Different butters perform each of these functions to different degree therefore it is better to compare one butter to another rather than just stating what a butter does. Shea butter offers a little protection from UV light because it contains something called cinnamic acid ester.
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.
Compared to cocoa butter shea butter has a little more stearic acid, oleic acid and polyusaturated fats but about 3 times less palmitic acid.
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.
Melting Point Of Shea Butter: 37 °C (99 °F), i.e. body temperature.
This means it will melt quite easily when you rub it in your hands to put it in your hair.
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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
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward