What Is Chebe Powder, and What Can It Do for Your Hair?

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chebe powder for hair cat

While heat-styling tools can create sexy beach waves, luscious curls and sleek locks in a cinch, there is no denying that they can also leave our hair brittle and prone to breakage.

And while hair bonders and heat protectant sprays work wonders in shielding your locks from damage, chebe powder seems to be the latest breakage-busting rising star at the moment, especially since this natural powder is said to coat, condition, and protect natural and fragile hair with each use.

However, if you are curious as to what chebe powder is made of, where it comes from, and what exactly it can do for your locks, we tapped two seasoned hair stylists (plus a board-certified internist) to share all the ins-and-outs surrounding this buzzworthy beauty ingredient.

From the best ways to use chebe powder to products to shop, ahead is your very own chebe powder cheat sheet to bookmark stat.

What is chebe powder?

Chebe powder’s origins stem back to the Republic of Chad, a country in Africa that is bordered by Nigeria, Sudan, and Libya, according to cosmetologist and hair expert Ghanima Abdullah.

“This powder is an ancient herbal formulation traditionally used by the women in Chad to prevent hair breakage, and promote hair growth,” she tells PureWow. “However, because of the internet, it’s also gaining traction in the United States over the past five years, especially in the natural hair space.”

Because chebe powder is known to be very hydrating, Manchester-based hair stylist Rebecca Johnston says it is best used on dry and damaged hair, as well type three (light curl to tight) and four (coarse, densely packed curls) curls that could use the moisture.

“Chebe powder has exploded in popularity recently thanks to its amazing ability to strengthen natural hair (which can typically be quite brittle and fragile),” Johnston explains.

However, this does not mean every hair type can use it, as since chebe powder is on the heavier side, it can cause breakage to strands that are too thin, she warns.

What is chebe powder made of?

Chebe powder consists of a simple list of natural ingredients. These include local tree resin, cherry seeds, lavender and cloves, Abdullah explains.

Because of its small ingredient list, chebe powder may be attractive to those seeking natural and non-toxic beauty buys, especially since some hair products can be packed with sulfates and unpronounceable chemicals.

However, while it’s easy to be swept away by chebe powder’s natural allure, board-certified internist Dr. Sunitha Posina, M.D., says it’s important to understand that there are currently no peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate that powder’s effectiveness in promoting growth, or strengthening the hair at this time.

“Chebe powder does not grow hair, and there currently is no evidence to suggest that it does so,” Dr. Posina tells PureWow. “Instead, it can nourish and hydrate the hair, so as a result, there is less breakage.”

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Does chebe powder help hair grow?

Since chebe powered is traditionally applied to braids, and not directly on the scalp, Abdulla says it’s technically not a hair growth product.

However, Johnston says that because it hydrates and nourishes your hair, chebe powder actually makes hair stronger as a result, and less prone to breakage in the long run.

“Fragile type three and four curls are able to grow much longer than normal without breaking when using chebe powder,” she explains. “It also helps to keep your scalp balanced and it reduces inflammation—the first step to getting strong, healthy hair.”

How to use chebe powder:

Since people with curly, dry and damaged hair benefit the most from using chebe powder, Johnston advises using chebe powder as a weekly conditioning hair treatment in order to keep the hair shielded from damage.

“Use it as a conditioning hair treatment,” she advises. “You can apply it once (or twice) a week to freshly washed or damp hair and leave it for as long as you like (an hour minimum).”

Similarly, Dr. Posina suggests using chebe inside a DIY deep conditioning mask, where it can be mixed with other hydrating ingredients such as water, oil, cream, or shea butter, in order to reap maximum moisturizing benefits.

But no matter how you use it, Abdullah advises exerting caution when using chebe powder, as the consistency and application process is on the messy side.

“Chebe powder is blended with water and applied as a paste,” Abdullah says. “Like henna powder, it is kept in the hair for a minimum of three hours, then rinsed. But unlike henna, chebe powder does not help the scalp retain or grow more hair. Instead, it only coats the hair to help prevent breakage and locks in moisture, making it best to use on dry or damaged hair.”

The bottom line:

Chebe powder has been used by women in Africa for decades in order to strengthen and protect hair from damage. However, not all hair types can use it, as it can cause breakage to locks that are on the thinner side.

While it does boast a simple ingredient list made of natural ingredients. It is important to consider that there is no published research on the positive impacts it has on hair health (and growth) at this time. Additionally, Dr. Posino adds that the side effects of chebe powder are still unknown, which can be risky to those who have allergies and sensitive skin.

“It is important to take several factors (genetics, individual medical conditions, hormonal issues, environmental factors, and nutrition) into consideration when it comes to hair loss and hair growth,” she says. “At this time, we are not sure of the side effects of the chebe powder, making it important to be aware you don't have any allergies to any of the powder’s components.” (Always do a small patch test first to spot any potential allergies.)

But if your hair definitely could use the moisture, feel free to use chebe powder as a weekly treatment or deep-conditioning mask, and apply your product on with a smock (or old clothes) to avoid any mess.

Shop chebe powders and products: NaturelBliss ($8), Cultural Exchange ($25), Everything Natural ($23), Uhurunaturals (from $10), Aenerblnahs (from $5)

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Courtney Leiva

Freelance PureWow Editor

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