Shea Butter Hair Cream
Taste of South Sudan presents a recipe for Shea butter hair cream. Raw unprocessed African Shea butter is the base for this cream, to which coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil and castor oil are added. The mixture of oils are melted, mixed, cooled in the fridge to harden, then whipped into a cream. Natural hair of African origin needs a lot of moisture. When dry, the hair becomes brittle, splits and breaks. Our grandmothers knew the combination of which naturally occurring plant oils and animal butters could be used to moisturize hair, knowledge which they passed on from one generation to the next. This Shea butter hair cream mixture is gentle, replenishes essential moisture and oils to hair and scalp, thereby promoting growth and minimizing breakage. In addition, there are no chemical additives or fillers with unknown harms.
Shea Butter usage
In South Sudan, Shea butter is called Lulu oil, the same name as the tree it is harvested from, called Lulu tree. The scientific name for the Lulu tree is Vitellaria paradoxa. This tree is indigenous to the dry Savannah belt across 19 countries in Africa extending from Benin, Burkina Faso to Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. The West African Shea butter has different percentage of fatty acids. Whereby the West African Shea butter stays solid at room temperature, and the East African variety maintains a liquid consistency at room temperature and a whiter color. Shea butter has many uses. In the village of Yei in South Sudan, my grandmothers use it to cook food. The cosmetic industry has discovered its superb antioxidant and moisturizing properties. Europe and North America import large quantities of Shea butter for incorporation into soaps, makeup, skin creams and emollients, and hair shampoos and moisturizers. Shea butter is rich in Vitamins A and E, and phytonutrients that work in healing the skin. Shea butter is used to treat eczema, rashes, sunburns, to fade scars and wrinkles and of course to smoothen the skin. My friend from Guinea-Bissau describes how her relatives use Shea butter to combat painful cracked skin from the Harmattan; the dry dusty wind blowing from the Saharan desert.
Shea Butter Hair Cream Recipe
4 oz: Raw natural Shea butter
1 oz: Coconut oil, unrefined
1 oz: Avocado oil
0.5 oz: Olive oil
1 teaspoon: Castor oil
10 drops: Lavender essential oil, or your favorite essential oil
In a metal container, measure out your ingredients. I was making a large batch, therefore I multiplied all ingredients by 4 for the mix shown in this post.
- Set up a double boiler. Basically set a metal saucepan with boiling water, and then place a smaller metal pot containing your ingredients that will float on the water in the first pot. Melt the Shea butter cream mix. As the ingredients start to melt, remove the container from the boiler and mix. We do not want the oils to overheat and destroy all the nutrients in them.
- Place your melted ingredients in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours to harden.
- Remove melted ingredients. Add 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. I used lavender to add a nice smell.
- Whip the mixture using a handheld electric mixer on medium setting for 20 to 30 minutes. Whipping is complete when the mixture is light and fluffy, resembling whipped cream.
- Spoon into glass jars, and seal. One trick I use is to place the mix into a ziplock bag, cut one triangular edge, then squeeze Shea butter hair cream into glass jars to layer up neatly. Shea butter hair cream is ready to use.