It’s that time of year again, winter is here and everyone is concerned about dry, unruly hair. Naturalistas are searching for products that will keep moisture in and make hair soft and manageable through the long winter. Aside from a basic hair care routine what we put on our hair can go a long way in helping to retain moisture, improve hair strength and increase manageability, regardless of the season. Natural butters are common ingredients used in haircare products to boost vitality and appearance. Some like shea, are already widely used but there are others. This post will discuss the many benefits of natural hair butters on naturally curly, kinky and coily hair and how you can incorporate them in your haircare regimen.
Composition and benefits
Natural butters are typically extracted from the seeds of various fruit/nut trees. The fat that is extracted from these seeds often yields rich, thick butters that are comprised of key nutrients that are central for healthy skin and hair.
To varying degrees all butters are made up of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and plant extracts. In combination these components will help to seal in moisture, strengthen and nourish hair, and boost shine. But it is the distinct combination of these vital nutrients that make each butter unique and make them ideal for various uses.
Fatty acids (saturated, unsaturated, and monounsaturated) play an important role in overall hair health. Because natural butters are high in saturated fats they are able to effectively penetrate the hair shaft. The fatty acid combination is unique to every butter. Fatty acids are natural emollients that work to:
• soften the hair
• increase its ability to retain water
• prevent split ends
Vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin E, C, A, iron, etc) are the keys to strong, healthy hair and they can provide a multitude of benefits:
• antioxidant protection from environmental free radical attacks
• increased growth
• increased strength, shine and lustre
• inhibition of premature greying
Plant extracts like phytosterols and polyphenols are plant derived moisturizers that are capable of penetrating the hair shaft.
• Phytosterols provide anti-irritation and anti-inflammatory properties that help to repair and condition dry, irritated scalps and repair sun damage
• Polyphenols are important for hair loss prevention and hair growth
• In combination they have excellent antioxidant properties.
The list of natural butters is exhaustive, but there are a few stand outs that are gaining popularity in natural haircare products, and have shown to be effective for afro-textured hair. Get to know them better.
Due to its moisturizing and healing properties, shea butter is widely referred to as a natural conditioner for hair. It is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree, Vitellaria paradoxa, and is rich in triglycerides (fats), vitamins, and antioxidants. Because of its exceptional healing properties, the shea tree is also known in some parts of Africa as the karité tree or “tree of life”.
• anti-inflammatory properties that sooth dry, itchy scalp and dandruff
• improves hair growth
• improves overall hair health
• locks in moisture
• easily absorbed
• moisturizes hair from roots to tips
• protects hair against harmful free radicals, harsh weather conditions, and sun exposure
Shea butter has a rich history and has been used for thousands of years. It is widely used in skin and haircare products.
The avocado tree is native to South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean islands. Using a unique hydrogenation process the butter is created from the avocado fruit oil and yields a soft, yellow-green butter. It is rich in essential nutrients, fatty acids, and vitamins.
• natural conditioner
• moisturizes and heals dry damaged hair
• natural heat protectant
• provides sheen
• improves strength
Theobroma cacao or the cocoa tree is native to the tropical regions of Central and South America. The cacoa seeds are world reknowed for their use in chocolate making but cacao butter is also used in skin and haircare products. Cocoa butter has a high Vitamin E content and it is rich in minerals and vitamins. Its fatty acid combination makes it a superior moisturize and may be particularly effective for those with thin hair.
• restores moisture without clogging pores
• increases volume
• strengthens hair
• alleviates dry, itchy scalp
• stimulates hair growth
• excellent protectant from chemical and chlorine damage
The mango tree is native to South and Southeast Asia. Due to its worldwide distribution it has become one of the most cultivated fruits in the tropics. It is similar to cacao and shea butter in its composition. It is an ideal moisturizer, as well as an effective anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent.
• protects against UV rays
• increases moisture retention
• improves hair growth
• anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial
Many of our brands use these butters in their formulation as feature items. Shop our brands to find a product that’s right for you.
Butter love may be just what your hair needs, this winter and throughout the year.