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Your hair is just one of the crowns you possess as a beauty diva. Hair conditioning ensures tresses glorious enough for you to wear with pride. Shea butter is a common ingredient in conditioners that soothe and smooth your mane. It comes from the nut of the African shea tree, which makes it a natural choice for maintaining the natural beauty of your locks.
If your hair is dry and brittle, shea butter might be your beauty solution -- it is supposed to be a terrific moisturizer and protector for your strands. Shea butter also is said to put the brakes on scalp irritation and buildup. If your hair has flyaways or isn't as shiny as you'd like, a little shea butter might get your hair looking beautifully sleek.
Why It Helps Tresses
Compared to other natural products, shea butter is one of the richest sources of fatty acids -- as much of 17 percent of shea butter is fat. Fatty acids are what make up the natural sebum, or oil, your pores produce and which coat your tresses. They also are essential to the protein that makes up each strand of your mane. As you go about your business as your fabulous self, some of your natural oils are lost, often stripped out of your hair from shampoos. This is bad news for your locks, as the oils are what protect your hair from moisture loss and damage. Shea butter conditioners help replenish these oils and keep your hair protected. With less damage and more moisture, your hair looks healthier, doesn't have as many flyaways and doesn't break as much.
Why It Helps Your Scalp
Just like other conditioners, shea butter hair conditioner doesn't just help improve the appearance of your hair strands. It also helps your scalp. The fatty acids in shea butter naturally moisturize the skin of your head, keeping it from drying out and producing icky dandruff. With healthy skin, your follicles are able to get the nourishment they need so they can produce strong strands less prone to breakage. That's not the only trick shea butter can perform, however. It also has vitamins A and E, critical to keeping cells healthy and repairing damage, as well as cinnamic acid, a natural sunscreen.
How to Use It
If your hair conditioner already has shea butter, using it as part of your daily on-the-go beauty and hygiene routine is easy. Simply place the conditioner in your palm, rub your hands together a bit, and run your hands and fingers through your hair. Leave the conditioner in for the rest of your shower and rinse it out at the end. If you prefer, you can use shea butter by itself as a conditioner. It melts right around body temperature, so when you're in the shower, just grab a dollop and melt it in your palm. Apply and rinse the same way you do any other conditioner. Shea butter also is a great deep conditioner. Melt some on low heat in a sauce pan, apply it to your hair and scalp, cover your hair for about half an hour, adding heat from a dryer if desired. Then shampoo as normal. If your hair is really dry during the day, you can melt a little in your palm and run your fingers through your hair for a quick leave-in treatment.
Many hair product manufacturers add only a touch of shea butter to their conditioners. They understand the benefits shea butter has and want to capitalize on them, so they might promote these conditioners as shea butter conditioners when in fact many other ingredients are present in larger quantities. To get the most benefits from a shea butter hair conditioner, scope your store for one that lists shea butter at the top of the ingredient list -- ingredients are always listed in order of how much is in the product.