Credit: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of B Balaji
Women throughout the ages have sought out the best products that will condition, heal, moisturize and strengthen over-processed strands in order to create a healthy and radiant head of hair. With new technologies available, this generation is realizing the powerful healing and nourishing properties that exist within shea butter. Through proper extraction and utilization within conditioning treatments, luscious locks will result.
Credit: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Sudhamshu Hebbar
Shea butter has been utilized in regions across the African continent for many centuries. The Shea Tree is found in the central and western regions of Africa, the semi-arid Sahel, and this tree produces an eatable fruit that has nuts inside. These nuts are harvested and the oils withdrawn to create a pasty butter. The process required to obtain this precious butter is lengthy, from picking the fruit, extracting the nuts, drying, pounding and kneading the butter in order to create a usable resource. When this process is finished, a pasty yellow, white or green tinted substance will remain.
Two main varieties of shea butter are available commercially, the Vitellaria paradoxa and the Vitellaria nilotica. The more popular and widely available Vitellaria paradoxa butter grows extensively throughout the west and central regions of Africa, while the Vitellaria nilotica is more localized to northern Uganda and southern Sudan.
Credit: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jody McNary
Shea butter is known globally for its moisture content and natural ability to stimulate proper PH on the bodies surface. Your hair is created from a body protein called keratin, and is the same substance as the fingernails. When shea butters chemistry connects to skin tissue and keratin that creates the hair, intense moisture will balance the hair strands moisture calibration, and sustain that balance when utilized consistently.
As a conditioning agent, shea butter is an ideal protectant against harsh weather extremes, heat damage from styling, dryness and breakage. This butter is used extensively to repair the skin on the scalp in order to rehydrate the skin without making the hair overly greasy, or clogging pores. Very few allergies to shea butter have been noted, and this highly therapeutic balm can revive damaged hair, prompting proper, healthy growth.
Credit: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Mohammed Al-Naser
Unrefined shea butter is the best source to use when applying to the hair as a treatment. This is due to the high levels of beneficial nutrients that are alive and active in unrefined sources. An easy way to treat the hair is to apply the unrefined shea butter to damp hair after shampooing. If the butter is in a solid form, it will naturally melt with the skins temperature and absorb quickly into the hair and scalp. Allow your hair to dry naturally, and the shea butter will fortify the hair, the scalp and the follicles.
Another hair and scalp treatment that heals and nourishes is a blend of shea butter and olive oil. Use a double broiler to melt the shea butter into a liquid, then add extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil, approximately 1/4 of the volume of the shea butter, and you will have a soft, stimulating tonic.
Credit: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Saquan Stimpson
The tremendous health and beauty benefits of shea butter is becoming more and more understood throughout western nations. In the African nations that have appreciated this resource for thousands of years, the potential for the beautifying of hair through consistent application has created worldwide appeal.
The large amount of fatty acids within the organic material of shea butter creates moisture retention within the hair and supports elasticity, shine and strength. This butter extract has also been successful in promoting cell renewal which facilitates hair regeneration as well as increased circulation upon the scalp.