Should You include Chebe Powder in Your Hair Care Routine?

A leisurely stroll through the ‘4c hair care streets’ of social media will see you encountering old characters like conditioners, gels and shampoos; newer ones like curl creams and hydrating masques; and some complete unknowns but ‘highly-touted-as-effective’ ones like chebe powder.

What exactly is chebe powder?

Chebe powder is a natural hair product used by the Basara tribe in Chad. The members of this tribe are well-known for growing their hair well beyond waist level, a feat that is attributed to this product.

Chebe powder
Chebe powder originates from Chad. Image courtesy of Legit

Chebe is made with cherry seeds, lavender, resin tree sap, cloves, and stones. The powder is then mixed with water to form a paste, which Chadian women apply to their hair once or twice a week for a minimum of one to two hours and longer, if possible.

While Chebe in its traditional powdery form is still very popular, most beauty brands that sell it have begun to incorporate the powder into other products like hair cream and even conditioners.

Will chebe powder help you grow your hair?

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 Dr. Sunitha Posina. However, “It is known to nourish and hydrate the hair, so as a result there is less breakage.”

African woman with 4c hair
Chebe powder helps to strengthen and moisturise your hair so that it can break less. Image courtesy of Human Hair
What then does chebe powder really do for your hair?

The powder essentially reconstructs and strengthens the bond and shaft of the hair, leaving it stronger to retain length even as new growth occurs.

Alicia Bailey, hairstylist and founder of Design Essentials also notes that, unlike other hair masks, chebe is only applied to the length of the hair, 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,” she explains. “Also, since the hair is easier to manage and detangle, less hair will break, and length will be retained.”

Should you use chebe powder in your hair?

There really is no reason to not use the powder, especially if your hair texture ranges from 3A to 4C, and you’re looking to properly manage your hair while you grow it out.

Any texture below 3A may want to avoid chebe however. It is a heavy mixture that can weigh the hair down, leading to breakage in much finer, looser hair types.

How to use chebe powder

If you’re going for the powder, you have to first mix it with water or oil to create a paste. Apply it all over your hair, making sure to avoid your scalp. To get the most out of the powder, you can put your hair in a protective style like braids or twists, and leave the mixture in for 3 days or up to a week.

The Salwa Petersen chebe powder hair cream
You can use other product types that contain chebe, like the Salwa Petersen chebe cream. Image courtesy of Salwa Peterson

Once you are ready, rinse out the mixture, taking care not to tug at your hair since the clay-like chebe paste would have hardened by then. Finish up with your normal hair products including leave-in conditioner and any other products you use to style your hair.

If you have straight hair, you may want to rinse out the product earlier than the stated time so that you don’t end up suffering breakage. You can also look at other product types that incorporate chebe in their formulation, like chebe-infused leave-in conditioners, hair creams and oils.

Most importantly, make sure that whatever chebe formulation you’re using is from reliable brands that have proven to be makers of standardised and quality products.

Source: Harper’s Bazaar

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