Is raw shea butter a proper hair moisturizer?

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I've been using raw shea butter as a moisturizer for a few months now and it does keep my hair soft for a few days but I've noticed my hair is breaking more.
I know its not a protein overload because my hair doesn't feel hard at all and I use Aubrey Organics Swimmers Conditioner as a protein treatment every 1.5 months and its really light.
Im beginning to think it is because of the shea butter. A comb has not touched my hair in weeks, i finger detangle after a dc and wear my hair in a bun until the next dc.
What could be causing the breakage? Should I be using a water based moisturizer instead?
Im also transitioning but there still should not be breakage like this.
Last Relaxer: Nov. 07
BC: May. 2010 (30 months)
Hair Type: thick 4b/4a
Current length: back at APL
Goal length: hip
Staples: natural growth aides
From what I understand, shea butter itself is not a moisturizer, it is a sealant. You put it on to seal in the moisture. Some women just use shea butter on damp, freshly washed hair (like RusticBeauty on youtube) and have had amazing results. If you are just using shea butter on dry hair then your tresses may be thirsty. Try putting your leave in conditioner or a spritz then shea.
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I agree with Afrikurl. Shea will seal in moisture already there but it won't give it.
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Do you ladies know of any vegan water based moisturizers?
Last Relaxer: Nov. 07
BC: May. 2010 (30 months)
Hair Type: thick 4b/4a
Current length: back at APL
Goal length: hip
Staples: natural growth aides
I use vegetable glycerin (1:1 with water) as a moisturizer.
Last Relaxer: 09/19/08
BC: 01/30/09
Misc: 1st time going natural was '94-'98; 2nd time - '99-2003; This time I will not go back to relaxers.
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Do you ladies know of any vegan water based moisturizers?
Originally Posted by Stephanie198907
You can't get any more vegan than water. Aloe is good for moisture, too. You'll still need some type of oil or butter to seal in the moisture.
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Mix 2-3 tbls of Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose condish with water or aloe vera juice, vegetable glycerin and essentail oils of your choice. That works a treat.

I always have this mixture in an 8oz spritz bottle.
My hair does not like Shea butter so coconut oil and jojoba oil are staples for me. I use jojoba oil on my scalp and coconut oil on my ends.

M.x
ita with all the posts. spritz first, seal with shea. or mix shea with oils so its creamier. works great as a pomade to lay down edges. hth
The 411:
Detangle: HE Hydralicious,Inecto Coconut Oil Condis,Yes to Carrots,HE Hello Hydration
Poo:100% African Black Soap
DT: molasses, AO HSR, EVOO, coco milk, LustraSilk Shea Butter, castor oil,shea
Leave-In: Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier, Qhemet Detangling Ghee,Shea,AO HSR
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Mix 2-3 tbls of Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose condish with water or aloe vera juice, vegetable glycerin and essentail oils of your choice. That works a treat.

I always have this mixture in an 8oz spritz bottle.
My hair does not like Shea butter so coconut oil and jojoba oil are staples for me. I use jojoba oil on my scalp and coconut oil on my ends.

M.x
Originally Posted by madamx
do you think this moisturizer would work with the AO swimmers conditioner even though its a light protein? Honeysuckle rose never really moisturized my hair and aloe makes my hair dry and coconut oil makes my scalp itch so I guess i'll replace that with castor.
What do you suggest as a replacement for aloe vera gel?
Last Relaxer: Nov. 07
BC: May. 2010 (30 months)
Hair Type: thick 4b/4a
Current length: back at APL
Goal length: hip
Staples: natural growth aides
Dido on shea as a sealant. Shea butter is pretty heavy so you may need something ultra moisturizing underneath. If the spritz works for you, great. If not, here are a few leave-ins that can be used underneath.

Qhemet Burdock Root Buttercream - 98% natural, not sure about vegan. Very nourishing for new growth and natural hair.

Giovanni 50/50 conditioner (I use it as one of my leave-ins, doesn't feel like a sticky conditioner, but very nourishing and moisturizing) - I believe it's vegan.

Giovanni direct leave-in -Works great for lots of people. The protein in it aggravated my hair, but it may work well for you. They have sample sizes of Giovanni conditioners at most Whole Foods so check them out. I believe the conditioners are vegan.

Look for creamy leave-ins with minimal oils since you want them to penetrate your hair, not seal. The shea will do the sealing for you. Smooth them on your wet hair, then use just a little shea and pat or smooth that over it. Shea goes a long way and using too much can result in brittle and possibly breaking hair. I've had that happen to my ends before. Also, don't use a conditioner specified as a strengthener (some but not all protein conditioners) in a leave-in mix because that will overload your hair. Protein co's are meant to be washed out. hth.
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BC Sep. 2007
Nope, I used to use shea as a moisturizer for awhile and my hair would feel so dry and rough like a brillo pad by the next day. And then I would try pour oil on to make it soft again. And I would do all this to dry hair. Boy was I completely lost, trying to use two types of sealants on dry hair to keep my hair moisturized. lol

I finally figured the trick out. I apply a water based conditioner to very wet hair (my hair really likes a little coconut oil mixed with my conditioner but that's just me and I figure coconut oil can also help moisturize, it's supposed to be a very penetrating oil, not completely a sealant), then shea butter and then for good measure seal with oil. I then did some twists (adding a little more coconut oil to my fingers as I twisted) and I am telling you my twists have never looked so plump and shiny.

I let the twists out yesterday to wear as a style and it was my most defined twist out yet. My hair still feels soft 5 days and counting after wash day!!! That has never happened to me before. I don't know which step it was- applying products while hair was still wet, the coconut oil which my hair loves, the water based conditioner, the shea or the leave in carrot oil on top. I suspect it was a combination of all of it.

I lightly rewet every couple days and reapply some shea butter and oil. I am loving sealing and shea butter now that I figured it out. They won't moisturize your hair in the least but they are great at sealing in moisture.

The moral is the steps you moisturize in really are important, and don't be afraid to use multiple products. I thought it was too much to leave in a rinse out conditioner and deep conditioner, a butter AND an oil on my hair but for tighter curls (which tend to be porous) you really can't do enough to keep moisture in. The result is fabulous.



EDIT: If you try this, do not use HEHH. I later experienced breakage from leaving in that conditioner.


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Last edited by KinkyKeeper; 05-14-2009 at 01:13 AM.
Were you applying shea butter to wet hair or to dry hair ?

http://www.habanim.org/en/index_en.html
Were you applying shea butter to wet hair or to dry hair ?
Originally Posted by taltal
dry
Last Relaxer: Nov. 07
BC: May. 2010 (30 months)
Hair Type: thick 4b/4a
Current length: back at APL
Goal length: hip
Staples: natural growth aides
Were you applying shea butter to wet hair or to dry hair ?
Originally Posted by taltal
dry
Originally Posted by Stephanie198907
That's probably the problem.
Shea butter should be applied to wet hair, that way your hair has been moisturized by water and the shea butter keeps the moisture in.

Meanwhile, try using good quality olive oil to strengthen your hair. Apply about half a cup of olive oil to your hair , leave it on for at least half an hour and then wash as usual.

HTH

http://www.habanim.org/en/index_en.html

Last edited by taltal; 02-05-2010 at 11:23 AM.
You may want to,

1) Heat your shea butter to make it more of a liquid. I mix in essential oils when the shea melts

2) Section your hair (I usually have about 4 to 5 sections)

3) Spritz a section at a time with water and then use your finger tips to apply the melted shea butter. I like to smooth the butter into the sections.

4) You can then braid the section

I usually get great results for my braids outs using shea butter this way.
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Trinigirl
Last relaxer 8/20/08
Mostly 4a , fine hair type, low porosity
Using all natural products
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Last edited by taltal; 02-08-2010 at 10:38 AM.
Have you considered using an oil to condition instead like safflower, olive, almond, jojoba, or coconut.

I've developed a theory that sometimes hair can be uber picky about which proteins it plays well with. Because I experienced similar results from Shea butter. I tried it on wet and dry hair; I whipped, I melted it, I used it raw; I tried products that have it as a main ingredient like mixed chicks. Every time I tried it'd go in easy enough but my results were always a frizzy, dry, abnormal shrinkage, and breakage. I kept trying it again and again because the Curlies I know swore by it, but when all is said and done I had to accept the fact that my hair hates it, and experiment to find what does work for me instead.
It is possible the shea butter may not be causing the breakage that you are experiencing. Shea butter can be used on hair wet or dry. It is a sealant, however, if you drink lots of water and up on vitamin intake, enough moisture should already be present in the hair. I'm curious to know what grade of shea butter was used from those that experience breakage. I have had great results using avocado butter, or heating sesame seed oil with hibiscus for more growth and moisture.

Last edited by peach30; 03-13-2012 at 12:26 PM.
Do you ladies know of any vegan water based moisturizers?
Originally Posted by Stephanie198907
Virgin coconut oil, its the best. It the only oil that can penetrate your hair shaft and it water moisturizer.
This method workd wonders for me too! I really like the "wave" pattern my hair gets when I flat twist my hair then ONLY fluff the roots. Add an accessory & I'm good.
QUESTION: What brand of shea butter do you use?

You may want to,

1) Heat your shea butter to make it more of a liquid. I mix in essential oils when the shea melts

2) Section your hair (I usually have about 4 to 5 sections)

3) Spritz a section at a time with water and then use your finger tips to apply the melted shea butter. I like to smooth the butter into the sections.

4) You can then braid the section

I usually get great results for my braids outs using shea butter this way.
Originally Posted by Trinigirl

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