Shea Moisture is one of my favorite natural hair brands, and a lot of their products have been staples in my regimen since my transitioning days. I believe I have tried almost every single one of their products. Their collection of hair masks are in constant rotation in my regimen. I have bought each one at least twice and some countless amounts of times. I almost feel like a SM mask connoisseur… No? Well, maybe just an enthusiast… Each mask has a special purpose for my hair, and I wanted to share my methods with others. If you’re looking to try a new mask for a specific reason, I may be able to help you out.
ABOUT MY HAIR: I have type 4a-4c hair. I have high porosity, fine strands. My hair is protein-sensitive and color-treated.
Here are some of the benefits of Shea Moisture products:
- They are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, paraffin, gluten (I didn’t even know gluten existed in hair products…), propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance/color, and DEA.
- They are cruelty-free.
- Their product line helps disadvantaged women.
- Their products are fair trade.
When I use each mask, I leave it on with a shower cap and sit under the dryer or sit under the steamer with no shower cap for 15-30 minutes. My views are based on how my hair reacts after using them in this way.
I will start in the order that I bought the masks:
I first bought this mask during my transitioning stage and I hated it. I would even combine it with olive oil, hoping that it would help my hair take the treatment better. It didn’t… The mask was too strong for my sensitive hair. This was also before I colored my hair, so it was mostly healthy. Frequent use, as in once or twice a week, was not working for my hair. I stopped using this product for a long time until recently. I used it in my pre-poo recipe a few weeks back, mixing it with other products as not to make it too strong, and my hair had never felt so moisturized! It helped my color damaged hair to feel healthier and stronger. Now, I use it every other week or every three weeks in my pre-poo treatment. Sometimes my hair can be really unresponsive, so I’ll throw this mask into the mix to revitalize my hair. I always use it when I clarify.
- Don’t use often if you have sensitive hair.
- Don’t use if moisture/protein balance IS in tact.
- Do not use with heat or for a long period of time if protein-sensitive or have general sensitivity.
- Use as a monthly treatment for hair revival, maybe after a clarifying shampoo.
- Mix/Dilute with a thinner rinse-out conditioner so you won’t oversaturate your hair.
2 – Yucca and Plantain Anti-Breakage Strengthening Masque w/ Baobab Oil & Cilantro Extract (Purchase Here)
For my hair, this mask does nothing to moisturize. It does, however, make my hair feel thicker. I use it as a pre-poo treatment to strengthen my hair before washing. This mask is also very vitamin-rich. It separates the strands very well, which creates easier detangling sessions. I use this mask before I detangle with a comb.
- Use to help detangle, especially with tools.
- Use to create appearance of thicker hair.
- Do not use after a protein treatment, but maybe as a substitute if your hair is very sensitive.
3 – African Black Soap Dandruff Control Hair Masque w/ Tea Tree Oil & Willow Bark Extract (Purchase Here)
This is my favorite out of all the Shea Moisture masks. The mask contains tea tree and kaolin clay, which help to remove build up from the scalp and absorb/dissolve impurities on the hair and scalp, making this mask a great co-wash option. As of now, it is my primary co-wash method. My scalp feels great and it leaves my hair so moisturized. Even though I use it as a co-wash, occasionally I sit under the dryer for a few minutes for deeper conditioning.
- Great to use as a co-wash.
- Best to soothe the scalp if you suffer from dry scalp or have a scalp condition.
- Great for detangling.
- Helps to clump hair together.
This mask always lasts me the longest because I get the least amount of use out of it. I strictly use this mask as a strengthening treatment before heat styling or rod sets. It specifies that it is meant for wavy, curly, and frizzy hair, but even though my hair is kinky, it still works great. It also helps to smooth the cuticle, which helps with detangling, making rod sets less frizzy, and easier blow-drying. When I use this before a perm rod set, I do not blow dry, but the mask gives the effect as if I had blow-dried my hair prior to styling.
- Use before straightening, blow drying, or using any type of curler.
- Use after shampooing.
- Combine with a light oil, like coconut oil or sweet almond oil, for extra moisture.
- Helps to clump hair together.
Out of my SM mask arsenal, this mask gets the most use and runs out very fast. It does 10 things, so why wouldn’t it?! I bought this mainly because I wanted to protect my hair color, which is one of the things it claims to do. I used it right after I dyed my hair and have been using it since. Now, I use it after almost every shampoo, and it helps my hair to retain moisture for long periods of times. Dying my hair has made it VERY dry and this really helps to keep my curl pattern and maintain proper moisture balance.
- Use if you have color treated hair.
- Great for repeated uses weekly or more than once-a-week.
- If you have thick, type 4 hair, I wouldn’t recommend this for detangling due to its thickness.
- Great for deep conditioning.
This mask was another one bought in an attempt to preserve my hair color. I love the fact that it contains Jamaican black castor oil, which is said to promote hair growth. I use JBCO in almost everything hair related and I was happy to find a product that already contained it. I like to use this mask when my scalp is feeling kind of funky. It also helps to soothe my scalp after shampooing, which can cause sensitivity for me in some areas. This mask has a lot of slip and I love that. It is very moisturizing and a great product to use for scalp massaging. I use this as a pre-poo or after-shampoo deep condition because it’s great for both. JBCO is really beneficial to your scalp for hair growth, but castor oil is super thick, making it a great sealant. Sometimes, I mix it with a co-wash that doesn’t properly moisturize my hair to get the effects of both: co-wash cleans my scalp white the hair mask helps my hair grow and seals moisture.
- Great to use for a sensitive scalp.
- Add to a co-wash conditioner to get extra moisture.
- Use as a pre-poo treatment or after shampooing.
- Focus mainly on scalp to get most of the benefits.
I hope this helps you to narrow down your search for a mask that does a certain job, or I hope it helps inspire you to try a new Shea Moisture Mask you may have been curious about.