Yes, shea butter is good for your hair thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, all of which help protect and moisturize your hair and scalp.
Shea butter comes from processing the nuts of the shea fruit, an edible plum like fruit that comes from trees indigenous to Africa. It’s a popular ingredient in cosmetic products because of its high percentage of what the scientists call “unsaponifiable fraction,” (i.e. the percentage that doesn’t turn into basic soap).
And shea butter contains multiple hair and scalp healthy nutrients including:
These nutrients work together to fight off inflammation in your scalp and promote a healthy skin-barrier function keeping your scalp from drying out. Shea butter can be as effective at keeping your scalp and hair protected and hydrated as the fancy ceramide products you hear about on TV, but costs much less.
In addition to keeping your scalp moist and inflammation free, the nutrients in shea butter are good for your hair because they help keep you dandruff-free by fending off bacteria and fungus on your scalp, which are primary causes of those ugly flakes.
Shea butter is rich in antioxidants like vitamins A and E which fight off the daily damage from early-aging-gray-causing oxidative stress that your scalp and hair suffer thanks to the dirt, UV rays, and chemicals in the air.
But because shea butter is mostly fatty acids, it can weigh down hair if you use too much, especially if you have oily hair from too much sebum. You’ll know you’re using too much shea butter if your hair looks dull and flat, or if you notice a waxy feeling when you try to shampoo. Shea butter might also be too heavy if you have especially fine hair. Try mango butter instead.
There are tons of hair products with shea butter out there, but if you’re in a DIY mood, you can make a great shea butter hair mask at home. And its easy to do using the recipe below.
How to Make a Shea Butter Hair Mask at Home
Ingredients In a Shea Butter Hair Mask
- 1 whole egg (rich in protein and biotin)
- Shea Butter: 2 tablespoons
- Coconut Oil: 2 tablespoons (you can also use Argan oil. Both of these oils have a low molecular weight that allow them to penetrate the hair shaft and moisturize from the inside out)
- Yogurt: 3 tablespoons
- Apple Cider Vinegar: 1 tablespoon
- Honey: 1 tablespoon
- A few drops of your favorite essential oil for a pleasing scent
The Steps to Make a Shea Butter Hair Mask
- Whisk the egg until it's frothy
- Add the shea butter, coconut oil, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, and honey, mixing until you get a smooth, consistent paste
- Blend in a few drops the essential oil
- Test the mask on a patch of skin to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to any ingredient
- Work the mask evenly throughout damp hair, covering from roots to ends (extra focus on the ends of your hair, which are the oldest, and typically the driest part of your hair shafts)
- Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave the mask on for about 30 minutes
- Rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm or cold water
- Finish with a gentle shampoo and conditioner to make sure you don’t leave any residue on your hair or scalp
Shea butter is good for your hair and scalp and makes a great alternative if you have oily or fine hair to heavier hair oils. Best of all it is easy to make a homemade shea butter hair mask. If you found this guide helpful, share it on social media with friends, and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter below.