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Is Shea Butter a Moisturizer or Sealant for Natural Hair? (2024)

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is shea butter a sealantDid you know that shea butter has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy to heal skin and hair? It’s no wonder why this amazing beauty butter is still a staple in many people’s skincare regimen.

To answer this query, we must first understand what exactly shea butter is and its unique properties. Shea Butter is extracted from the seed of an African Vitellaria paradox tree, which produces oils that act like natural waxes; sealing in moisture while creating protective layers on both your skin and hair.

Therefore, not only does Shea Butter help retain existing moisture but it also helps form barriers against external elements such as dust particles or windy conditions – making it suitable to be used either before or after applying your favorite water-based product!

Key Takeaways

  • Shea butter forms protective layers on hair that lock in existing moisture.
  • Shea butter is best applied after using a water-based product to help retain moisture.
  • Shea butter creates a barrier to seal in moisture and protect the hair.
  • Airtight storage helps maintain the freshness of shea butter for use as a sealant.

What is Shea Butter?

What is Shea Butter
Shea butter locks in moisture like no other! Pure, unrefined shea butter comes from the African shea tree’s nut. It’s loaded with fatty acids and vitamins A and E that nourish, protect, and seal in hydration.

Unlike moisturizers, shea butter doesn’t add moisture – it acts like a sealing agent to lock in the hydration from your leave-in or water.

You can also whip shea butter with oils into a custom hair sealant. Applying it to damp strands seals in the moisture overnight. Come morning, your curls will be supple and hydrated. Shea butter is the original hair sealer for natural textures.

Does Shea Butter Moisturize or Seal?

Does Shea Butter Moisturize or Seal
Shea butter is not actually a moisturizer itself, but rather seals in moisture. Instead of using shea butter alone, apply it after water-based products to lock hydration into hair and skin for long-lasting softness and suppleness.

Seals in Moisture

Like a coat buttoned snugly around you on a blustery day, shea butter envelops each strand of hair to lock in moisture. With its high fatty acid content, shea butter forms a protective barrier that prevents hydration from escaping the hair shaft.

It works best when paired with water-based moisturizers, as shea butter alone does not provide hydration. Applying a moisturizer first infuses strands with water, then shea butter seals it in for maximized moisture retention.

For best results, reach for shea butter after washing and conditioning hair to seal in that hydration.

Doesn’t Provide Hydration

My friend, without water hydrating those thirsty strands first, shea alone will simply coat your hair.

To properly moisturize your hair and reap the full benefits of shea butter:

  1. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
  2. Apply a hydrating leave-in conditioner.
  3. Seal in the moisture with shea butter.
  4. Let your hair air dry or style as usual.
  5. Your hair will be left soft, hydrated, and protected.

Shea is an exceptional sealant for locking in moisture, but look to other products to provide the hydration your hair needs.

Using Shea Butter for Natural Hair

Using Shea Butter for Natural Hair
Your hair craves moisture and protection. Shea butter creates a protective layer over hair when applied after a water-based moisturizer, sealing in hydration.

Apply After Moisturizer

After spritzing your hair with a water-based moisturizer, apply the shea butter next to lock in hydration. Shea butter excels at sealing in moisture for hair protection. Its fatty lipids coat the hair shaft to prevent dryness.

Follow a lightweight, hydrating moisturizer with shea butter for optimally moisturized hair. Moisturize first, then seal with shea butter for maximum hydration benefits. This simple two-step process helps shea butter maximize your hair’s moisture content.

Creates a Protective Layer

Beware! Shea butter creates a protective barrier that traps moisture in your hair like a plastic seal. Shea butter coats your strands, locking in hydration. This protective layer allows your natural hair to retain moisture and softness.

Don’t believe the myth that shea butter alone moisturizes; it seals in existing moisture but does not provide hydration itself. For best results, apply shea butter after properly moisturizing your hair. Shea creates a nurturing cocoon, keeping your coils supple, sealed, and ready to shine.

Making Whipped Shea Butter

Making Whipped Shea Butter
Let’s get down to business and make some whipped shea butter. First, soften your shea butter by steaming it over a teapot and fold in any oils of your choosing. Then, using a hand mixer, whip the mixture until it reaches the desired texture, adding more shea butter or oil as needed.

Be sure to periodically stop mixing and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula so everything gets evenly whipped together. Keep whipping until the shea butter is light, fluffy, and smooth. If it starts separating, you’ve overwhipped – just gently fold in a bit more shea butter.

Your whipped shea butter is ready when it has a creamy, whipped texture that spreads easily but still holds its shape. Enjoy using your homemade whipped shea butter on your skin! It makes a wonderful moisturizer.

Softening the Shea Butter

Pour some steaming tea gently over the brick to soften it up before whipping it into a creamy sealant for your coils.

  • Place shea butter in a heatproof bowl.
  • Slowly pour hot water or tea over the shea butter.
  • Allow the shea butter to melt completely.
  • Stir occasionally until it reaches a creamy consistency.
  • Softened shea butter whips up light and fluffy for sealing in moisture.

The slow melting process is key to properly conditioning the shea butter and achieving that creamy texture perfect for nourishing those curls.

Adding Oils

Now blend in your favorite natural oils to enrich the whipped shea butter. Experiment with nourishing blends like jojoba, coconut, olive, avocado, or argan oils. Vigorously whip to fully incorporate the oils. Use more shea for a thicker texture.

Store in an airtight container to maximize shelf life. Ensure product authenticity when purchasing ingredients.

Whipping to Desired Texture

You’ll want to whip that lush blend until it’s silky smooth for sealing in moisture like a dream.

  • Use a hand mixer on low speed to avoid overheating.
  • Whip just until light and fluffy; don’t overbeat.
  • Add more shea for a thicker texture; add oil for a thinner one.
  • Fold in essential oils once whipped for added fragrance.
  • Let it sit overnight; the texture improves after resting.

The whipped shea butter’s texture can be adjusted during the whipping process to achieve your preferred consistency for sealing in hydration. Experiment with whipping techniques and mix-ins until you reach the ideal smooth and creamy texture.

Storing Shea Butter Properly

Storing Shea Butter Properly
Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the integrity of natural products like shea butter. To keep your shea butter fresh, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. As an expert in skincare ingredients, I am aware that proper storage helps natural products like shea butter retain their freshness.

Placing shea butter in an airtight container and refrigerating it will help the ingredient stay fresh and effective.

Airtight Container

Keep the whipped shea butter fresh by storing it in an airtight container. This will help protect its natural oils and maintain product quality.

Shea butter is a timeless skincare ingredient with numerous benefits. It softens dry skin, provides UV protection, and acts as a sealant for natural hair. To maximize these benefits, combine unrefined shea butter with other natural oils before whipping it into your desired consistency.

Store the mixture away from light or heat sources in an airtight container to keep it fresh.


You’d want to refrigerate your shea butter to keep it from going rancid. Refrigeration can help extend the shelf life of unrefined and refined shea butter by controlling temperature, moisture retention, and odor control as well as maintaining its beneficial properties.

Additionally, storing shea butter at lower temperatures slows down oxidation, which is essential for preserving natural oils in products like Shea Moisture’s or Donna Marie’s shea oil-based hair sealants that are popular among the natural hair community.


Shea butter can act as a protective sealant for hair. Just as a raincoat shields you from the storm, shea butter coats each strand, locking in moisture and nourishment. After properly hydrating hair with a water-based product, massage whipped shea butter from roots to tips.

Feel the softness and strength infused in the curls. With this simple step, unleash the natural beauty and shine of hair.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.