How to use shea butter for your hair and skin
If you like moisturized skin and healthy hair (and who doesn’t) then shea butter should definitely be in your beauty arsenal. This supercharged natural ingredient can transform dry skin and frizzy hair to smooth and soft. Unsure of what shea butter is exactly and how it works? Here, what you should know about natural shea butter.
What Is Shea Butter?
Shea butter is farmed in several countries in Africa, such as Gambia, Sudan and Burkina Faso, among others. Shea butter is derived from the seeds of the shea (or karite) tree. It’s filled with beneficial fatty acids such as stereic, oleic and linoleic acids, as well as vitamins, minerals and catechins. Both refined and unrefined forms of shea butter exist, and it’s refined shea that’s made into shea butter. It has many benefits for both your skin and hair.
Five Ways to Use Shea Butter
1. As a Moisturizer
Shea butter can help to moisturize even the most cracked, dry skin. Once applied to skin, shea butter takes on an oil-like texture and is readily absorbed by skin. It can help alleviate skin tightness and dry skin by restoring moisture. Shea butter can be used as a moisturizer all year round. In the winter in colder climates, when skin can be dry and flaky, it restores hydration and soothes your skin in places where you may be experiencing skin irritation or excess skin shedding. In the summer, it’s the perfect product to use after a day in the sun to restore skin hydration and calm your skin.
2. To Soothe Chapped Lips
Do you suffer from chapped lips? Shea butter can help. Shea butter is perfect for any kind of chapped skin—which tends to be especially common on the lips, especially in the winter—and helps it heal. Apply a little dab in the morning and the evening to make sure lips stay soft and smooth.
3. To Fight Dandruff and Scalp Irritation
Shea butter has soothing qualities, which can help calm your scalp particularly if you experience ongoing dry scalp. Use a small amount of shea butter and, sectioning off hair, massage it into your scalp in a circular motion. If you suffer from dry hair, too—in which case, you may have dull or frizzy hair—you can also comb the shea butter through your hair and let it set in for up to an hour as pre-shampoo before shampooing.
4. As a Smoothing Cream for Frizzy Hair
Coarse, dry, or frizzy hair (or all three) is no match for shea butter. If your hair always tends to get frizzy once it’s dry—or just feels more unmanageable than usual—use shea butter to touch up problem spots. Try smoothing down flyaway hair strands, giving hair a healthy sheen, or taking your frizz halo down a notch with it.
5. For Softening Hands
Shea butter is common in hand creams, since it can restore dry skin as well as smooth rough cuticles. If you want to wake up with soft hands, try this DIY overnight shea butter hand mask once a week. Mix a small amount of shea butter with brown sugar and a few drops of lemon juice. Rub your hands together to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. Wash off the mixture with soap and water, and then apply more shea butter to your hands and massage it into your skin. Once the shea butter absorbs, slip on a pair of gloves or socks and let it sink in overnight. You’ll wake up with soft, moisturized hands that look and feel it, too.