Don’t Always Believe the Hair Hype
So here it is, the words that no one in the natural hair community wants to hear and that is, shea butter is not all that great for your natural hair!
I know, that sad statement mixed with the hundreds of dollars invested on your bathroom counter and shelves is a complete letdown, but let me explain.
It is not that shea butter is not a great asset for your hair, but it is the manner in which you are using it that will make or break your strands. We have to use it in moderation! Stay with me on this and understand that this is not a “shaming” article but is one that is going to bring you information to the forefront for you to alter your routine.
Shea butter is a natural ingredient that many of us have grown accustomed to over the years. In the last five or six years specifically, we see that shea butter has taken on a life of its own.
This life is so grand that many big-name companies and businesses have made it the staple ingredient plastered on the front of different leave-ins, curling creme’s, shampoos and moisturizers.
While a little bit does go a long way, shea butter and shea butter infused ingredients are products that you should use less than often, and here’s why!
Shea Butter is Heavy on your Hair
I cannot be the only one who hates the feeling of heavy, lifeless hair.
It is honestly the worst and will turn a wash day into a wash weekend. Do you know that feeling of lathering up on shea butter after you hop out the shower? How silky smooth yet shiny our body becomes? While it gives us that luster in our hair, we also have to admit that even on our body it feels a little greasy sometimes.
This has the same effect on your hair! Raw shea butter specifically is a butter that you should not be reaching for unless you do not mind the feel super oily strands. And while shea butter infused products are great for lathering up your follicles, they do not always give us the best results for styling.
If you find yourself using shea butter or shea butter products, ease up on them and use them every once in a while.
Remember that some companies advertising these products to you do not always know your hair or what is good for the health of it!
Shea Butter Contributes to Product Build-up
Do you remember that thing I said about greasy hair?
Well, product build-up comes in tow with that problem. Imagine if you poured a can of oil on your hair and expected it to wash out efficiently with your usual shampoo and conditioner. Sorry to say, it is not that easy.
Like many things, with an action, you get a reaction, and when it comes to washing out shea butter, you sometimes find yourself reaching for a bottle of shampoo with sulfates that many of us are told to avoid to get the product completely out. With each use of the harmful sulfates, we do more damage by stripping away our natural moisture which leaves us with dry and damaged hair over time.
However, you do not always have to use sulfates! Sulfate free shampoo gets the job done, but with a little more effort.
I know that no one’s hair goal is to have brittle hair, so listen up!
When trying to strip away the extra layers of product, opt to steam treat your hair first, ensuring that they eventually slip out. When steaming try to co-wash method by applying your favorite cleansing conditioner. This will help to remove the extra products in your hair while maintaining its healthy structure.
Another massive plus for giving yourself a steam treatment is that it gets your scalp clean and healthy and ready for your next style!
Refined vs. Unrefined
Did you know that there is a difference in these two shea butters? If you hit your local beauty supply store, you will see both.
Unrefined being the vivid yellow color with the noticeable smell and then refined being the white, odorless jar not too far away from its original packaging.
In many of our staple beauty products, we see that the main shea ingredient found are refined shea butter which preserves many products’ color choice without the natural yellow tint. Rarely will you ever see unrefined shea butter used in mainstream products and that could be because of the smell and color.
The problem that many people find with refined shea butter in their products is that manufacturers use chemicals to begin the stripping process of those nutrients that give shea butter its natural yellow hue and smell. In return, this compromises the benefits that many people look for.
While both are a choice, it is essential to know what are in your products and how they affect certain types of hair!
You're Using it Wrong
Yes, there is a way to use shea butter and shea butter products. Got dry hair?
Shea butter and other popular oils may fix it, but not by merely slapping it onto your roots. A stylist explained to me a while back how moisture gets into your hair and how to eventually have healthier hair.
Moisture and shiny hair come when you open up the cuticle of your hair by way of washing and steam treatments. Start by steaming your hair for about 15 minutes; you will notice how the texture is soft and moisturized. Of course, you want to do this on clean hair so make sure that you wash and condition your hair before.
Next, take your favorite shea oil or hair butter with shea in it and evenly apply it to your hair. Do not over manipulate or add too much because you do not want your hair to flow as natural as possible. Continue styling as, and you will see and feel the difference!
So no, shea butter is not the end all be all for your hair, sometimes you just have to use it and its products sparingly. Many of us know shea butter as a product that gives our hair face and skin so much life!
It is, however, imperative to stay mindful in the way that you use it for the health of your hair in the long run.
You're Using the Wrong Products
In the world of natural hair, the amount of hits and misses in terms of hair products are just way too much to count and quite frankly, something that many of us familiar with hair disasters knows so well.
But if you are struggling with shea products, then here are a few tips to help you out.
Less is more!
The less product you use, the better! Utilizing an overload of shea butter products or shea butter, in general, creates that stringy looks that are not only uncomfortable but will get a little itchy over the course of a few days.
Wash your hair often!
Keep up with your hair routine by washing your hair on a regular schedule to alleviate product build up. This ensures that you are not only keeping it healthy on the outside but that you are keeping it healthy as it grows.
Use products that benefit the current need of your hair
Now, this may seem daunting, but you have to know your hair to know what to use. It is not enough to only buy the newest product because of the smell and the packaging. You have to know the current state of your hair to determine what it needs. To start, understand the difference between raw, whipped and refined shea butter and watch your locks flourish!
Adhere to these simple tips, and you are sure to see a significant difference in the health and look of your hair.
Shea Butter has Some Good and Not So Good Points
What have we learned here?
So much to say the least but if anything, we have learned that shea butter is a super complex ingredient in terms of natural hair. It is no secret that you can use it for your hair, but you must do so sparingly. Anything in excess is never a good thing, especially when it comes to beauty products.
Looking for products to use that have shea butter in them come in several varieties, but reading that label on the back in detail will help you understand that process a little bit more and will ultimately help you decide if this is the product that you need to use. Every day, we become won over with advertisements showing us the hottest new ingredient and while it is appealing, we always have to ask is it good for our hair?
Overall, different things work for different hair types and opting to use shea butter is not a bad thing! No, we will not “hair shame” you, if anything what works for you simply works for you!
Take these tips with you like a grain of salt the next time you go shopping for hair products because you never know what you will find.