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Derived from the nuts of the shea-karite tree, African shea butter contains high amounts of fatty acids with healing properties, reports the American Shea Butter Institute. African shea butter remains solid at room temperature and melts into the skin when it comes in contact with body heat. Three types of shea butter are available to consumers: raw, refined and highly refined. If you want to reap the true benefits of African shea butter, use a brand that is the least refined.

The Hair

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Apply African shea butter to your scalp for deep conditioning. Use your fingertips to massage the shea butter into your scalp, paying close attention to the nape of your neck, around your hairline and behind your ears.

Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Continue massaging for about 10 minutes. Run the African shea butter through your hair ends using a wide-toothed comb when the massage is complete.

Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Wrap your hair in a towel or plastic shower cap and allow the African shea butter to sit on your scalp for another 10 minutes. Rinse the African shea butter from your hair after the 10-minute waiting period, using a cool water rinse. Shampoo and condition your hair as normal.

The Skin

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Wash the skin of your face and body with warm water and a mild soap. Rinse the soap from your skin with a cool water rinse.

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Pat your skin dry with a towel. Apply the African shea butter to the skin of your face and body using your fingertips.

Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Massage the African shea butter into your skin using circular motions. As you massage, the heat of your body will melt the African shea butter, increasing its absorption into your skin.

Tip

A less refined brand of African shea butter will have shea butter listed on the information label as one of the very first ingredients.

Warning

Make sure that you have chosen a brand of shea butter trusted by the American Shea Butter Institute. Trusted manufacturers have a seal of approval on the label from the American Shea Butter Institute.

Raw shea butter is usually light yellow in color with a creamy consistency. With increased refining, the color turns to pure white. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on color alone when it comes to determining quality. Texture is also important. Quality shea butter should be smooth and creamy, not hard and greasy.

About the Author

Jonae Fredericks

Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.