Shea butter is made from the fat extracted from the nuts of the Shea Tree, a plant native to West Africa (almost all of the shea butter used today still comes from this region). It, of course, has long been a staple for those with curly, coily, and kinky hair as it has tons of uses (not to mention: It’s a great body hydrator, too).
Shea butter falls into a moisturizer category called an emollient, meaning it deeply nourishes the hair to create a softer, smoother texture. In fact, trichologist and founder of Colour Collective Kerry Yates calls it, “A super emollient,” because it’s rich in vitamins A and C as well, both of which contribute to bouncier hair.
Just taking a quick peek at the nutrient profile of the butter1 will show you just how healing it is: It contains several types of fatty acids that are naturally found to balance skin like linoleic, palmitic, stearic, and oleic fatty acids; it also contains vitamin E, a potent and oil-soluble antioxidant that can help fight free-radical damage; and triglycerides, which are known to help condition both skin and hair.