The avocado, also known as "butter pear," is native to South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean islands. Its flesh is high in monounsaturated fat, which gives it a smooth, creamy texture and makes it perfect for hair products. Not only can raw avocados be mashed and applied to the hair, avocado oil is also a great deep conditioning treatment. But one of the creamiest, richest by-products of this fruit is avocado butter.
The uncooked flesh of the avocado is expeller crushed to produce an oil. The oil is then hydrogenated, which results in a very soft, greenish, and mild-smelling butter. It melts very easily, which helps it to absorb into skin and hair. In addition to its wonderful moisturizing properties, the butter also works as a natural sunscreen. Kept refrigerated, it should last for one to two years.
Avocado butter is extremely rich and heavy, so use it sparingly. Massage a tablespoon into your hair and scalp, and leave in for an hour. Or, mix a tablespoon with any of the following: your current conditioner, olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, shea butter or any other natural butter (not regular butter). Pay extra attention to your hair's ends. Leave the mixture in as long as you can, then shampoo and condition as usual.
Since avocado butter is so heavy, leaving it in may cause your hair to appear greasy. However, if your hair is especially dry, thick or loves to eat up conditioning products, you can get away with it. Avocado butter works best as a leave-in conditioner for natural African-American hair, since it tends to be drier. Apply a teaspoon or so to dry hair (maybe more, if your hair is long or thick), concentrating on the ends. This helps to control frizz and unmanageable ends; it will also leave your hair looking shiny.
Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment is one of the only hair products on the market that uses avocado butter. It is available online, in health food stores, and in some pharmacies. It contains lanolin, so it's not vegan. The other ingredients in this treatment are vegetable glycerin, sunflower seed oil, oat kernel protein, citrus rind cleanser, vitamin E, nettle leaf powder, rosemary leaf powder, chlorophyll, and fragrance.
There are many websites that sell pure avocado butter in individual sizes, with 4 oz. typically is the smallest, as well as bulk tubs of butter to use in making homemade hair conditioning products.
Avocado butter will leave your hair soft, shiny, untangled and rehydrated. If you have any extra from your conditioning treatments, rub some on your skin as a moisturizer for your face, knees, elbows, hands and feet.
Autumn Jones has been working as a freelance writer since 2007 with work appearing on various websites. She majored in creative writing at Vassar College and continues to pursue her passion for the written word as much as possible.