By Chin­we of Hair and Health

I think it is safe to say that almost every nat­u­ral knows about coconut oil, olive oil, cas­tor oil and shea but­ter for hair care.  While each of the­se oils and but­ters are great, there are some rel­a­tive­ly lesser known ones that might be worth try­ing..

1. Aloe But­ter


Aloe but­ter is extract­ed from the aloe vera plant using frac­tion­at­ed coconut oilIt is not to be con­fused with shealoe but­ter but does have some sim­i­lar­i­ties.


- It is not expen­sive com­pared to shea but­ter. If you find the right source, aloe but­ter can be as much as 25% cheap­er than shea but­ter, if not com­pa­ra­ble in price.

- It is light, mois­tur­iz­ing, and not too greasy.  Some love this but­ter because it is mois­tur­iz­ing like shea but­ter but with­out the greasi­ness.  It is also very light, melts imme­di­ate­ly on the skin and will not weigh down the hair.

- There is no “nut­ty” smell.  You know how unre­fined shea but­ter can have a strong nut­ty smell?  Well you won’t have that with aloe but­ter.


- Use it straight or mix with oth­er but­ters.  Aloe but­ter can be used alone (since it is already soft and mois­tur­iz­ing on its own) or mixed with oth­er but­ters.

- Use it to enhance your mois­tur­iz­er. Add some aloe but­ter to your mois­tur­iz­er to make it even more mois­tur­iz­ing.

2. Babas­su Oil


Like coconut oil, babas­su oil is extract­ed from a ker­nel of the palm tree fam­i­ly – the babas­su tree, to be exact.  More impor­tant­ly, it has a sim­i­lar com­po­si­tion and pro­por­tions of fat­ty acids to that of coconut oil.  (The fat­ty acids include lau­ric, myris­tic, palmitic, stearic, and ole­ic.) If you desire some the ben­e­fits of coconut oil but (for what­ev­er rea­son) dis­like the actu­al oil, you might want to con­tin­ue read­ing …


- It’s low­er on the come­do­genic scale.  One down­side to using coconut oil is that it is high on the come­do­genic scale.  Babas­su oil, on the oth­er hand, sup­pos­ed­ly doesn’t clog the pores as much.  If you are prone to get­ting acne from coconut oil, try  babas­su oil instead.

- It does not leave a greasy feel.  Unlike coconut oil, babas­su oil lacks a greasy feel after appli­ca­tion. Some even say that it appears to pen­e­trate bet­ter than coconut oil.

- It is not expen­sive.  Depend­ing on where you make your pur­chase, babas­su oil is com­pa­ra­ble in price to coconut oil.


- Use it to seal your ends.  After a fresh wash and con­di­tion, apply a lit­tle bit of the oil to your ends.  A lit­tle goes a long way.

- Use as a pre-sham­poo treat­ment or to enhance a con­di­tion­er.  Use babas­su alone or with oth­er ingre­di­ents as an overnight pre-poo treat­ment.  Add some melt­ed babas­su oil to your con­di­tion­er for an enhanced con­di­tion­ing treat­ment.

- Use it to whip shea but­ter.  Mix a lit­tle babas­su oil with shea but­ter (and oth­er oils, if you wish).

3. Cupuacu But­ter


Cupuacu but­ter is start­ing to attract some pop­u­lar­i­ty but has been under­rat­ed for a while.  If you don’t know much about it, you might want to con­tin­ue read­ing …


- It is an excel­lent emol­lient.  Cupuacu but­ter has soft­en­ing and sooth­ing prop­er­ties almost like shea but­ter, but some claim bet­ter.  It also has an amaz­ing abil­i­ty to retain water, thus retain­ing mois­ture in dry hair.

- It has emul­si­fy­ing prop­er­ties.  This but­ter is said to aid in the sta­bi­liza­tion of an emul­sion.  (An “emul­sion” is a sys­tem — as fat in milk — con­sist­ing of a liq­uid dis­persed with or with­out an emul­si­fier in an immis­ci­ble liq­uid usu­al­ly in droplets of larg­er than col­loidal size.)


- Use it straight or mix with oth­er ingre­di­ents to make a whipped but­ter.  Cupuacu but­ter can be used alone (since it is already soft and mois­tur­iz­ing on its own) or mixed with oils, oth­ers but­ter, or aloe vera gel to cre­ate a whipped hair but­ter.

- Add to a con­di­tion­er.  Add some cupuacu but­ter to your con­di­tion­er to make it more mois­tur­iz­ing.

- Use as a styling agent.  Cupuacu but­ter can be used alone or mixed with a gel for twist­ing, twist outs, braids, braid outs, or for use as a gen­er­al styling agent.

4. Lano­lin or Lano­lin Oil


(Dis­claimer: Lano­lin is not rec­om­mend­ed for use by those who have wool allergies.)

Lano­lin is a nat­u­ral, waxy sub­stance extract­ed from the wool of sheep (and in rare cas­es, oth­er wool-bear­ing ani­mals).  Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it has been labeled a “bad” ingre­di­ent in cer­tain hair care com­mu­ni­ties, pos­si­bly because it is a bar­ri­er to water.  How­ev­er, that “bar­ri­er” prop­er­ty of lano­lin can be very use­ful in oth­er are­nas of hair care.


- It seals in mois­ture.  Lano­lin is secret­ed by the seba­ceous glands of sheep in order to pro­tect the skin and wool from the harsh envi­ron­ment.  It would then not seem unrea­son­able that lano­lin would work well as an effec­tive sealant on our own hair.  Though this waxy, thick sub­stance locks out mois­ture (i.e., pre­vent­ing water from pen­e­trat­ing the hair) it also locks in mois­ture (i.e., retains water that is already present in the hair strand).  NOTE: If you have fine strands, lano­lin may feel too heavy; try the oil form (of lano­lin) instead.

- It can aid in styling.  Due to the waxy con­sis­ten­cy of lano­lin, it can help to define twist outs, braid outs, and roller sets.  It can also help to smooth down any frizzies or stray hairs and add shine (or sheen).


- Use it to seal your ends.  Depend­ing on your hair tex­ture and den­si­ty, lano­lin may or may not be too heavy for use.  If it is too heavy, try using it spar­ing­ly or opt for lano­lin oil instead.

- Use as a pre-sham­poo treat­ment or to enhance a con­di­tion­er.  Use lano­lin (or lano­lin oil) alone or with oth­er ingre­di­ents as a pre-poo treat­ment.  Add some melt­ed lano­lin (or add lano­lin oil) to your con­di­tion­er for an enhanced con­di­tion­ing treat­ment.

- Use it to make a styling pomade or grease.  Lano­lin can be used alone or mixed with but­ters and/or oils to cre­ate a pomade or hair grease.

- Use it as an anti-humid­i­ty agent.  Because lano­lin can act as a bar­ri­er between your hair and the envi­ron­ment, it can work well to pro­tect your styles from being ruined by humid­i­ty.

5. Grape­fruit Essen­tial Oil


Grape­fruit essen­tial oil should not be con­fused with grape­seed oil.  The for­mer is an essen­tial oil and pressed from the grape­fruit.  The lat­ter is a car­ri­er oil and pressed from the seeds of grapes.  Grape­seed oil is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty in hair care, but grape­fruit essen­tial oil is rel­a­tive­ly less known.  Now for why this par­tic­u­lar essen­tial oil is under­rat­ed …


- It has a sweet, light fra­grance.  While pep­per­mint essen­tial oil can be a bit strong in aro­ma and laven­der a bit weak, on this scale, grape­fruit essen­tial oil sits between the two (though rel­a­tive­ly closer to laven­der).  Grape­fruit essen­tial oil has a cit­rusy scent sim­i­lar to lemon­grass essen­tial oil, but weak­er and much sweet­er.

- It blends well with oth­er essen­tial oils.  Grape­fruit essen­tial oil can be mixed with many oth­er essen­tial oils to cre­ate inter­est­ing blends.  It blends espe­cial­ly well with laven­der essen­tial oil.  Some also state that grape­fruit blends real­ly well with the essen­tial oils of berg­amot and basil.


- As a hair deodorizer/perfume.  Add sev­er­al drops of grape­fruit essen­tial oil to a few ounces of water in a spray bot­tle.  Spritz your hair and scalp to hold off on wash day a bit longer.  Grape­fruit essen­tial oil has the right inten­si­ty of aro­ma to leave your hair smelling fresh and sweet with­out being over­pow­er­ing.

- As a fra­grance for a mois­tur­iz­er.  Add sev­er­al drops of this essen­tial oil to give your mois­tur­iz­er a sweet, cit­rusy scent that is sub­tle.

6. Saf­flow­er Oil


Many nat­u­rals use olive oil, coconut oil, and even cas­tor oil on their hair in some fash­ion, but few use or know about saf­flow­er oil.


- It is inex­pen­sive.  Com­pared to your more pop­u­lar hair oils, this one is fair­ly inex­pen­sive.  Depend­ing on where you pur­chase saf­flow­er oil, it can cost almost 20–50% less than extra vir­gin olive oil or extra vir­gin coconut oil.

- It is very mois­tur­iz­ing.  The saf­flow­er oil sold for cook­ing pur­pos­es is gen­er­al­ly high in ole­ic acid, which is a fat­ty acid that pos­sess­es con­di­tion­ing and mois­tur­iz­ing prop­er­ties.

- It is fair­ly light.  The con­sis­ten­cy of saf­flow­er oil is some­where between that of jojoba oil and olive oil, and some­what sim­i­lar to grape­seed oil.  Thus, if you find olive oil to be too heavy and jojoba oil to be too light, saf­flow­er oil may be worth a try.


- As a light sealant.  Depend­ing on your hair, saf­flow­er oil may work just fine as a sealant after a good wash and deep con­di­tion.  I used to use this oil as a sealant in humid weath­er when my hair didn’t require a heavy pro­duct.

- To enhance a mois­tur­iz­er.  This oil can be used to enhance your cur­rent mois­tur­iz­er.  It works real­ly well in whipped but­ters.

Ladies, have you tried any of the­se?  What oth­er “under­rat­ed” oils or but­ters do you use?


Empow­er­ing wom­en of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin. https://cherishthymelanin.com/

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34 Comments on "6 Underrated Oils and Butters + How to Use Them on Natural Hair"

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[…] to Chin­we of Black Girl Long Hair, aloe but­ter is “extract­ed from the aloe vera plant using frac­tion­at­ed coconut oil. It is not to […]


I love Saf­flow­er oil. I had a ran­dom bot­tle of it for a while and decid­ed to try it, it left my habit very mois­tur­ized and shiny, I def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend it. Now sad to say I want­ed to try aloe but­ter (why sad?) because it is known to have coconut oil as men­tioned, used to get it whipped into a but­ter state. I can­not use it, coconut oil doesn’t like my hair, glad I read this, but sad that I found that out. Thanks form the great post!


Are any of the­se but­ters ‚except for aloe but­ter, good for retwist­ing locs with­out caus­ing mega build up?? Thanks!!


I use rice bran oil on my face after clean­ing. It is fan­tas­tic for dry skin. Not too heavy and not too greasy.

Haven’t tried in my hair yet. I’ve been using coconut oil for my ends and cas­tor oil around my edges.


[…] Hair Oils […]


What’s bet­ter for the hair, in terms of con­di­tion­ing, but also the light­est but­ter: aloe, shea, or man­go? I saw man­go but­ter online and was intrigued. Any­one know the dif­fer­ence between the­se but­ters?


Man­go is lighter than shea but you can use it and whip like shea. I haven’t used aloe.
With alot of the­se oils and but­ters, try ebay and sites where you can buy sup­plies for mak­ing your own soaps and can­dles etc

Ugonna Wosu

they can all be used for the same pur­pose. I tend to get con­fused when I see ladies say they use but­ter for con­di­tion­ing, cause I don’t believe its for that. But if you can use one but­ter for con­di­tion­ing, you can do the same with the rest.


I knew noth­ing about bab­ba­su but­ter. I saw that http://www.KeraVada.com has bab­ba­su but­ter in their hair cre­me brule but­ter pro­duct. I always won­dered what this would do to my hair!



I got a free sam­ple of Babas­su oil at Whole Foods one day.
I plan to buy more, but it’s not cheap. :)

I can’t try lano­lin, because it’s not cru­el­ty-free.


i would put rice bran oil on this list.

The Mane Captain

the only oil i see myself try­ing is saf­flow­er oil, as its the only oil that I can get from stores. as for the oth­ers, i guess ill stick to my eas­i­ly acces­si­ble olive oil, coconut oil and the like
great post though, also very educa­tive


Just bought some BABASSU OIL to incor­po­rate in my Whipped But­ter. I’m always look­ing for new but­ters and oils to try and this arti­cle was a great read :C)
shop.kinksandall.com / kinksandall.com
Come check us out!


The Cupacu is one I been want­i­ng to try for a min­ute now I most def­i­nite­ly need to step my but­ter game up any­way lol

Check out http://www.curlskinksfashion.com where I also talk about some good oils & fash­ion


Won­der­ful, infor­ma­tive arti­cle! Thank you for this post!


Great info!!! Thanks BGLH =)

Ugonna Wosu

about Babas­su oil as an alter­na­tive to coconut oil, does it have the same dry­ing effect in the win­ter? Does it hard­en in the cold, or is that(not hard­en­ing in the win­ter) anoth­er advan­tage it has over coconut oil?

Miss Elisa K.

I appre­i­ci­ate this post because I have been look­ing for some­thing to replace Murray’s pomade(lanolin; min­er­al oil and petro­le­um is does the job but isn’t good for you)and coconut oil (Babas­su Oil; unfor­tu­an­te­ly Coconut Oil irri­tates the eczema on my hands). Thanks!!!


Saf­flow­er oil is HIGH in Vit­a­m­in E, eessen­tial fat­ty acids, and great for hair growth and mois­tur­iz­ing for both hair and skin. 



Soy­bean oil(sometimes sim­ply labeled as veg­etable oil)in the cook­ing sec­tion at your super­mar­ket is cheap (less than $3.00 for 48 ounces) and amaz­ing for 4c hair. It makes hair soft. When com­bined with olive oil it main­tains its abil­i­ty to soft­en hair. It is the oil you have been search­ing for.


The sub­scribe box that pops up and forces you to enter an email address to view the site, is too much.


You don’t have to enter it. Just click on the back­ground with your mouse and it goes away.


Great arti­cle. I want to try everything…not just for hair but my dry skin.


Great post, I am so used to the well-known oils and but­ter. I am eager to try some of the­se, espe­cial­ly since the price is good too.

Marta Daniels

This was such an awe­some post! I’d nev­er even heard of two of the oils. Def­i­nite­ly off to see what Ama­zon has got on some of the­se oils. Thanks for the great info! God bless!


Hmmm, con­sid­er my inter­est offi­cial­ly peaked. I’ll have to look into Aloe but­ter and Grape­fruit oil. I have a bot­tle of Saf­flow­er oil on the shelf. Didn’t impress me :/



I have pure lano­lin but rarely use it because the smell is so strong. It does soft­en though.


Yeah, I’m sur­prised the author didn’t men­tion the strong smell of the lano­lin. I have it, but it’s way too heavy for my fine 4c hair. I’ve added a dime-sized amount to my coconut oil and glyc­er­in mix, and that was quite good as a thick but not too heavy win­ter humec­tant. I’m now intrigued by the aloe but­ter, but I’ll research some more prod­ucts before mak­ing an Ama­zon order. Is there a way to pur­chase prod­ucts via a BGLH affil­i­ate link so that you all get a com­mis­sion? Thanks for this wealth of info and such great arti­cles!


Lano­lin is a HUMECTANT, an incred­i­bly strong humec­tant with mois­ture retain­ing prop­er­ties greater than veg­etable glyc­er­in. It soft­ens and seals. It isn’t an occlu­sive like petro­le­um jel­ly, mois­ture does actu­al­ly pen­e­trate. There’s also a dif­fer­ence between pure lano­lin (anhy­drous), lano­lin with water and some­times glyc­er­in (hydrous) and lano­lin oil.


I have grape­fruit essen­tial. I nev­er real­ly knew the ben­e­fits… its pret­ty plain as far as ben­e­fits but smells great. I use it in my diy greek yogurt deep con­di­tion­er (no prob­lems) and used it in my box braid spritz and it made my scalp itchy. May­be I used too much or my scalp just doesn’t like it.


I would love to try the Aloe But­ter and the Cupuacu but­ter as well as the Babas­su oil. I have already tried the Saf­flow­er oil and it is great. I use the saf­flow­er along with the olive oil and I find that the two togeth­er are quite mois­tur­iz­ing. I real­ly wish that I knew where to buy both but­ters. If they were sold in stores, it would be great. How­ev­er, I guess I will have to try online. If any­one knows where they can be found in stores, please let me know.


I made a Cupuaçu whipped but­ter with coconut oil and added a lemon smell to the whole thing. It works very well actu­al­ly.
I use it to seal my ends and deep con­di­tion on win­ter. Love it!!
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I might try the Aloe but­ter some day…



I mix my Cupuaçu with Coconut Oil also, along with grape­seed oil. This is a very under­rat­ed oil!


That’s a great com­bo! I’ll try adding it to my next batch