I got my hair relaxed for the first time when I started elementary school. For the next 13 years, my family spent time, money, and effort chemically straightening my curls. I simply thought it was part of overall hygiene and hair care—every two months, burn those fuzzy roots into submission!
By the time I was a senior in high school, my poor strands were fried and limp. I’d spend time, money, and effort to add volume back into my hair. “Wait a minute,” I thought. “Why am I doing this—don’t I naturally have curly hair? Aren’t I, ya know, genetically predisposed to voluminous hair?”
When I started college, I decided to trade in the chemicals and flat irons and let my tresses flow free! Of course, since I hadn’t cared for (or seen!) my natural hair texture since I was a toddler, it took a solid 2 years of trial and error to figure this fro out.
If you have curls, coils, or waves, you may have also spent a lifetime trying to tame them (or, worse, hide them altogether). Here are my tips to help you put your best foot forward and still flaunt your curls and kinks—all without breaking the bank.
1. Know Your Hair Type
Don’t fall for flashy marketing! Just because the model on a product looks like you doesn’t mean it will work for you. Flip that label around and read the ingredients!
If your hair is brittle, look for proteins. If your hair is dry, look for moisturizing and conditioning ingredients like aloe vera and glycerin. (Check out my current favorites in CurlMart.com, because I could talk about hair products all day …)
If you need help figuring out what your hair is, look at categories like curl pattern, porosity, hair density, and width. Through research, I discovered that I have thin and fine hair, as opposed to thick and coarse. Many conventional products marketed to my demographic don’t work—they actually weigh my hair down!
2. Mix It Up
OK, so you read this blog post a little too late, and you already have a stash of products that you’re not crazy about. Don’t toss ‘em! Instead, make some adjustments.
Add olive oil to conditioners if they’re not slippery enough to help you comb. I bought a liter-sized bottle of Tresemme that did zippo for my hair (it came with a pump, so I couldn’t resist). Sure, it was only a few bucks, but it was my few bucks. A few tablespoons of EVOO later, and I could comb through my hair with ease.
Mix gels that are too soft with gels that make your hair too crunchy to make the perfect styler. Save your money and add a dollop of your favorite conditioner to a mini spray bottle of water and enjoy a whole new product—leave-in conditioner! This comes in handy when I travel. You can just repurpose one product into two and save room for more important things.
3. Be A Smart Shopper
Ask about the return policy for hair products. I’m serious. Don’t abuse this tip, though; if it takes you half the bottle to realize you don’t like a product, don’t expect a refund! But it never hurts to ask, right?
Be a smart shopper, and take advantage of sales. BOGO (Buy One, Get One) sales are popular among curl-friendly brands like SheaMoisture, so that is the time to stock up! Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both opportunities to buy a variety of products at a fraction of the cost.
We all know the best price is FREE, so I encourage you to attend meetups, conferences, and hair shows. My favorite YouTubers and bloggers often have events to connect with their fans, and if hair is one of their passions, expect swag bags! There’s one sitting in my car right now—easily worth $50—that I got just for attending!
Lastly, don’t forget about a good ol’ swap session. Gather your fellow curly haired friends and trade items. One woman’s trash could be another woman’s good hair day.
How do you save on hair products? Share your secrets in the comments!