Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Make Your Own Leave-In Conditioner

I've mentioned that I like to add a dollop of conditioner to my ends while my hair is still damp after washing. Sometimes my ends need a little more help, and at those times I like to use a recipe that was developed by Fox at the Long Hair Loom.

It's called Fox's Shea Butter Conditioning Cream. Shea butter is made from the extract of shea tree nuts that are grown in Africa. Shea butter has many uses, but is particularly good for the skin and hair. Among its many properties, it contains anti-oxidants, including vitamin E.

I should add that for some reason people with latex allergies often have an adverse reaction to shea butter, but otherwise, shea butter is very soothing to the skin and conditioning for the hair. It's even good for eczema.

It's important to use unrefined shea butter as it contains all of the vitamins and nutrients of the nut whereas refined shea butter loses some.  Also, if you're purchasing shea butter, make sure that you buy fair trade shea butter, so that you know that the workers who picked the nuts and processed them have been paid properly.

Shea butter has a very nutty odour that I like but many find unpleasant.  It is quite rich, and needs to be emulsified by rubbing between your hands if you want to apply it straight from the jar. Many people with coarse and/or thick hair can use it straight, but it's too rich for me.

That's why I use Fox's recipe. It's a bit lighter than shea butter alone, but it has the benefits of  the butter.

To make the conditioning cream you need shea butter, the oil of your choice and the conditioner of your choice.

I make very small batches, because a pea-sized amount is enough for each use in my case.  Here is the recipe and the amounts I use.  You may want to make more or less, depending on your length and thickness. This batch lasts quite a while for me.

1 tbsp Shea Butter
1 tbsp conditioner
1/2 tbsp oil (I use jojoba oil)
(optional: a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, for the scent)

I start by putting the tablespoon of shea butter in a small plastic container.  The shea butter is solid, so I submerge the bottom of the container in a little bit of hot water to melt it.  I then add the oil and the conditioner and I mix it very thoroughly with a fork. I find that a fork works best for this.

Once it's well mixed, it is ready to use.  It will be slightly liquid at first, but will cool down into a more creamy texture.

A little goes a long way, so try using less rather than more to begin with.

So if you're in the mood to try something a little different, you might like to try this recipe. I like it very much.

Love to all. 'Til tomorrow.


  1. Fabulous! Now...why don't you just come move in with me and take care of my hair for me??? You sure could only help it!

  2. I am certainly going to give this a try, my ends (no trim since April 22nd 2009) need all of the help they can get. I so need a trim, but am very distrusting of hairdressers. If my hair was longer I would trim it myself.


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