What Is Chebe Powder And How Can You Use It On Your Curls?

Hair breakage can be frustrating. Picture this: It's wash day and you've finished your almost 10-step routine. Your hair looks great and you feel even better, that is, until you look at the floor or the bathroom drain next to your feet. You notice tiny splinters of hair that have fallen off. That's right. Your hair's breaking, and it's not pretty.


According to Carol's Daughter, breakage happens when pieces of the hair shaft split either from the ends or down the strands. Breakage presents a problem for many hair enthusiasts as more of it equals less hair retention. Less hair retention equals shorter hair or stagnancy of hair growth. This is why natural ingredients like coconut oil, rosemary oil, onion water, and rice water are popular in hair care as they promise less breakage. Then we have chebe powder, the one product naturalistas agree will change your hair story for good.

Chebe powder is a powder obtained from a mix of lavender crotons or chebe seeds, cloves, Arabic gum and vegetable oil (via Planet Ayurveda). Women in arid regions including Chad, Niger, and Northern Nigeria used — and still use — the powder to protect their hair from the dry elements which cause breakage. This makes their hair healthy and helps them retain length, which HeyCurls confirms can grow as far as their waist. It might be hard to believe, but breakage prevention isn't chebe powder's only forté. Here are its other hair benefits and how you can use it.


Benefits of chebe powder

Chebe powder is amazing for length retention and can actually balance your scalp's pH levels, which can fend off skin conditions like eczema, per Naturally Curly. Chebe powder repairs the imbalance through a group of compounds called alkaloids. Alkaloids bring the scalp to a weakly acidic pH of around 4.5 to 5.0, which is ideal. Besides retaining length and balancing the scalp's pH, chebe powder deeply moisturizes hair and forms a protective barrier around the shaft. It is also anti-inflammatory and helps treat a tender or dry scalp (via HeyCurls). For our dose of chebe powder, we're fans of the Uhuru Naturals Sahel Chebe Powder and the Awomi Naturals Purely Chebe Powder.


However, Hair Shepherd warns not to use chebe powder directly on your scalp as it can trigger the same problems it's good for treating: inflammation and a dry scalp. So how should it be applied, exactly?

How to use Chebe powder

To apply chebe powder to your hair, Elsie Organics recommends using the method of Chadian women, or what we know as the LOC method. Start by making a paste with equal parts chebe powder and oil, like karkar oil. You can also use oil, water, and powder in equal parts. After making the paste, apply your favorite leave-in conditioner to damp hair (L), go in with a lightweight oil like castor or rosemary oil (O), and then use your paste. Finish up with a light layer of hair butter or cream (C), as an immediate rinse-off is unnecessary. When you're done, braid your hair and keep it hydrated until you're ready to rinse off, usually three to five days later.


If the LOC method doesn't appeal to you, Awomi Naturals says to try the powder as a pre-poo hair mask. Using the same paste in the LOC method, divide your damp hair into sections and work it into the hair without touching your scalp, and then braid each section. When you're finished with the sections, spray some water, or water and leave-in conditioner, over your hair and cover it with a plastic bag or shower cap. Leave the cap on for about two hours, rinse off, and shampoo.

Chebe powder does not "grow" your hair but it does protect it from breakage. And with less damage or breakage and loads of hydration, you'll be needing a restock pretty soon.