shea butter for hair

Shea Butter For Hair: Shea Butter Benefits and Uses

Amongst all of the glitz and glamour of leading hair care products, one all-natural product shines through: shea butter. Going back to the basics with a simple and organic method of caring for your hair leaves you with impressive results. Let nature provide for your hair with shea butter, the world’s natural moisturizer, anti-irritant agent, and UV protector. Shea butter may be a great option for anyone searching for a way to strengthen their hair and increase its look. For healthy and gorgeous hair, try incorporating shea butter into your hair care routine.

What Is Shea Butter?

So what exactly is this useful and natural product that has incredible benefits for your body and hair? Shea butter is first harvested as the shea fruit from Karite trees in West Africa. The trees begin producing the nuts at 20 years of age and can continue on for up to 200 more years. Inside the fruit is a shelled shea nut.

The final product becomes shea butter through a series of steps where the fat is extracted from the nut and left to harden. It is a skin superfood, containing a myriad of nutrients not limited to copper, sulfur, and Omega-6. Mentionable proteins in shea butter are Vitamins A and E, responsible for moisturization and anti-aging respectively.

From this form, shea butter’s properties make it a handy ingredient to be used for a variety of purposes, including moisturizing products in the skin and hair care industries.

Best Shea Butter Products For Hair

The following are 11 fantastic shea butter products that we absolutely adore!

1Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioner Repair Cream

Cantu Shea Butter leave-in conditioner is an amazing choice for anyone who wants their hair to become softer and easier to manage without having to make a large investment. Cantu sums up the benefits of fixing split ends, deeply moisturizing, reducing frizz, and healing and repairing.

Why We Love This Product:

  • Pleasant smell
  • Low price, low risk
  • Sulfate-free
  • Great moisturizer
  • Large amount of product


  • Be weary of DIY; this product is picky about which ingredients it will mix with
  • Not silicone-free

2Lavender Whipped African Shea Butter Cream

This body and hair butter by Rise ‘N Shine is widely renowned for using 100% raw, or unrefined shea butter in their products. Lavender scent is added because some people don’t like the smell of shea butter on its own, making for a fresh natural scent. The Lavender Whipped African Shea Butter Cream is a great “no compromise” purchase.

Why We Love This Product:

  • Beautiful lavender or vanilla aroma
  • Authentic unrefined shea butter from Ghana
  • Includes e-book access for shea butter uses and DIY mixes
  • 30-day money back guarantee


  • May not come as whipped as described
  • Not as large of a portion—8 oz.

3SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Shampoo & Conditioner

The SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Shampoo bundles nicely with its partnering Restorative Conditioner to repair damaged hair without stripping away your hair’s natural oils. Sea kelp and argan oil are included to help to reinforce hair cuticles and add shine to the hair shaft.

Why We Love This Product:

  • Two-step system
  • For dry, damaged hair
  • Proficient in taming frizz
  • Accelerates hair growth


  • Bit of a strong smell
  • Bottles don’t last long (rather frequent restocking required)

4The Roots African Shea Butter Hair Oil Moisturizer and Leave-in Conditioner

The Roots describes their African Shea Butter product as “the answer.” It is specifically designed for natural hair and has three main uses: conditioning, moisturizing and fortifying. This is a good option for anyone who really wants control in being able to style their hair.

Why We Love This Product:

  • Visible shine in hair
  • Very becoming smell
  • Gets rid of frizz!
  • Great for dry hair and tight curls


  • Works best after applied to damp hair
  • Not all-natural ingredients

5Unrefined Shea Butter by Better Shea Butter

Some of you DIYers may prefer to make your own shea butter so that you can create your own mixes with the exact ingredients you want and keep the recipe very organic. The unrefined shea butter comes in solid form, meant for you to melt it and prepare the butter yourself (which isn’t as hard as you may think). This product comes with directions on how to access an online skin care recipe book.

Why We Love This Product:

  • 100% raw shea butter
  • Highest-rated shea butter on Amazon for three years in a row
  • Comes with online instructions
  • Adaptability to your own hair’s needs


  • Doesn’t come pre-whipped; more work for you
  • You need to find your own container for it
  • Some may not like the shea butter smell

6Design Essentials Edge Control

The Natural Honey & Shea Edge Tamer by Design Essentials is meant specifically for hair types 3A to 4C, or curly to coily. The Design Essentials Edge Control hair care staple may be a smart investment for anyone who hopes to have a more defined hairline with secured flyaways. It contains honey and shea butter to soften your hair and create a healthy place for new hair to grow in.

Why We Love This Product:

  • Long-lasting styling hold
  • No parabens, paraffin, or mineral oil
  • A little goes a long way
  • 100% money-back guarantee


  • Some find it a bit goopy/leaves residue
  • Some find flaking

7Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Nourishing and Cleansing Conditioner

Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk line is applauded for its ability to “rinse away impurities” from the hair along with its astute capability of detangling even the tightest curls. It is also infused with agave nectar and Vitamins E and B5 to soothe and strengthen your hair. After a 3-5 minute hair and scalp massage, Hair Milk removes the buildup that has accumulated in your hair and provides a great deal of nourishment to leave your hair feeling healthy and elegant.

Why We Love This Product:

  • Okay to use for colored hair
  • Washes away residue
  • A trusted light cleanser
  • Sulfate-free


  • Not a replacement for shampoo and conditioner; only conditions
  • Does not work on all hair types

8SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk

Another one of SheaMoisture’s products has made the list due to its determination to make unrefined shea butter available to all women. This SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk makes use of coconut oil and hibiscus in order to mask the scent of the bare shea butter. It also makes use of Silk Protein and Neem Oil so as to give your thick curls definition.

Why We Love This Product:

  • Designed for everyday use
  • Leave-in moisturizer
  • Stops breakage
  • Works well for curls of all kinds


  • May be too strong of coconut smell for some people
  • Some find it too heavy

9Pure Body Naturals AAA+ Unrefined Organic Shea Butter

Shea Butter by Pure Body Naturals promises its product as 100% pure, natural, and organic, better known as a virgin product of the AAA+ grade. Because this product isn’t specifically meant for hair, it may be good for those who are looking to reap the benefits of shea butter for skin as well. It also serves as a nice choice of base for any DIYers hoping to make their own mix.

Why We Love This Product:

  • Certified organic by the U.S. and E.U.
  • Has a long shelf-life
  • Easy to spread after melting a bit in hands
  • Hard shea butter (signifies high quality)


  • May arrive in packaging grainy
  • Not for people looking for a whipped shea butter

10SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore

The Strengthen, Grow, & Restore Edge Treatment by SheaMoisture also makes use of Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Keratin for “sleek, manageable strands.” Due to its growth promoting properties and ultra-rich leave-in, this edge tamer delivers “reparative omegas and proteins” for regenerative growth and to soothe the scalp. The Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil is meant to be applied to damp locks to smooth split ends and reduce breakage.

Why We Love This Product:

  • Beautiful vanilla and peppermint fragrances
  • Works for every hair type
  • Provides healthy support for hair
  • Gentle for everyday use


  • May be slightly greasy
  • The two-pack isn’t worth it unless you use it very often

11Majestic Pure Shea Butter

Triple extra grade A shea butter by Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals is virgin cold-pressed from Ghana. It works incredibly well as a quick and easy hair mask, shampoo, or conditioner. The Majestic Pure Shea Butter contains free acidity of 1.8% and is concentrated with natural proteins that maintain the hair’s cuticles and keep the scalp fresh. An added bonus, you can use this brand for any of shea butter’s other uses as well because it’s not specifically made for hair.

Why We Love This Product:

  • A small amount does the trick; long-lasting solution
  • Not grainy
  • Fantastic to make your own body butter
  • Very effective moisturizer


  • Not as creamy as other brands (you have to melt it in hands before using)
  • Very strong smell, as it’s pure shea butter

12Other Shea Butter Benefits and Uses For Skin

Wrinkle Remover/Anti-Aging: Shea butter is helpful in reducing the appearance of under-eye circles that can add many years to your face. It also stimulates the production of collagen, a protein which maintains the youthful and supple look of skin. Vitamins A and E aid in preventing premature wrinkling. SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Anti Aging Moisturizer is a miracle-worker product for your skin, as it moisturizes with clogging the pores.

Lip Balm: Shea butter contains Vitamin F which is beneficial in rejuvenating chapped skin.
Improve Skin Elasticity: Containing Vitamin F and non-saponifiable matter (components responsible for skin elasticity), adding shea butter to your beauty regimen will expose your skin to the nutrients necessary to become more healthy. Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm is one of our favorite shea butter lip balms!

Skin Conditions: People afflicted with skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and dermatitis find relief through the use of shea butter due to the superfood’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Bug Bites: The high Vitamin A content present in shea butter allows it to be a natural healer and disinfectant. Because of this, mosquito bites, or skin allergies, can be soothed.

Baby Care: Shea butter is non-toxic and free of chemicals, making it applicable for babies’ skin (though care should be taken to find organic, unrefined, and unscented products). Elbows, knees, and cheeks tend to dry out faster in children, so it may be a good idea to add some shea butter in order to prevent dry skin. SheaMoister has also some great shea butter baby products, such as the Skin Therapy Baby Raw Shea , Raw Shea Butter Baby Healing Lotion and Baby Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo.

Pain Relief: By massaging shea butter into aching joints, you can relieve the tension and throbbing of the ailment. This is a useful purpose for anyone who frequently suffers from muscle soreness after exercise.

Cold And Sinus Relief: Shea butter has been proven to have a lasting effect of 5-8 hours in relieving nasal congestion, though it may take longer to take effect than other methods. This is a popular use of shea butter in Nigeria.

13Refined v. Unrefined Shea Butter

Shea Butter comes in two forms: refined or unrefined. Unrefined shea butter is derived without chemical interference or synthetics. It retains much more of shea butter’s qualities than the refined version that most companies use because of its longer shelf-life. Refined shea butter is made with the aid of chemical solvents and high heat. Pure white in color and contains no odor, refined shea butter still possesses some of the moisturizing qualities that unrefined does, but is much less effective.

If you’re looking for the best results possible, it’s very important that the product you use has unrefined shea butter in its ingredients. It may cost a bit more than some brands who advertise with refined shea butter, but it’s worth it to give yourself the best shot at success. There are some viable refined shea butter fusions that will also make your hair happy, but the impurities added through the refining process render you subject to side effects and an overall less beneficial experience. The main goal is to find a medium within your desired quality and price; as always, the better the quality, the better the outcome.

14Shea Butter Benefits For Natural Hair

Softening/Moisturizing Agent: Vitamins A and E work in conjunction to lock the moisture into your hair while keeping your hair lightweight and non-greasy. Due to shea butter’s natural emollient qualities, it works especially well with kinky hair to soothe it and make the hair more manageable.

Soothes Irritated Scalp: Amazingly, shea butter has refreshing effects on both dry and oily scalp types. On dry scalps, it works to moisturize afflicted areas in order to reduce the amount of flaking due to dryness. On oily scalps, the shea butter helps to reduce excessive oil production by the hair glands. An added bonus, shea butter won’t clog your pores and isn’t hard to wash out.

Hair Sealant: Natural hair has the tendency to be drier than other types due to its texture and shape—the sebum has trouble secreting down to the tips because of the coils of the hair. Shea butter helps to make up for the lack of sebum and leaves your hair soft and more resistant to breakage.

Heat Protection: Because shea butter absorbs into the hair while leaving a non-greasy coating on the outside of each strand, it acts as an effective guard against the damage that excessive heat from straighteners, curlers, or any other heating tool can cause.

UV Protection: With a natural SPF of 6, taking a small portion of shea butter and smoothing your hair with it can protect you from any damage the sun or any chemical air pollutants may bring about. The vitamins the butter contains (A, E, F) protect us from free radicals, harmful chemicals that attack healthy cells and can lead to hair loss.

Hair Growth: When applied regularly, shea butter is known to strengthen hair follicles and the scalp, allowing for healthy and resilient hair to grow in. It can also restore damaged hair and split ends, thanks to its hydrating and conditioning qualities.

15How To Apply and Use Shea Butter For Healthy Hair

  • Scoop one teaspoonful of shea butter.
  • Rub the butter in your palms to melt. (If you do not do this, the product will be grainy and unusable.)
  • When melted, spread the shea butter over a small portion of hair using both hands.
  • Repeat steps until all or desired amount of hair is covered.

16How To Choose The Right Shea Butter Product For You

So all of this information is good and well, but how do you choose the product that will get results for you?

First of all, know your natural hair type. Some products only work for specific ranges and will not be effective for any others not included in that. If you know your hair, you can avoid a lot of wasted time and money on products that weren’t really meant for you to begin with.

Second, read product reviews before investing. With as many brands flooding the market as there are, you need to be sure that other people have had good experiences with it. Try to find a review by someone with your hair type. Don’t be put off by a couple of bad reviews but if you start to see a pattern, it might be best to stay away from that item.

Have a set of standards. Does it matter to you to have 100% organic and virgin products? Do you mind if there’s silicone or sulfates in your shea butter? There are different qualities of shea butters that are each accompanied by different price tags, so it’s important to know what you’re okay with sacrificing or not receiving.

17What To Look For In Shea Butter Products

  • Unrefined shea butter
  • Multi-purpose shea butter
  • Little to no added chemicals
  • Well-reviewed and rated products
  • Vitamin A and E
  • Able to be used for a long time

18What To Avoid In Shea Butter Products

  • Refined shea butter/any product not traditionally prepared or cold-pressed (Shea butter should be ivory, not white)
  • Small containers
  • Gritty shea butters
  • Greasy products
  • Sulfates (Product should not lather)

19Things To Consider Before Buying Shea Butter Hair Products

Altogether, you need to consider if shea butter is something that you feel you’d benefit from. Do your research to make sure that it’s the best option for the problems your hair is suffering. It is a solid option for anyone searching for an all-natural ingredient that can moisturize and detangle their hair.

Take the prices into account and decide what quality you’ll go for. Would you rather try a cheaper shea butter that might not work, resulting in you having to buy a more expensive brand, or would you prefer to just buy the pricier one from the start?

Be sure to consider how often you think you’re going to use the shea butter. Certain brands are specifically designed for everyday use, whereas others are a bit harsher and only meant for a couple of times a week.

20Our Conclusion On Shea Butter For Hair

This organic product is an incredible way to add the much-needed moisture and control to natural hair without leaving it feeling heavy or greasy. There are many products on the market to choose from; buyers should look to purchase hair care supplies that contain the superior unrefined shea butter to the less beneficial and chemically-altered refined shea butter.

If you’re on a budget, a product like the Cantu Shea Butter leave in conditioner Repair Cream may be a good decision. This product works well by itself, but isn’t really meant to be used for DIY body butters.

If you are looking for the finest quality regardless of price, the Lavender Whipped African Shea Butter Cream by Rise ‘N Shine contains Ghanaian unrefined shea butter with a beautiful lavender scent and proven results.

Lastly, if you’re looking for an edge tamer, the Design Essentials Edge Control has a long-lasting hold and only requires a little product else it becomes goopy. It also comes with a 100% money-back guarantee.

Have you experimented with shea butter or tried any of these products? Share your experience in the comments below!


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