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Home arrow Beauty arrow Hair arrow Shea Butter for Hair Growth: Uses and Benefits

Shea Butter for Hair Growth: Uses and Benefits

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: May 19, 2023
7 min read 912 Views 0 Comments
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Many people use shea butter to make their skin nice and smooth, but does it work for hair growth?

shea butter for hair growth

Shea butter lives in many haircare products, from deep conditioners to hair masks, to nourishing shampoos. There is a reason you see this ingredient on so many labels, and that’s because it promotes healthy hair growth. 

Being a natural creamy fat, shea butter can soften your hair and protect it against environmental damage. Vitamins A and E also dig deep into the hair shaft to fight away bacteria that may slow down growth. 

So, if your hair is currently in need of some TLC, you might want to learn more about shea butter and its magic properties. Keep reading to discover whether shea butter can boost hair growth. 

Does Shea Butter Help With Hair Growth? 

Yes, shea butter can stimulate hair growth by moisturizing, replenishing, and protecting your hair follicles. This natural substance contains triglycerides, antioxidants, and vitamins A and E.

Shea butter is a natural ingredient that many companies add to hair products. Shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks that use shea butter will often nourish and protect your hair strands. People with a healthy scalp tend to produce better hair due to the minimal bacteria and inflammation. 

It’s important to remember that shea butter won’t directly impact hair growth. The vitamins and minerals within this magic ingredient can replenish your scalp. Once your scalp is clean and healthy, it can better regulate new hair strands by extending the growing phase. 

Anagen is the growth phase in which 85% of your hair is currently. The only way to prolong this stage is to look after your scalp and use products containing shea butter daily.

What Is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a type of fat extracted from the shea tree. This tall plant is found in East and West tropical Africa. The butter usually comes from oily kernels within shea tree seeds. Most versions of shea butter are solid at warm temperatures and contain a range of vitamins and fatty acids. 

Organic shea butter has been around for centuries due to its nourishing and anti-inflammatory properties. One of its main uses includes skincare, as the antioxidants help treat acne, dry skin, and burns. 

However, you can also use raw shea butter in hair products, cooking oils, and cosmetics. The fatty acids will especially treat damaged hair, which makes it suitable for most hair types.

You can buy organic shea butter products or make it at home using a saucepan, raw shea butter, and coconut oil. 

7 Shea Butter Benefits for Hair 

Shea butter, when paired with other nourishing hair products, can make a huge difference. You may notice increased hair hydration and less breakage over time. It’s better to make or buy organic shea butter if you want to gain true benefits. 

Below are some benefits of using shea butter in your haircare routine: 

#1 Replenishes your scalp 

Shea butter can improve scalp conditions and build a healthy environment for your hair roots to thrive. Using shea-based shampoos or hair masks will remove dirt and ensure your scalp isn’t dry or clogged up. 

A replenished scalp removes dead skin, produces strong hair, maintains hydration, and gets oily less. 

#2 Hydrates the hair 

The hydrating properties in shea butter can help prevent dry hair. Vitamin E can retain moisture in your locks so that you don’t suffer from breakage or split ends. Furthermore, vitamin A regulates skin glands, which encourages your scalp to hydrate hair roots with natural sebum oils. 

For some people, greasy hair feels gross, but it’s important not to strip away those oils by washing your hair more than twice a week.

#3 Reduces inflammation 

One of the best things about shea butter is that it can reduce inflammation. It helps treat swelling and redness on your scalp, which prevents damaged hair follicles. You are more likely to lose hair if your scalp is constantly irritated. 

Lupeol cinnamate, a natural compound found in shea butter, also soothes your skin and hair roots. 

#4 Prevents hair loss 

Looking after your scalp can prevent hair loss and damage. The best way of doing this is to use a shea butter hair mask each week. Both vitamins A and E repair damaged ends, which can stop bits from snapping off when you’re brushing or drying your hair

#5 Alleviates dandruff 

A shea butter mask can treat dandruff by hydrating your scalp. The fatty acids work to prevent dryness, flakiness, and dandruff by maintaining sebum production on the skin. Sebum is a natural oil that hydrates your hair, so it’s important to protect your sebaceous glands from bacteria or dirt. 

#6 Stimulates hair growth 

Of course, shea butter promotes healthy hair growth by improving your scalp. The fatty acids and vitamins work to unclog your pores and fuel hair roots with essential nutrients. Those roots can then produce softer and thicker-looking hair. 

Some people might see a difference in the length of their hair after a month. Everyone is different, so it may take time for your hair to grow. 

#7 Combats frizz 

Shea butter can combat frizzy hair due to its smoothing properties. The butter itself coats each hair strand to reduce breakage and lessen the appearance of crazy hair. You can leave the shea butter on as a hair mask for 30 minutes, but make sure to gently comb through the product to ensure it’s well-incorporated. 

How to Make Shea Butter Cream for Hair? 

You can make shea butter at home if you don’t want to buy it. There are many variations, depending on what you want to do for your hair. For a curling cream, you can mix shea butter with aloe vera gel and coconut oil, but for a mask, you could use overripe avocados and sweet almond oil. 

Here is a recipe you can use to make shea butter for hair growth:


  • 1/2 cup shea butter
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 6 tsp of castor oil
  • 4 drops of CBD oil
  • 12 drops of your chosen essential oil 


  1. Melt the coconut oil and shea butter in your microwave. Always do this in 30-second bursts to ensure you don’t burn or ruin the ingredients. 
  2. Once those products are melted, you can add your essential oils and castor oil. 
  3. Let that mixture cool and solidify before applying it to your hair. For whipped versions, use a blender to create a fluffy and light texture. 
  4. Store the shea butter in an air-tight container and place it in your refrigerator to extend its expiration date. 

How to Use Shea Butter on Hair? 

There are a few methods to apply natural shea butter on your hair, depending on what you wish to achieve. For example, people who want to treat dry hair may use shea butter as a conditioner by leaving it on their ends for a few minutes.

Here are ways you can use shea butter when promoting hair growth: 


You can mix the shea butter with a nourishing shampoo and massage that into your scalp. Only focus the product on your scalp to wash away bacteria and dirt. Some people wash the shampoo out and then apply another layer of shampoo to ensure their roots are clean. 

For this variation, choose a shampoo that contains natural plant oils, aloe vera, chamomile, or raw plant extracts.


A homemade conditioner works best with whipped shea butter. Simply take some of that butter into your hand and gently lather your hair ends with it. Make sure all hair strands are coated before leaving the conditioner to sit for 3–5 minutes. 

You can also add the shea butter to an existing treatment. For best results, use a conditioner that’s suitable for your hair type, and contains hyaluronic acid, vitamins, rosemary oil, caffeine, or argan oil. 

Hair mask 

People mainly use shea butter as a hair mask. This is because it can penetrate each hair strand for a longer duration, which encourages more hydration and nourishment. All you need to do is apply whipped shea butter generously over your entire hair and leave that to sit for 15–30 minutes. 

Some people mix shea butter with emu oil as it is rich in omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids which greatly benefit the hair growth process.


Is shea butter good for low-porosity hair?

Shea butter is suitable for low-porosity hair types because it adds moisture and improves elasticity. You can use this ingredient as a natural mask to prevent dryness or split ends. Just make sure to use shea butter 1–2 times a week to prevent overstimulation.

Is shea butter good for the scalp?

Yes, shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties. This means it can reduce inflammation on your scalp and alleviate dandruff. The fatty acids and vitamins will also hydrate your hair by locking in moisture.

How long to leave shea butter in hair?

You should leave the shea butter hair mask on for 20 minutes before rinsing. For general conditioning, keep it on for 3–5 minutes. Don’t let this mask sit on your hair overnight, as it can lead to dryness and breakage.

A Word From a Trichologist

Shea butter promotes hair growth because it replenishes your scalp and stops bacteria from clogging your pores. Both vitamins E and A work together to reduce inflammation, which is suitable for those with eczema or dandruff.

Many people use whipped shea butter as a hair mask, as it increases moisture in the hair. To get this formula, add shea butter and olive oil to a stand mixer and blend those until it forms a light and airy consistency. You can use this natural hair mask 1–2 times a week to make your hair shine.

Even though shea butter is beneficial for your hair, it’s important to make other changes to your daily routine. Follow a balanced diet by eating foods like eggs, avocados, berries, spinach, seeds, and almonds. It’s believed that nutrient-dense foods can encourage your hair to grow fast.

Other simple changes include washing your hair once a week, avoiding heat styling tools, getting frequent haircuts, and taking vitamin supplements.


Shea butter contains essential fatty acids and vitamins that can transform your hair. You should mix this ingredient with coconut, olive, or tea tree oil to gain the maximum effects. Always use unrefined shea butter to protect your hair strands and maintain healthy hair texture over time.

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Rosmy Barrios, MD, is a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, the head of the anti-aging department, and a regenerative medicine specialist in several medical institutions with years of experience in aesthetic medicine and cosmetology.
The article was fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
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Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: May 19, 2023
7 min read 912 Views 0 Comments

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