In my ongoing search for a scalp moisturizer, I have a new favorite: shea butter.
I had heard about shea butter about for years. I hadn't tried it because it cost a lot and seemed a kooky natural product of dubious merit and uncertain quality control. But dry skin and eczema on my scalp is now my primary problem. For several months I have been coating my head with Aveeno Daily Moisturizing lotion and feeling like I'm wearing a rubber bathing cap all day. It works OK but leaves something to be desired as a hair product. So I was up for trying new things.
Then, I found a jar of shea butter just sitting around on my four-year-old daughter's dresser. She has eczema and my wife must have bought the shea butter and tried it out without me knowing. (Cue the eye-rolling on my wife's part.) Anyway, the stuff was no longer in use, she informed me, so, having already paid for it, I was free to try it out.
The brand was True Blue Spa Too Shea, if you're interested. $17.50 for 3.5 oz.
It goes on like actual butter--it's hard at first, but you take a bit in your fingers and it warms up and melts a bit. Then you rub it on your scalp and once it's on, it stays melted.
It works for me because I buzz my head with a 1/2 inch clipper attachment. So I am not wasting too much of it on my actual hair.
The feeling is a little greasy but not terrible. Plus shea butter is actually used as a hair product. Would you believe I had a compliment on my hair earlier this week? The first in a very long time.
I looked into shea butter. It comes from the nuts of the shea tree in west and central Africa. It's a complex fat and apparently there is a wide range in quality. Someone named Samuel Hunter recently created the American Shea Butter Institute, which could well be a one-man operation for all I could determine, to certify various grades of shea butter depending on their oil content, melting profile, impurities and "rancidity values." Shea butter is edible, and therefore goes bad like real butter. (But no mention is made of refrigeration.)
I can't recommend one type or brand of shea butter to use, because it's not clear what would make one better than another. You just wouldn't want it to be rancid, evidently.
I don't search out natural products, because I don't think they're necessarily any better than manufactured moisturizers and so on, but shea butter is the best solution I've found so far for moisturizing my scalp.