Finding new ingredients to treat myself like a guinea pig is my favorite activity when it comes to my hair. Is it expensive? Yes, but in the words of Erika Jayne, it's expensive to be me. Of course, as a girl with textured hair, I love my butters—shea, mango, tamanu... regular butter, but that's mainly for bread—and when I discovered tucuma butter, I knew I was onto something. Tucuma butter is an ingredient derived from Colombian and Brazilian tucuma palm tree seeds. The seeds are pressed into a nutrient-packed rich butter, and the final product is similar to the more well-known murumuru butter. It contains antioxidant polyphenols and a high level of moisturizing fatty acids, and my hair loves it. If you're looking to add something new into your hair care routine, I asked a dermatologist, cosmetic chemist, and trichologist to explain why tucuma butter is a must-have for your hair.
Tucuma Butter for Hair
- Type of ingredient: Hydrating sealant
- Main benefits: Moisturizing dry or coarse hair, great for sealing in moisture during the winter months
- Who should use it: In general, anyone with dry, frizzy, dull, or damaged hair will benefit from tucuma butter.
- How often can you use it: Depending on your hair type, tucuma butter directly applied to the hair as a mask will be most beneficial if used once or twice a week.
- Works well with: Tucuma butter does not have any dangerous effects, but it can look greasy if applied in large amounts. Other oils such as Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Coconut Oil will balance out the buttery texture of the Tucuma butter.
- Don’t use with: Tucuma butter does not have adverse reactions with any specific ingredients, but it should be used as a finishing or treatment step rather than an everyday conditioner.
Benefits of Tucuma Butter for Hair
- Battles free radicals: Tucuma butter is full of antioxidant polyphenols, which means that it is adept at battling free radicals.
- Moisturizes hair: Because tucuma butter is full of vegetable silicone, that makes it a great moisturizer and easy to absorb.
- Provides shine: The high fatty acid content ensures more moisturized, soft hair and adds shine to the hair.
- Creates a protective shield: Being a vegetable silicone, tucuma butter can form a protective layer without clogging pores.
- Boosts vibrancy: Tucuma butter contains a ton of beta carotene, which becomes vitamin A, an essential vitamin for healthy hair.
- Revives dry/damaged hair: It helps nourish the scalp, making it good for hair growth and reviving damaged hair.
- Detangles: When blended with oil, tucuma butter can be a great natural detangling spray.
- Replenishes natural oils: Tucuma butter is high in fatty acids that are great for the hair, providing natural slip and shine for your hair
Hair Type Considerations
Tucuma butter is great for anyone with thick or coarse hair. Michelle Henry—a New York-based dermatologist, founder of the new Skin & Aesthetics Surgery of Manhattan, and clinical instructor of dermatology at Weil Cornell Medical College—explains that the butter may be too heavy for anyone with thin or fine hair, meaning it would weigh the hair down a lot. "Depending on your hair type, you can use it daily. People with coarse, curly hair can use it more often than people with thin or fine hair," she shared.
How to Use Tucuma Butter for Hair
The best way to apply tucuma butter is to take a few tablespoons and melting them down. "Once liquid, you can mix in any additional oils such as vitamin E oil, argan oil, or coconut oil," explains cosmetic scientist and founder of Acaderma, Shuting Hu. Let it sit in the fridge and apply it as a hair mask, leaving it in for about 30 minutes. "I recommend using the mask before shampooing or leaving it in as an overnight treatment for extremely dry hair," explains Hu. Trichologist and founder of Therapeutique Salon & Spa Lacy Fields emphasizes that the key to getting all of the benefits from tucuma butter is using it in liquid form. "One side effect for using Tucuma Butter is if you do not melt the butter, you will not get the proper benefits on your hair," she explained. Looking for products with tucuma butter? OBIA Hair Care Twist Whip Butter ($18) is a great option for hair care.