Chebe powder is said to help the hair retain moisture, thanks to the shébé seeds it contains, while the cloves in the mixture may help the hair feel thicker. According to Okereke, "The improvement in length retention is what lends to its ability to have one’s hair grow longer." She says chebe powder is a great addition to your hair regimen as a hair mask or leave-in conditioner, particularly for someone who has dry or brittle hair.
How do you use chebe powder?
The women of Chad use the powder in conjunction with protective styling, Okereke notes. As previously mentioned, it is traditionally mixed with water, creating a moisturizing paste that helps keep the hair shaft from breaking. It is generally applied directly onto braids or twists, typically left on the lengths and ends of the hair for anywhere from three to five days. The paste in its traditional form leaves a chalky residue on that hair shaft that looks similar to dried brown clay.
In the West, beauty brands are using chebe powder a bit differently. It's usually added to products like leave-in conditioners or hair oils, making its application less messy and thus more appealing to this particular market.
"Anecdotally, I would think that the ease of application with the leave-in conditioner would encourage more frequent use, leading to increased exposure of chebe powder," says Okereke. "Additionally, a leave-in conditioner or cream formulation presents the opportunity to add other ingredients that promote healthy hair."
While the original application of chebe is obviously working for the folks who have been using it all this time, King suggests the efficacy of the powder may be even greater in a product like a leave-in conditioner. "Conditioner is cationic, meaning it has the affinity to attach to hair," she says. "[Chebe powder] will work best in a leave-in conditioner, as opposed to the powder which can be messy."
Which hair types is chebe suitable for?
Okereke recommends it for hair types ranging from 3A to 4C, which she says are typically the hair types of the women in Chad. Looser textures may have a bit of an issue with chebe. "It could weigh [the hair] down," explains King. Plus, because chebe powder is a heavy mixture, it could potentially cause breakage in fine hair, depending on the formula.
Is chebe powder safe to use?
King notes that while chebe is a natural material that has been part of the hair rituals of Chadian women, "There is no data or scientific studi[es] on its toxicity/efficacy." Although chebe powder has a very simple set of ingredients, "one may have contact dermatitis to anything," says Okereke. "Always apply it to a small area behind the ear and check back in one to two days to see if you’ve developed any irritation."
Chebe Powder Is the Long-Hair Secret From Africa You Need to Know About
Have you heard of Chebe powder? If not, you're not alone—I hadn't either until two weeks ago. For those unschooled, it's a natural-based powder concocted in Chad, a landlocked country in Africa, where the women apply it to their hair. It's this powder they credit for helping their hair grow strong and long—in some cases, as long as 30 inches. That's down-to-your-butt-and-below long.
"Chebe powder is used by women of a Chadian ethnic group, giving them exceptional quality and length of hair," says Silava June Ogana, the founder of S+AVA (@sava_organics) an organic, vegan, GMO-free, cruelty-free brand from Africa. "The Basara women of Chad are known to have very long, naturally coarse hair that famously goes down to their thighs. They cover their hair with a homemade Chebe mixture that keeps their hair super moisturized and lubricated. This is the reason why their hair never breaks."
Type of Ingredient: Hydrator.
Main Benefits: Nourishes, hydrates, and improves moisture retention in hair strands.
Who Should Use It: According to Ogana, "the Chebe powder will work for 3A, 3B, 3C, 4A, 4B and 4C hair types."
How Often Can You Use It: Once or twice a week depending on hair type.
Works Well With: Other hydrating ingredients like shea butter, organic coconut oil, pure vitamin E, and cold-pressed oils like castor, argan and lemongrass.
Doesn't Work With: N/A
I stumbled across Chebe at a Janet's List (@janetslist) pop-up here in Amsterdam. The founder, Janet Oganah, created Janet's List, a London-based one-stop-online-shop, to curate products by women of color. Of course, I zeroed in on the beauty section and spotted S+AVA's Chebe Hair Cream. Oganah told me about the Chebe ingredient and its famous hair growth powers, and I immediately knew I had to find out more.
Chebe powder is used by women of a Chadian ethnic group, giving them exceptional quality and length of hair.
According to Ogana, "the Chebe powder will work for 3A, 3B, 3C, 4A, 4B and 4C hair types."
Chebe powder is a mix of Shébé seeds (from the croton zambesicus plant), mahllaba soubiane seeds, missic stone, cloves and samour resin. You can buy it as a powder, which can be mixed with an oil of your choice and then applied to the hair as a mask. Or, you can buy it via an already-mixed cream, like the one by S+AVA. The powder can be messy and quite difficult to wash out, but buying a pre-made cream will ensure a more fuss-free experience.
Find out more about Chebe and see how it is applied to the hair in the video below.
Rather than boasting some magic ability to make your hair grow, Chebe is touted for nourishing, hydrating, and improving moisture retention in the strands of hair. This in turn may help prevent breakage, which allows the hair to reach its full length potential, while also encouraging thickness and improving curl definition.
S+AVA Organic Skin & Hair CareChebe Hair Cream$19Shop
A little of this oil-rich Chebe Hair Cream goes a long way. The chebe powder is combined with unrefined Shea butter, organic coconut oil, pure vitamin E, and three organic cold-pressed oils: castor, argan and lemongrass essential oil. Ogana recommended I use it as a pre-shampoo on my mid-lengths and ends. The mixture melted into my hair with ease and I left it on for 15 minutes. It took a couple of tries to wash out but, once removed, my hair felt super soft and looked shiny and healthy. On my hair, I would use this once or twice a month as a deep treatment, but the thicker and curlier your hair, the more you could apply.
Sahel CosmeticsTraditional Chadian Chebe Powder$22Shop
If you want to try the powder in its pure form, get yourself a bag of this and mix it with your own hair oil before applying.
Next up, Tracee Ellis Ross tells us her hair journey.
We're always game to try the most cutting-edge beauty treatments, but sometimes what you need has actually been around for centuries. Such is the case with chebe powder, a natural hair product used by the Basara tribe in the African nation of Chad. "They are known for growing their hair well beyond their waist due to the use of chebe powder," says Alicia Bailey, hair expert and global education manager at Design Essentials. Chebe powder has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity among those with textured hair as of late. But does it live up to its reputation?
Purely Chebe Powder
Chébé du Tchad Hair Cream
“It is important to keep in mind several factors are taken into consideration when it comes to hair loss and hair growth,” says Dr. Sunitha Posina, M.D. New York City-based board-certified Internist. “Genetics, stress, individual medical conditions and hormonal issues, environmental factors, nutrition, etc. all play very important roles in hair growth.” Because of these factors, once hair loss begins, it’s hard to slow it down, and harder still to reverse it. That said, products like Rogaine—which contains the active ingredient minoxidil—can help, and volume shampoos can superficially add the appearance of fullness. As for chebe powder, we turned to Posina, Bailey, and hairstylist Annagjid “Kee” Taylor for their expert insight on the ingredient.
What Is Chebe Powder?
Chebe powder is “a powder made with cherry seeds, lavender, resin tree sap, cloves, and stones,” according to Taylor. “Mixing chebe powder with water will turn it into a clay that can be put onto your hair. It's an old tradition from Chad, Africa and is used to reduce breakage and shedding.” Chadian women use chebe powder “once or twice a week and leave it for a minimum of one to two hours and longer, if possible,” says Posina. Now, chebe powder is also being incorporated into other types of products, like Salwa Peterson’s Chébé du Tchad hair cream.
Does Chebe Powder Help with Hair Growth?
The experts agree that chebe powder on its own will not stimulate growth, but it may give the illusion of thicker, fuller hair. “Chebe powder does not grow hair, and there is no evidence to suggest that it does,” says Posina. However, “It is known to nourish and hydrate the hair, so as a result there is less breakage.”
So, What Are the Benefits of Chebe Powder?
Chebe powder is “more or less used to reconstruct and strengthen the bond and shaft of the hair,” according to Taylor. “It will help retain length since it's stronger, but doesn’t actually promote more growth.”
Bailey also notes that unlike other hair masks, chebe is only applied to the hair shaft, as opposed to the scalp or roots. "Since it is known to provide intense moisture to the hair strands, it helps with moisture retention and improves the elasticity of the hair," says Bailey. "Also, since the hair is easier to manage and detangle, less hair will break, and length will be retained."
And while it was designed for—and may be particularly useful for—curly hair, that doesn’t necessarily rule out its efficacy for other hair types. “It’s difficult to say that one hair type would benefit more from it than others, but anyone looking for hydration can give it a try,” says Posina. “The women that have been using it in Africa historically have coarse, curly hair naturally and they strongly believe it nourishes their hair and keeps the moisture locked in.”
Chebe Powder Growth Hair Mask
How to Use Chebe Powder
First, chebe powder is mixed with water or oil to create a paste. “Apply it all over your hair and put it into thick braids,” says Taylor, adding that the specific number of braids “will depend on you and your hair thickness.” Then, you can leave it in for up to a week. “Most people will leave it in their hair for 3-7 days and wash it out,” says the hairstylist, noting that “it will be a little harder to wash out since it hardens, so don't tangle it up as you rinse it out, or else it will tug more.”
If you want to try chebe powder but have straight hair, Taylor recommends washing it out sooner rather than later. “For straighter hair types, I would suggest not to leave it on for long, or else it will end up doing the opposite of what you intended and breaking off,” says the hairstylist. Bailey adds that finer hair types may want to avoid it using chebe powder, "because the treatment does provide moisture and may weigh fine hair down."
Are There Any Side Effects?
If used as directed, there shouldn’t be any major side effects when using chebe powder. However the color of the powder itself should be taken into consideration for those with lighter hair. "The powder is usually a dark brown color, so those that have light-colored hair may not want to use it because it would be seen in the hair if left in," says Bailey. Taylor also advises caution to those with sensitivities to natural ingredients. “Since a ton of natural products are in this, I would only suggest those with allergies just be super careful to double-check the ingredients before trying it out,” says the hairstylist.
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Growth chebe cream for hair
.DIY CHEBE BUTTER - How to make Chebe Infused Oil ft. Sahel Cosmetics
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