Shea butter is a fat extracted from the African shea tree. Its use in cosmetics and as a healing agent dates back thousands of years to Egyptian times.
Shea butter is an excellent moisturizer and has been shown to improve a variety of ailments, including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, sunburn, and many more.
Hair Product Dangers
Many people are turning to shea butter for natural hair instead of toxic hair products found on store shelves. Some of the dangerous ingredients you can find in store bought hair care products are:
Propylene Glycol – An ingredient used in antifreeze that can damage organs.
Alcohol – Incredibly drying to hair and scalp. In many products that I reviewed, I found 3 different chemical forms of alcohol used more than 3 times in the ingredient list!
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – A carcinogen that can penetrate skin and concentrate in your organs.
These are just a few of the many ingredients used in so-called “hair conditioners”.
The color of shea butter ranges from an ivory colored white to a bright yellow. Yellow shea butter is more nourishing, but its color may impart a slight yellow tint to where it’s applied.
Shea butter’s amazing healing properties can be attributed to the following:
- It’s loaded with vitamins A, C, and E in their natural form with all their cofactors; allowing for complete absorption.
- Powerful fatty acids that offer phenomenal moisture.
- High levels of naturally occurring antioxidants offer protection from free radicals
- Has UV protection properties to shield hair from damaging sun rays.
Choosing Your Butter
Shea butter is classified through class A to class F, with class A being the highest quality. In addition, it will come as refined or unrefined. Refined shea butter goes through a heavy chemical process that involves toxic solvents and high heat. This denatures the valuable fatty acids and damages the vitamins and antioxidants. Hexane is applied to extract the butter from the shells. This is a toxic cleaning solvent that should not be used on food or skin care products. Exposure to hexane leads to neurological and nervous system damage.
Unrefined shea butter contains the most benefits and no harmful chemicals or processes are used. This leaves shea butter closest to its natural state, with all the nutrients still intact.
How to Use
Shea butter is naturally thick and slightly solid at room temperature. It will begin to melt at body temperature so you can rub it in between your hands before applying it to your hair. If you still find it too thick, you can gently heat it up over the stove to liquefy it. Furthermore, you can add other beneficial oils such as olive oil to help with the consistency.
Some individuals even recommend adding essential oils for more benefits. With natural hair care options like shea butter available, there’s no reason to continue using dangerous hair products on the market, which only serve to further damage and age your hair.