Shea butter is a plant-based fat. Extracted through the mechanical pressing of shea nuts, it is renowned for its numerous benefits. Hydrating and nourishing, it is a companion for all skin types as well as hair. To take care of your hair, let's explore together the benefits of shea butter.
What are the benefits of shea butter for the hair?
Nourishes the hair.
Shea butter is a plant-based ingredient rich in fatty acids, vitamins, and phytosterols. This combination of active substances makes it highly sought after for dry and dull hair. Indeed, oleic and stearic acids are among the nutrients necessary for hair, making it more supple and softer. Acting in depth, they are as beneficial for the hair fibre as for the scalp. In addition, the other molecules ensure hair hydration by forming a protective film. When used on curly hair, shea butter helps to define curls while making styling easier.
Caution: the amount of shea butter used should vary depending on your hair type: fine hair will require a smaller quantity than thick hair.
Strengthens the hair fibre.
Shea butter is rich in essential fatty acids (stearic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acid) which enhance the resilience of hair. These molecules have a structure similar to the lipids that make up the hair cuticle. They are thus able to insert themselves where they act as intercellular cement. By contributing to the restoration and cohesion of the cuticle, the fatty acids also promote its impermeability and the protection of the internal layers of the hair fibre, such as the cortex. This is rich in keratin fibres, giving hair its flexibility and elasticity. Shea butter thus coats the scales, restores shine to the hair, softens the hair fibre and helps to prevent the formation of split ends.
Shea butter is used to eliminate oily dandruff. This is a cluster of dead cells resulting from the flaking of the scalp created when the skin renewal cycle occurs too rapidly. They are generally the result of an inflammatory reaction due to the presence of the Malassezia fungus, and its multiplication is encouraged by an excess of sebum. In combating inflammation and balancing the amount of sebum, shea butter limits these reactions. It also soothes the irritations and itching associated with them. Furthermore, shea butter acts on dry dandruff by reducing the flaking of the scalp.
Usage advice: Apply the shea butter directly to your scalp and massage your scalp.
Prevents hair ageing.
Just like skin, hair ages, whether due to the passage of time or the effects of oxidation reactions. This phenomenon is characterised by greying, dull and brittle hair. Thanks to its composition of vitamins A and E, shea butter possesses antioxidant properties that are beneficial in promoting the renewal of hair fibres, thereby preventing ageing. Indeed, these molecules act on the free radicals, which are responsible for cellular oxidation. They also stimulate blood circulation in the scalp, which helps to regenerate the hair fibre. In addition to its action against hair ageing, shea butter also strengthens the hair.
Protects the hair from UV rays.
The constituents of shea butter (phytosterols) also have a protective action against the UV rays of the sun. Prolonged exposure to these rays is known to weaken the hair fibre and dry out the scalp. Furthermore, the sun can alter hair colour, either lightening it or making it dull. By protecting your hair from UV rays, shea butter helps to prevent it from becoming fragile and maintains the vibrancy of your colour for longer. However, the action of shea butter can be enhanced with vegetable oils such as buriti oil.
To protect against UV rays, simply apply a small amount of shea butter directly to the hair before sun exposure.
To maintain its colour, it is recommended to use shea butter in the form of a mask. Mix a dab of pure shea butter with a virgin oil, according to your need. Apply the mixture to the entire wet hair, focusing on the ends. Leave it on and then rinse.
PEKER K. & al. Medicinal and nutritional benefits from the shea tree. Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare (2017).
BABY A. R. &al. Butyrospermum parkii butter increased the photostability and in vivo SPF of a molded sunscreen system. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2020)