The shea tree is found in the tropical regions of Africa. Shea butter is a popular product derived from shea nuts. It’s used for formulations in the beauty industry for dry, dull and brittle hair.
What is Shea Nut Oil?
Shea nut oil is created via fractionation during the production of shea butter. The amount of shea nut oil produced during extraction is not as much as shea butter. This makes shea nut oil rarer and more expensive.
Shea Nut Oil Benefits for Hair
Shea nut oil is full of oleic and stearic essential fatty acids and vitamins A, E & F. Shea nut oil is a highly nourishing and moisturizing oil with the following benefits for hair:-
1. Softens Hair
Shea nut oil is rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E softens hair and makes it more pliable to style and detangle.
2. Restores Moisture
Due to the nourishing and hydrating properties contained in shea nut oil, it can restore lost moisture to hair by locking in products and preventing the loss of nutrients from hair.
3. Promotes Radiance and Shine
Shea nut oil gives dull hair radiance and restores shiny to dry locks. A little bit before styling leaves results smooth and shiny. It also prevents split ends.
4. Quick Absorption
Its lightweight texture ensures quick absorption upon application to wet hair.
Is Shea Butter & Shea Nut Oil the Same Thing?
Shea butter vs shea nut oil? Which is better for the hair? These are questions people ask a lot. I break down the similarities and differences between the two below:-
- The most obvious difference is the consistency. Shea butter has a thick butter consistency while shea nut oil is an oil.
- Shea nut oil is harder to come by than shea butter because it’s a by-product of shea butter making it more expensive.
- Shea nut oil is a much thinner consistency and doesn’t provide quite the same protection against the elements as shea butter does.
- The chemical composition of shea nut oil and shea butter is also slightly different. Shea butter has a higher content of stearic acid.
So which one should you use on your hair? In order to get the nutrients of shea butter without the heaviness, you can switch to shea nut oil. You can also use shea nut oil in your shea butter recipes for hair and skin.
Shea nut oil would also be more suitable for type 1 – 3 hair types while shea butter would be better for type 4 hair types.
How To Use Shea Nut Oil
Shea Nut Oil Deep Conditioning Recipe
- Mix 5 tablespoons of shea nut oil with your favorite deep conditioner.
- Apply to the length of your hair and deep condition with heat for better absorption.
Shea Nut Oil Hair Styling Oil
- In a 2 oz bottle, add shea nut oil (50%), castor oil (25%) and mafura oil (25%).
- Close the bottle and shake.
- Before styling your wet hair, apply a few drops of shea nut oil mix.
This styling oil will help define your styles, retain moisture and make your hairstyles shiny. Use as often as you like.
While you can use shea nut oil as a pre-poo, I prefer the way it leaves the hair using it after shampooing.
Shea Nut Oil for Skin
Shea nut oil is very popular in skin care products because of its moisturizing and nourishing properties. Vitamins A & E and essential fatty acids make it valuable in this aspect.
If you have very dry skin, adding shea nut oil into your regular body cream/lotion will assist greatly in restoring moisture and balance to your skin. You can also create your own body butter using shea nut oil as one of the ingredients.
Where to Buy Shea Nut Oil?
I buy my shea nut oil on Amazon. There are different brands but I prefer the organic, pure shea nut oil variety. I’ve made recommendations below:-
Shea Nut Oil Side Effects
If you are allergic to nuts, you should avoid shea nut oil. Have a look at the natural oils archives for a suitable substitute.
Shea Nut Oil Hair and Beauty Products
The next few articles will go into detail about shea butter and natural oils and share several awesome recipes as well.
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