Shea butter often is used to moisturize hair. Photo Credit IT Stock/Polka Dot/Getty Images
Shea butter has been a part of the African culture for centuries ad is commonly used to moisturize the hair and protect it from dryness and breakage. It is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins that condition the hair, reduce breakage and soften the hair cuticle. Shea butter can be used as a daily conditioning cream, prewash conditioner or deep conditioner.
Shea butter is rich in vitamins A, F, and E, and using it as a daily conditioning cream helps to strengthen the hair's cortex and cuticle with essential vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Shea butter for conditioning the hair is beneficial for mending split ends, softening the hair cuticle and reducing frizz. As a daily conditioner, add shea butter throughout the length of your hair and style as usual.
Commercial shampoos often contain a drying agent such as sodium lauryl sulfate, which gives the shampoo its lathering properties but also causes dryness and strips the hair of its natural oil. Using shea butter to condition your hair prior to shampooing fortifies your hair strands with essential fatty acids and oils to reduce the drying effect of the shampoo. Apply shea butter through the length of your hair and leave it for five to 10 minutes.
Shea butter is a versatile butter that can be liquefied for easier distribution. The liquefied butter can be massaged into your hair and scalp and left in overnight for maximum absorption and conditioning. Leaving shea butter in overnight encourages deeper penetration of its vitamins, oleic acid and minerals, and softens the hair shaft to reduce breakage and brittleness.
Shea butter contains high amounts of saturated fat, a necessary component for obtaining effective conditioning for hair. Shea butter can be used as an additive to your favorite brand of conditioner or used alone. Apply shea butter through your hair, detangle from root to ends, and place a steam cap or warm towel over your hair for an hour. The heat from the towel will help your hair absorb the conditioning properties in the butter. Rinse and style as usual.
Shea butter can be used as a moisturizing and strengthening hot-oil treatment. Warm the shea butter in a microwave-safe container until it is melted, then apply the hot oil on freshly shampooed hair and allow it to sit for several minutes before rinsing. The heat from the oil and the wetness of the hair creates a light steam that softens and conditions the hair.