Shea butter is a wonderful natural ingredient that works well on skin and hair. In its natural form, it's a bit firm but easily spreadable. Whipping it makes it easier to get out of the container and apply to the hair. You can mix shea butter with a number of carrier ingredients; this tutorial uses coconut oil. The carrier keeps the whipped shea butter from re-hardening. Once whipped, you'll have a fluffy, ultra-moisturizing natural product that will give your hair a healthy sheen. Before we share our step-by-step how-to guide to whipping up shea butter to use on natural hair, we chatted with hairstylist and African Pride brand educator, Robin Groover about the benefits.
Meet the Expert
Robin Groover is the founder of Atlanta-based Too Groovy Salon and an African Pride brand educator.
"Shea butter is good for natural hair. My favorite benefits are the sealing properties, added moisture, and softening for hydrated, easy styling," says Groover. If you're dealing with scalp irritation, Groover says the nourishing benefits of shea butter can reduce inflammation and irritation on the scalp while protecting the hair follicles from environmental toxins and sun damage.
If you're dealing with scalp irritation, try oiling your scalp with shea butter a couple of days before your wash day as a pre-poo.
You can also use shea butter for styling and conditioning, depending on your hair's needs. "Shea butter mixed in conditioners and masks smooth the hair, eliminating frizz, tangles, and dullness," says Groover. Don't worry about the butter being too thick as the consistency can be altered with creams and oils for deeper penetration and easier spreading throughout the hair. For styling, Groover says, "Consider the hair density, porosity, and texture to determine the amount of butter needed."
Now that we have the details on why shea butter is ideal for natural hair, keep scrolling for a step-by-step guide on DIYing whipped shea butter.
Place Bowl of Shea Butter Over Boiling Pot
This is a variation of the double-boiler method (perfect for those of us who don't own double-boilers!). Place a small amount of water in a pot and boil it. Once it's boiling, remove from heat and place the bowl of shea butter over the pot. It will melt very quickly, which is why you need to remove the pot from the heat. Instead of placing over hot water, you can also microwave shea butter in a microwave-safe bowl, but you may lose some of the nutrients this way.
A Light and Fluffy Shea Butter Mixture
After about 20 minutes of whipping (if you have a large amount of shea butter, it will take longer), your mixture should be light, fluffy and thick, almost meringue-like. Whipping shea butter will increase the volume by two to three times, so having a container on hand to hold all of it is essential. Store your shea butter in a cool, dark place in a glass or plastic container; the refrigerator is not recommended because it may become grainy. Natural shea butter mixed with coconut oil or jojoba oil may last approximately six months to one year.
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