As previously mentioned, chebe is "a shrub that grows in the mountain ranges" of Chad, known for its hair strengthening abilities. So it's easy to see why it's been used by women in the country for centuries.,
However, Petersen notes that while the ingredient has started to become increasingly popular in the west over the past few years, not all chebe powder is created equally.
"The kind that has that effect on hair only grows in a specific region in Chad," she says. "I bought a few powders on Amazon and elsewhere on the internet — none of them were chebe. I don't know what it was — sand, henna, cigarette hash?" Yikes.
That's why she says it's important to know where you're getting your chebe from — and who's a part of the sourcing process.
"Beware of people selling 'African' chebe, as it is a whole different variety and has no effect whatsoever on hair," she warns.