Best Coconut Oil and Shea Butter for Hair

Written by: RKT Hair Care Team


Time to read 4 min

Differences: Coconut Oil and Shea Butter for Hair

Coconut oil and shea butter are contending ingredients used in many beauty products. They have different textures and scents but they fulfill a lot of the same roles when you think about them off the top of your head. So, what is the difference between them and what is the best coconut oil and shea butter for hair?

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an ingredient used in some shampoos and conditioners for its moisturizing properties and as an oil, it is great for the texture of products as well. Coconut oil is derived from fresh coconut meat or dried coconut meat called copra. The oils are extracted from the meat when it is pressed.

Coconut oil is an essential natural ingredient in high-end products because it is also great for strengthening and adding a glossy shine to your hair. 

Coconut Oil

Shea Butter

Shea butter for hair is different from coconut oil much like you think about how butter is different from oil. It is thicker in consistency, so they have the same purposes but are at different levels of execution. Shea butter is derived from the kernels within the seeds of shea trees. The kernels are ground into powder, boiled, and rise to the surface of the water to become solid butter.

Shea Butter for hair, like coconut oil, works to keep your hair moisturized, but instead of adding oils to your hair to do so, shea butter locks in the moisture present by acting as a layer of protective sealant. It is great for people with curly hair and detangling problems. 

Shea butter

Best Coconut Oil For Hair

Coconut oil is refined in different ways to serve different purposes ranging from being used as a cooking oil, a moisturizer in hair products, and an ingredient in skincare. However, the ways in which they are refined can also affect the quality of the product's intended use. An example of this is evaluating the best coconut oil for hair, which is coconut oil derived from fresh coconut meat.

Virgin Coconut Oil

The difference between coconut oil and virgin coconut oil is the meat it is processed from. Coconut oil is usually derived from dried coconut meat, aka copra, and this is the common way to make coconut oil because transporting dry coconut meat is easier. Virgin coconut oil is derived from fresh coconut meat, where there is usually some extra coconut milk. It is more difficult to mass-produce virgin coconut oil, but it is more beneficial to use virgin coconut oil because the unrefined coconut has more nutrition and fatty acids. 

Raw Coconut Oil for hair

The only time you should not use coconut oil in your hair is when it is raw coconut oil in your hair and you are suffering from a greasy scalp. Coconut oil is a moisturizer used for people with a dry scalp or in need of replenishing natural oils for their hair. If you have an excess amount of oil in your hair, you may end up looking greasy when using coconut oil directly on your hair. Many products contain coconut oil alongside a cleanser for your hair to replace the excess oil in your hair with coconut oil that is lighter and more fragrant, but coconut oil in its raw form should not be added to oily skin directly. 

Best Shea butter for Hair

Shea butter is a common ingredient used in cosmetics, and it is also used for cooking in African countries, the place where shea trees originate from, but it is best known to be a retainer of moisture for hair and skin products. The way shea butter is refined can differ depending on its purpose, so for hair it should be refined so that it is a nutrient-rich and fragrant sealant. 

Unrefined Shea Butter

The best shea butter for hair is unrefined shea butter. Unrefined shea butter has a nutty and smokey smell versus refined shea butter. It also has more nutrients and fats that aren't removed in the refining process, which can be applied to the skin and scalp for retaining a healthy glow. Unrefined shea butter for hair is best for repairing extensive damage such as brittleness and dried-out hair. 

Raw Shea Butter for Hair

Slathering raw or unrefined shea butter for hair is not recommended if you have excessively oily skin and a scalp that is prone to acne. In this case, refined shea butter in a processed product is a better option because it is lighter. Shea butter is a heavy ingredient in general, so if you have hair fine or medium hair, coconut oil may be the better option. Shea butter is better for people with thick curly hair which benefits from the protection that shea butter provides to curls that are easily damaged.

Combining Coconut Oil and Shea Butter for Hair

In combination, coconut oil and shea butter for hair are excellent in natural conditioners and hair products. They serve the cause of keeping your hair's moisture levels under control, but have separate ways of doing so as well as different textures and scents. RKT conditioner substitutes artificial moisturizers and texture with coconut oil and shea butter for natural, healthier results that leave your hair much lighter and fresher than it would be with silicones and artificial fragrance.

Coconut oil and Shea butter for hair are the primary ingredients you should always look for in products that treat your scalp well. It is easy to apply and remove these hair product ingredients from your hair when washing, so your scalp can breathe easily. For more information on what type of protection your hair needs, check out another ingredient Niacinamides, which is a great vitamin that supports your hair's moisture and scalp texture.

RKT Conditioner