Friday, 3 October 2014

How I Use Shea Butter

IG: @naturalinlondon
When I first started my natural hair journey err'body spoke about the miracles of Shea butter. It seemed like every blogger and every YouTuber that had anything to do with natural hair was also a member of Sheanity. And so of course, newbie that I was, I wanted in. So I scoured the Nigerian markets of east London until an ori source was found and proceeded to baptise my strands with shea as if application alone will get me to hair heaven.

Now, I was disappointed because this thing that had been touted as divine nectar did not transform my chronically dry coils into silky moisturised curls,  nor did it 'seal' in moisture for any longer than anything else did. In fact, it just seemed to make my hair look duller. So after about a year of trying to use it in 25 different ways I threw up a deuces sign and two stepped away from my shea jar.

A year after my two step, prodigal son that I was, I returned to shea to see if we could work things out. See at this point, I was completely disillusioned of all things pertaining to natural hair and more specifically; my natural hair. I no longer looked at my hair type as a symptom of a problem and now understood that my hair will always look and feel and behave the way it does because that is how it is suppossed to. So this time when I approched the shea throne my bathroom cabinet I wasn't expecting extracts of the inside of a unicorn horn that had been steeped in the tears of a leprechaun for a thousand years. I understood that by definition, a butter cannot moisturise. However, I also understood what emolliants were, and that shea butter can have a softening effect. So armed with this knowledge I carried out informed experiments with shea butter.

So now, years later, this is what I use shea butter for. If I'm doing any kind of long term style, like my annual mini twist set. I will braid or twist with my shea butter mix. During the time when my hair is braided or twisted (nornally two months)  I do not mositurise. At most I might reapply some butter mix to my ends every fortnight. When it's time to take down the style, my hair is at it's softest and I feel like my head is covered in lambs wool. Seriously.

If at any point I want to stretch my hair for something, I will apply my shea butter mix to dry hair and braid. Nothing (heatless) stretches my hair like shea butter. If I want maximum stretch I will do this every night for like four days. By the end of it, my hair looks almost like a blow out. If I wanted really stretched hair I would use thread instead of braids.

So that's it. Now instead of being disappointed by myths and folklore, I am able to truly appreciate Shea butter for what it can actually do for my hair. Do you use shea butter? If so how do you use it and have you always used it that way?

I hope this post finds you well!

Rella x


  1. I use my shea butter mix to seal my ends after moisturising. I usually use it in the Autumn-Winter months.

    1. Hey Bumper,

      I can definitely see shea butter helping out in the cold weather! I think my hair prefers my shea mix when it's in briads/twists and then a heavy cream that has shea butter in it when I'm handling/styling loose hair.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment :)