Shea butter and coconut oil seem to be the holy-grail products nowadays. They’re so hot right now. They’re in every hair product, it doesn’t matter if the hair is natural or relaxed. And because of the natural hair movement, and people wanting to know what’s in their hair products, they’re being sold on their own, and people make their own hair concoctions with them.
Coconut oil and I are not friends, but shea butter and I love one another. I started using it about a year into my natural hair journey, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It keeps my hair moisturised for so long between wash days, it actually is not too heavy (my hair does well with heavy oils and butters), and it gives me bomb twist outs… yeah! Shea butter for the win! I’ve had a 2+ year journey with it, so I think I can give shea butter newbies tips on how to use it, and what to avoid with it.
So, let me clear a few things:
First of All: Never use it in its glob-like state!
Remember what I said in this last post? Granted the product I reviewed was mainly avocado butter… but the problem is the same. If you want to use it on its own, make sure that it has melted nicely in your hands (it does melt in your hands), then apply. This gives you a much smoother application and it guarantees you won’t have bits and pieces of shea butter in your hair.
Second of All: Never Apply it to your scalp!
For some, shea butter may be great for their hair, others not so much, but the one thing everyone has in common is: Shea Butter is no good for the scalp!! It is way too heavy for the scalp and will block your pores and cause buildup, inflammation, and other nasty things. Keep it away from your scalp.
Third of All: Shea butter users must be shampooers!
If you use Shea butter, you must not be afraid of shampoo. It actually doesn’t matter which one really, sulphate or sulphate-free, they both will wash off the shea butter completely. Make sure that on your wash day, a shampoo is included, because a build-up of hair products, no matter how natural, is the worst.
So, here is how to use Shea butter:
I got this recipe from the blog BGLH, and it has been my staple for a while. What I do however is to use the proportions they give me and then I tweak them according to the oils I want to add to the concoction. The basic recipe is:
1/2 cup shea butter
1/4 cup olive oil
Another tip: If you can’t handle the smell, then essential oils are your friends. Here in Zim, I get them from the Vitamin Bar in the Bridge Spar, but many pharmacies and Evenhand Cosmetics have essential oils in stock, just compare pricing. My favourite combination is rosemary and tea tree oil, and I add about 20 drops of each for the above amount. So, using this basic recipe you can:
1. Melt It!
Place your shea butter into a saucepan and melt it over low heat, until it is completely liquid. Do not boil it! At this point, remove it from the heat, add your oils and essential oils of choice, pour it into a very clean and dry container and leave it to cool or solidify. You can do that or you can:
2. Whip It!
Here you leave it to cool, and when it’s starting to solidify, you whip it until it is of a fluffy consistency, almost like cake icing. Then spoon or pipe it into the container. You can whip it in that way or you can:
3. Whip It Without Melting It!
I prefer this way, you know, because of prepaid electricity meters. I jest… it’s because this is the lazy girl’s method. Spoon your shea butter into a mixing bowl, and mash it with a fork. After that, add your oils and your essential oils, and continue mashing until it’s like a paste. Then you start whipping until it looks like icing. Do not skip the mashing with a fork, otherwise your mixture will be very lumpy (speaking from experience).
I hope this helps someone who is starting to use shea butter. Another advantage is that it makes a great body butter, so if you have made too much, use it on your skin for amazing moisture and shine.
Do you also like using shea butter? Are you a concoctions person, or you like buying ready made concoctions? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time… your Quarter Wife.