Shea butter is a soft ivory-colored fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree.
Benefits of Shea Butter to Hair:
All butters that can be used for hair have more or less the same benefits. They:
Cocoa vs. Shea Butter
Cocoa butter and shea butter are not perfect substitutes. Shea butter is soft and sticky, whereas cocoa butter is hard and brittle. Cocoa butter will tend to thicken/harden a product whereas shea butter will not.
Good Substitutes For Shea Butter:
In the cosmetics industry, seven butters are considered substitutes for each other: cocoa, illipe, kokum, sal, shea, mango and palm but they are not perfect substitutes.
The best substitutes to shea butter are: mowrah, cupuacu and mango butter. Mango butter is less moisturising than shea butter though because it contains more tannins.
If you use mango butter rather than shea butter in a DIY Hair Recipe you should add greasier oils to compensate for the less greasy mango butter.
- Both stearic acid and oleic acid condition and protect hair by fortifying it (shea butter better than cocoa butter)
- Linoleic acid helps with sealing in moisture (shea butter slightly better than cocoa butter)
- Palmitic acis helps to protect the scalp by locking in moisture so it doesn't get dry (cocoa butter better than shea butter)
I do like cocoa butter but I always use it in collabo with a much softer butter. I use 15% cocoa butter in my "Soothe Me" Whipped Butter and the texture is super, super creamy.
This means it will melt quite easily when you rub it in your hands to put it in your hair.
You might also like:
Neno Natural's DIY Hair Recipes
wikipedia.org, swiftcraftmonkey: on various butters and on shea butter (note that swift's focus is skin not hair), lush, hyperphysics, hairloss-research.org, humblebeeandme.com