How to Use Shea Butter on African American Hair

Written by maggie hira
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Shea butter is a natural moisturising product that is extracted from the shea nut and used in a variety of hair care products. Shea butter is particularly effective on dry, coarse hair that has been stripped of moisture due to over-processing treatments like relaxing, which is common among African American women. It is often used on African American hair because this type of hair tends to be drier than other types of hair. The tight curl in black hair prevents the natural oils from the scalp from reaching the entire shaft of hair, causing it to become brittle.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shea butter
  • Wide-tooth comb
  • Shower cap

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  1. 1

    Wet hair slightly. If you have just washed your hair, towel dry it to remove excess moisture. Hair should be slightly damp before applying the shea butter. Shea butter can be used in the same manner on African American hair that is in its natural curly state or has been relaxed.

  2. 2

    Put a quarter-sized amount of shea butter into your hand. If your hair is long, use more as needed.

    If you're using unrefined shea butter, rub the product between your fingers until it has softened significantly. Refined shea butter will already be soft and ready to use. Which type of shea butter you use is simply a matter of preference.

  3. 3

    Massage the shea butter into your locks beginning at the roots and spreading out all the way to the tips. Make sure to cover all of the strands.

  4. 4

    Run a wide-tooth comb gently through your locks for further dispersion of the shea butter. Optional: Cover with a hot towel for maximum absorption.

  5. 5

    Leave the shea butter in your hair for about 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse out with cool water. If hair is very dry, leave it in up to an hour.

Tips and warnings

  • Use shampoos and leave-in conditioners that contain shea butter as part of your regular hair care routine to keep hair shiny and pliable.
  • Moisturise with shea butter at least once a week to keep hair protected and soft.

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