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Chebe Powder | Does This Hair Growth Concoction Work?

We researched chebe powder for hair growth so you don’t have to. If you’ve seen it on TikTok, you’re likely wondering if chebe powder really works to grow hair to your waist or if it’s a waste of money. We’ll show you below.


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Ever Heard of Chebe Powder for Hair?

Social media influencers have been crediting incredibly fast hair growth to a natural African concoction called chebe powder. As it turns out, this powdered natural mixture is nothing new. 

It’s been used by women in Africa’s Chad Republic for centuries to encourage waist-length hair growth in coily/kinky type 4 hair.

Since type 4 hair is notoriously prone to breakage and is a challenge to grow long, this got our attention fast. Like you, we were intrigued by the impressive claims that chebe powder can supercharge hair growth and decided to do a little investigating.

Does this African hair growth concoction really work, or is it a clever marketing ploy? We did intensive research and summarized the results of studies to determine how effective this treatment really is for hair growth. 

Dive into our complete guide to find out if this powder will make a difference in your hair’s length. We’ll cover all the basics and address the current research on this product so you can decide if it’s right for you. 

First – What Is Chebe Powder?

Chebe powder in a white bowl sitting in a lightbox-style image

Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Chebe powder, sometimes called shebe or chewe powder, is a pulverized mixture of a few naturally-sourced botanical products that are supposed to increase the rate of hair growth and improve the strength, health, and appearance of hair.

It’s been used by African women in the Chad Republic for centuries as a natural way to boost hair growth and improve hair health. The women in the Chad Republic are known for their stunning, waist-length locks that far surpass the average lengths of women with a similar hair type.

They credit the length to their usage of chebe powder, which has been traditionally used in the Chad Republic and other parts of Western Africa for hundreds of years. So how did chebe powder make its way out of Africa and into the rest of the world?

You can thank the advent of the internet for that. 

Social media bloggers, vloggers, and influencers in Western Africa began sharing info about this traditional hair treatment a few years back. It quickly got the attention of women all over the globe looking for safe hair growth enhancing options. 

A YouTube video from 2017 that has since received nearly 10 million views was one of the first to give viewers an inside look at one of the Chadian tribes that credit their astonishing hair lengths to chebe powder.

Now you know what chebe powder is and what it’s used for. Next, we’ll talk about what’s in it. 

Chebe Powder Ingredients

Chebe or chewe powder is made with a blend of ingredients. Every mixture is unique, but most use the same general type and ratio of ingredients. In traditional chebe, shebe, or chewe powder, you’ll find the following ingredients: 

  • Powdered dried chebe (lavender croton)
  • Cherry kernels (the seeds inside a cherry pit)
  • Misik incense resin
  • Khumra fragrance*
  • Cloves
  • Oil, such as coconut

*Khumra fragrance is typically made from mahlab cherry seeds, nutmeg, clove, dufra (roasted seashells), musk, and sandalwood. It is described as a musky, spicy, yet feminine scent. 

The benefits of chebe or shebe powder are apparently due mostly to the effects of the first ingredient powdered and dried lavender croton, a plant native to Africa. This plant has a range of medicinal uses, including:

  • Fever reducer
  • Treatment for indigestion
  • Hemostatic
  • Stool softener/gentle laxative
  • Treatment for edema
  • Treatment for uterine disorders
  • Treatment for some types of nerve pain

We’ll talk more about the science that supports or debunks chebe powder for hair growth later on. Next, let’s look at some of the main reasons women use chebe powder. 

Chebe Powder Benefits

The reported benefits of chebe powder are the reason it’s been used for centuries the supposed benefits are astounding! Here’s why women may consider using this powder for hair growth. 

  • Provides strength needed for more length. While no clear studies indicate that this powder will actually increase the growth rate of hair, some of the associated benefits provide hair strands with additional moisture and strength. Both proper moisture and strong protein bonds are required for hair to reach long lengths.  
  • Strengthens and repairs damaged hair. Fragile, easily-broken hair is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to achieving ultra-long lengths. This powder is commonly used to help rebuild, strengthen, and rebond the protein bonds in the hair for stronger, more durable hair that is less prone to breakage. 
  • Improves hydration and moisture retention. Experts say shebe powder delivers moisture directly to your strands. Since it isn’t applied at the roots, it can even provide beneficial hydration for women with oily hair. Moisturized hair won’t snap and break as easily as dry hair, so this is another plus in the hair growth column. 
  • Especially benefits curly, coily, and kinky hair. Highly textured hair that struggles to reach long lengths due to breakage and fragility can reap the most benefits from chebe/shebe/chewe powder. The increased hydration needs of curly and coily hair make this powder a great choice to keep it moisturized and less susceptible to breakage.  
  • Balances scalp pH for better hair health. A healthy, balanced scalp pH is a factor in hair growth. Chebe powder could be beneficial in balancing scalp pH that has risen above or fallen below the normal range (around 5.5) because of the alkaloid ingredients this powder contains.  

Chebe Powder Cons and Side Effects

Chebe or shebe powder isn’t exactly a miracle solution for hair growth. Here are the known disadvantages and side effects of using this powder topically on your hair. 

  • It can cause scalp inflammation and issues. People with sensitive scalps should avoid shebe powder because it can trigger inflammatory issues by irritating the scalp skin. Reports of dandruff, dry scalp, itching, and general irritation have been associated with using this powder topically. 
  • Doesn’t actually increase hair growth rate. While some of the benefits chebe can provide may lead to longer lengths due to better moisturized, more supple, and stronger hair, this mixture doesn’t actually increase the rate of hair growth. Keep your expectations in check if you plan to try this treatment. 
  • Can be expensive. Chebe powder is available from a wide variety of sources online, but the price range is pretty wide. Some pre-mixed products sell for less than $10, but others are upwards of $30. Do your research before buying to ensure you’re getting a good price for the quality of the product. 
  • Quality control is difficult. With unregulated products like chebe, the quality control issue can be a big one. You may receive a product that contains different ingredients than those listed, less or more active ingredients than indicated, or powder lacking enough of the potent actives. Again, doing your research before purchasing is key. 

The important thing to note here is that topical issues can be avoided by properly applying the powder only to the hair shaft not the scalp or skin. We’ll show you how to properly apply it below. 

How to Use Chebe Powder

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Chebe powder is mixed with a liquid usually oil, but sometimes water to make it into a paste that is easy to apply to your hair. Chebe should never be applied to the scalp or skin directly. Instead, it should be carefully applied to the hair shaft only. 

To apply chebe or shebe powder, start by putting on a pair of latex gloves and sectioning your hair into 4 pieces. Saturate the shaft while avoiding the roots near the scalp.

To get the full benefits of the treatment, the hair should be braided or otherwise secured tightly so the mixture can sit on the hair for 3-7 days. After saturating each section with the mixture, secure it into a 3-strand braid and leave it alone.

The longer you can leave the mixture in comfortably, the better. Aim for the low end around 3 days if you have straight or wavy hair. Leave it on no longer than 7 days if you have curly or coily hair with your first treatment. 

After you’re done with your treatment, you simply undo your braids and wash the paste out of your hair with your normal shampoo.

Or, add to the effectiveness by switching to a hair growth shampoo instead! You may need to shampoo twice to remove all the residue since the paste hardens as it sits on your hair. 

The Science Behind Chebe Powder Hair Growth

Croton gratissimus, used to make Chebe powder for hair

Androstachys/Wikimedia Commons

Does this stuff actually work? Chebe powder has not yet been shown to increase hair growth through topical use in scientific studies or trials.

But enough anecdotal evidence exists to make us curious about the effects of Croton gratissimus and Croton zambesicus when it is combined with the other ingredients in traditional chebe. It’s possible that the reported hair growth effects are real they just haven’t been properly studied yet. 

Very few studies exist on the efficacy of croton oil on hair growth, and we’re not aware of a single study that examines the effectiveness of lavender croton powder, the main constituent of chebe, on hair growth. 

One study found that topical croton oil had no effect on hair regrowth in patients with alopecia areata baldness. But it’s important to consider that croton oil and powdered lavender croton are two different substances. 

An interesting account from a medical doctor in 1848 describes a patient with healthy, attractive hair using less than 20 drops of croton oil on her hair only to awake with a severely swollen scalp, eyelids, and head pain the next morning.

He attributed these symptoms to the “oleum tiglii,” or oil made from the seeds of Croton tiglium (a different plant than the lavender croton in chebe). Interestingly, lavender croton is known to be a type of vasorelaxant that is proven to increase blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels.

This is a key characteristic of many known hair growth-boosting compounds and substances found in hair growth shampoos and supplements because they increase blood flow to the scalp. 

It is possible that lavender croton the main part of chebe or shebe powder works to bolster hair growth simply by making more blood flow available to the scalp. More studies will be needed to confirm these claims. 

How to Make Authentic Chebe Powder

If you’re interested in what goes into traditional chebe or shebe powder traditionally used by Chadian tribes, here’s an authentic recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons lavender croton powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Mahalaba (cherry kernels)
  • 1 teaspoon Khumra perfume
  • 1/2 teaspoon missic (incense resin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 

Add the ingredients except the coconut oil and perfume to a blender or food processor and grind until the ingredients are finely powdered.

Transfer the powder to a small jar with a lid. Add the coconut oil and perfume last and mix until fully blended. Use right away or put the lid on to store it for up to 3 months. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve tried to answer the most common questions about chebe powder throughout this guide, but here’s a quick summary of the FAQs about this hair growth product. 

Is chebe powder safe to use?

Chebe powder should be safe to use as long as it isn’t applied to the scalp or skin - only to the hair shaft. Burning, itching, dandruff, and irritation can occur if this mixture makes contact with your skin. You should use gloves during application and dispose of them afterward to avoid a negative reaction. Speak to your doctor or trusted medical provider to determine if this product will be safe for you to use.

Will chebe powder actually increase hair growth?

No studies indicate that chebe, shebe, or chewe powder will directly increase the rate of your hair growth. However, the moisturizing, strengthening, and anti-breakage properties of chebe mean it can be a great way to reduce breakage and achieve longer lengths through healthier hair.

Can you leave chebe powder in your hair?

Yes, you can leave chebe or shebe powder in your hair for up to 7 days (curly/coily hair) or up to 3 days (straight/wavy hair). You are not actually leaving the powder in your hair for this duration of time - you are leaving a paste made with the powder plus oil or water. The paste will harden over the span of a few days, making it a little challenging to remove. Shampooing twice should remove the residue.

How long does it take to see results from chebe powder?

Claims say that hair growth results from chebe powder start to become noticeable after about 3-4 weeks. You may not notice increased overall length, but less breakage, a larger number of long hairs, better moisturization, stronger strands, and fewer tangles should be apparent after about a month of usage.

So, Does Chebe Powder Work for Hair?

Before after long hair grown with Chebe powder

Maidannikov/Shutterstock

Overall, chebe, shebe, or chewe powder is a beneficial, botanical mixture that seems to be a good match for most hair types. We hope to see more scientific studies and trials that indicate just how effective it is.

For now, we consider the abundant anecdotal evidence that says it really works to be somewhat reliable, but not as trustworthy as clinical studies. Does it make your hair grow faster and longer than it could naturally?

It doesn’t appear that’s the case. Instead, this powder may strengthen protein bonds in the hair and improve moisture retention to contribute to less breakage overall and longer-looking locks.

If you’re thinking about using this powder to supercharge your hair growth like the Chadian ladies in Western Africa have done for centuries, we encourage you to talk to your doctor about it first and continue to do your own research.

A sprinkle of skepticism is always a good idea to keep expectations in check! 

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