Chebe Powder for Hair: The Ancient African Secret to Hair Growth

Last Updated on April 16, 2022 by Olivia Herlihy RN

Have you heard about using Chebe powder for hair? Chebe powder is used by Basara Arabs in the African nation of Chad, to help moisturise and strengthen their hair. The community is well known for growing long, thick hair that often goes down to their thighs! In this post I explore what Chebe powder is and how you can use it on your own hair!

Chebe powder for hair

Chebe Powder for Hair

What Is Chebe Powder?

Chebe powder is made up mainly from Lavender Croton, which is often referred to as “Chebe”. Lavender Croton is a small tree covered in silver and rust-coloured scales. Its bark is used for a number of different medicinal purposes.

As well as Lavender Croton, Chebe powder also contains the following:

  • A ground up stone called Miski which gives the powder a pleasant scent.
  • Mahleb (from mahllaba soubiane seeds) which is an aromatic spice made from a species of cherry. The cherry stones are cracked and the seed kernels are extracted and ground.
  • Clove which is known to control hair fall and promote growth
  • Khumra which is a perfume with a musky scent
  • Samour resin, also known as acacia gum or gum arabic. It is made from the sap of the Acacia senegal tree

Each ingredient is ground and roasted before being passed through a sieve until it becomes a fine powder. Traditionally the powder was then mixed with beef fat or karkar oil before being applied to the hair, but today coconut oil or shea butter are more popular options.

The powder usually comes out a brown colour and has a musky, earthy smell.

Benefits of Chebe Powder

The Basra Arabs coat their hair with chebe powder to keep it extremely hydrated and moist. This stops their hair from breaking and allows them to grow it long from childhood.

The main benefits of Chebe include:

  • A deep conditioning and moisturizing effect
  • Reduces breakage of the hair during combing or detangling
  • Prevents hair loss
  • Enhances hair shine
  • Has a pH balancing effect on the hair, making it healthier
  • It cleanses and moisturises the scalp (although it can cause scalp irritation)
  • Moisturises the hair while it’s in a protective style

Chebe powder is also great for creating a twist and lock gel, by mixing it with aloe vera, castor oil or neem. It helps to create a firm hold on natural twist-out braids. It can also be used as a hair mask to reduce hair breakage and increase length retention.

Does Chebe Powder Help with Hair Growth?

Since Chebe powder strengthens the hair shaft, it prevents it from breaking and allows it to grow longer. Some of the ingredients, such as clove are also believed to stimulate hair growth and prevent hair fall.

The cherry seeds which are used to make Chebe are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. They help to nourish the hair follicles, moisturise a dry scalp and strengthen brittle hair. This can help to increase hair length and health.

Although no clinical studies have been done into the effects of chebe powder on hair growth, Chadian women are known to be able to to grow unusually long hair. They claim their secret is chebe powder!

What Hair Type Benefits From Chebe Powder?

Chebe powder has been traditionally used by women with curly or coily hair. It is well suited to coarse or thick hair and works well on 3A to 4C curls. Since curly hair tends to be dryer and more fragile than other hair types, Chebe powder can work wonders at hydrating, and moisturising dry, brittle curls.

Chebe powder is quite heavy so it wouldn’t be well suited to fine or straight hair unless its used in moderation.

How to Use Chebe Powder

There are different ways to use Chebe powder:

Hair Mask

Mix the Chebe powder with water and a natural oil or butter. If you have 3a-4c hair type, good oils include castor oil, coconut oil, or honey. If you have straight, wavy or type 2c curls, better options would be argan oil, almond milk, yoghurt or coconut water, since these options are lighter.

Once the powder has formed a paste, section out the hair and apply it from the root to end. Ensure to apply it to damp hair. You may wish to avoid getting the powder on your scalp since it can cause itching. If you have thick hair you can put your hair into braids and leave the powder in for three-seven days before washing it out.

If you have fine or thin hair, avoid leaving the powder on for too long as it will weigh the hair down and could end up causing breakage instead of helping growth! Put your hair into a shower cap and leave for at least two hours before rinsing.

Be aware the powder hardens as it dries, so the longer you leave it in your hair, the more difficult it will be to wash out. You can use the treatment once or twice a week to strengthen the hair.

A Styling Product

Another way to use Chebe powder is as a styling product. It’s great for holding in braids or being applied daily to reduce frizz and flyaway strands. To make the powder into a styling oil, or gel, mix a small amount into an oil or gel and leave it in a glass jar overnight. Make sure you stir and shake the mixture well.

You can then apply the oil to dry hair every day to keep it moist and hydrated.

Side Effects

Chebe powder can cause scalp irritation and itching, so be aware to avoid putting too much of it on your scalp. The powder also has a very strong smell. Some people like the scent but be aware it has a very smokey and earthy perfume which is strong.  The powder is also very heavy so it is not well suited to straight, thin or fine hair types.

Natural Products to Mix with Chebe Powder

Karkar Oil

Karkar oil is made in Chad specifically to be used with Chebe powder. It includes a blend of oils and ayurvedic herbs such as coconut oil, neem, rice water, onion, henna, fenugreek, and cinnamon oil. Basara women would often mix Chebe powder with karkar oil before applying it to their hair.

Shea Butter

Shea butter is a popular option to help make Chebe powder into a paste. The butter acts as a deep conditioner on the hair resulting in less breakage. It also helps to seal in your hair’s natural oils and prevent curls from becoming dried out. This is a good choice for hair that has been damaged from chemical treatments, and can prevent frizz and split ends.

Related: Shea Butter for Curly Hair (Products, Tips and Uses)

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a good choice for dry, thick hair. It’s often used as a carrier oil in natural hair treatments since it helps to keep the hair moist and strong. If you want to grow longer hair, olive oil is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids and can help to nourish and strengthen the hair follicle, potentially stimulating growth.

Since olive oil is a heavy oil it’s better suited to thicker hair types. If this is the oil of your choice, start by mixing a small amount into the powder until it forms a paste.

Where Can I Buy Chebe Powder?

Authentic chebe powder is available to buy on Amazon. You can also buy Chebe butter which is the powder already mixed in with shea butter.

Further Reading: Chébé Is the Secret to Perfect Curls

This Post Was All About Using Chebe Powder for Hair

Thank you for reading my post about using chebe powder for healthy hair. Chebe powder is a great natural hair product for protecting coarse hair. It’s said to increase hair thickness and moisturise the hair strands. If you have had any experience with using Chebe powder, please leave me a comment below and let me know how you got on!

Olivia Herlihy RN

Olivia is a hair and skincare enthusiast with over 10 years experience working in healthcare and over 5 years as a Registered Nurse. She gained an online following after creating a natural haircare routine which completely transformed her hair. Olivia has since written an eBook on Ayurvedic hair care to help others use the same formula to improve their own hair.

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