my oil mixes for my hair. I use plain shea butter to hold back my edges, and I also make shea butter balms for my skin out of it. Its a beauty staple of mine.

  • Bianca says:

    Oh yes! I make a shea butter skin cream, use Everyday Shea conditioner for a deep conditioning pre-poo,Nubian Heritage Shea butter soap,use Alaffia Shea butter Cleansing milk to wash my face, and Crystal's Royal Secrets Shea silk to moisturize my face!

  • Jami says:

    Yes, I am! Love the stuff–but for my skin, not my hair. Peace.

Leave a Reply