How to stay “Natural” on a budget

I have hair that is classified as

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  • course/textured
  • (fairly) processed
  • kinky/tight
  • pro-shrinkage
  • dry
  • dehydrated

I have struggled with my hair my entire life, as did my mom, who relaxed my hair in result of the incredible challenges she faced trying to manage or “tame” it.

Naturally, as a nine year old, who was rather plump, I loved the idea of having straight, soft, “easy to manage” hair. I loved the shiny, sleek, relaxed look that was one less thing I had to be self conscious about and something that was way more accepted than my mess of a nest. It took years–after bleaching, highlighting, heat damage, and basically college getting in the way of caring for it–before I went 100% “natural,” and one amazing day of me being a hair model for DevaCurl (September 2014) to really get me on track to taking care of my CURLS.

Now, I’m not only conscious of the products I use and what’s in them, but I’m even more conscious of the time and patience needed to really love and care for my beautiful curls. I’m the most conscious of how much money it actually takes to be natural and maintain healthy hair; just like my phone bill, food bill, and rent, my hair products are another bill I make sure to factor in when balancing my checkbooks. I’m constantly trying new products, although I’m a devoted DevaCurl consumer, because your hair does need a break from the routine that we have when we use the same brand/product (although, my hair never gets “used to” or tired of Deva products–it’s more of a budget thing). Below are some of my most recent picks that really worked and stayed within my budget, because you can stay (and become) natural within your own budget, as long as you make a budget! 


 

Design (6)1.

It’s been quite the past few months with the holidays, gift giving, and overall bills–so, instead of getting my usual combo of the DevaCurl one condition and heaven in hair, I opted for something in my budget, which was the JUMBO size of the OGX Coconut Milk conditioner (25.4oz for $8 on sale at my local pharmacy). First of all, the smell? It’s like natural mami heaven, and it’s a very subtle fragrance. Being that my hair needs as much hydration and contained moisture, the coconut oils and egg white protein work wonders (although an at-home remedy would probably be better). The ingredients also include the jojoba oil, which is amazing in terms of removing hair residues and moisturizing the follicles to reduce hair loss. Whenever I use conditioner, I comb with my fingers ONLY, which allows me to really get into those “dead ends” and follicles, which in return enhances the soft texture I naturally have. Overall, for $8 this was a great alternative to my normal conditioning routines.

2.

I’m all about versatility in life, whether that be with a jacket, my makeup, or my shoes. I’m even MORE about it when it comes to my hair products. This Coconut Whipped Cream Leave in Conditioner from RenPure is the absolute best for my hair in terms of deep conditioning and styling. It not only acts as my leave-in conditioner, but it’s also my alternative to styling/curling gel, my key to taming my baby hairs/edges, and the perfect cream for my ponytails. It has a bold smell, but not the salon/chemical type; more of the concept of cologne being bold. It’s also great for color protection aka good for processed hair. It keeps my hair in place, tames the frizz, and never creates a crunchy effect. The ingredients include certain refatting agents that help restore the hair’s natural oils (that I lack), which is also good for people who use shampoos that are known to strip the hair. It also has Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, which give the product that bold smell. TIP: be mindful, if it says anything other than “Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil” or simply “Argan Oil”, it is not the natural oil and will strip your hair. Otherwise, argan oil has been proven to make hair softer, silkier, shinier and less frizzier. I purchased this at my local beauty supply store for $8.99 about three months ago, and am only halfway down after using it at least four times a week.

3.

First of all, anything Shea Moisture is absolute gold for my hair texture, thickness, and curl pattern. I used to use the curl enhancing smoothie, but it’s very thick and was mainly just a ponytail/bun styler for me (but it smells like magic). I was elated to find the Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner ($10 at Duane Reade) because I’ve heard nothing but amazing things from #blackbloggers about castor oil and shea butter, and I’ve also read that peppermint is great for natural curls. This is the complete opposite in terms of thickness of the smoothie products. It’s more like melted frosting texture, so it’s more to my liking and I love adding it to my hair fresh out of the shower. I don’t use too much of it, however, because it does give my hair a stiff effect if I overdue it, but that also means it will last me a long time. For those that don’t know, castor oil is amazing in terms of hair growth and thickness; while, I don’t need help in the thickening department, I need all the help I can get with growth and length. The antibacterial and anti fungal properties make it beneficial against follliculitus, dandruff and scalp infections for those that are prone to that also. Some other ingredients that reappear are the coconut oil, jojoba oil, and keratin, while new ones include rice protein, mentha piperita (peppermint) and vinegar. Rice protein is amazing for volume and vibrancy with hair, and while I don’t need volume, it’s the perfect ingredient for a summer fro or when I really want to be loud with my hair. The mentha piperita is used mostly for fragrance, but it also acts as a conditioning agent that strengthens follicles and decreases hair loss. Vinegar simply helps balance the pH levels in your hair and seals the cuticle (aka locking in moisture).

4.

This is the only product brand on this list that was new to me, so bare with the brevity. What caught my eye about CURLS’ Blissful Hair-growth Oil was the “hair growth” plastered right on the front of the bottle and the $8.99 price (which is amazing considering I was paying $12+ for John Frieda oil products). I apply it straight to my roots (scalp) after sectioning into four parts fresh out of the shower, and that whole “a little goes a long way” definitely applies to this product. I’m only on week one of using this, but the shine I get from it is incredible and the smell is my favorite smell out of all of the products listed here. My hair does not produce enough oil, so any added help is definitely appreciated and my locks show that. Touching back on that “versatility” I look for, this is also an amazing product to use when styling with any heating tools. I have taken a break from the straightener, but I will be sure to use this an update you all once that happens. Ingredients include soy bean oil, which has nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, manganese & vitamin K, and lipids in the oil that all absorb into the hair better (aka amazing hot oil treatment). In addition to the infamous coconut oil, it also contains Kukuinut oil which is amazing for dry and damaged hair. Kukuinut contains amino and essential fatty acids that penetrate the hair shaft, leaving it looking ultra moisturized. Shea butter, mango seed butter, almond oil, and Vitamin E are all other amazing ingredients that are the perfect match when heating your hair.

5.

The DevaCurl No Poo is not something that is new to me nor have I recently purchased it, but I felt it needed to be on this list because many of my friends and readers constantly use Shampoo that is horrible for the hair, which in the long run will cost you more money. Sometimes, working with your budget also means budgeting long term and shedding a few extra dollars for what WORKS and promotes longevity in hair health. If you’re like me, you feel the need to buy some new hair products anytime you have some spare cash lying around. The goal is to get great products, not good ones for the moment with your $20 budget. What I like to do is work with all of the products I already have, even if they aren’t my favorite. I then save the money I would have spent on temporary products, and, once I have enough, I get that BOMB product that lasts me a longer time and doesn’t make me crave any others. I can’t remember the last time I actually used shampoo; the DevaCurl No Poo is a non-lathering cleanser, so it does not have any of the ingredients typical shampoos have that strip or dry out the hair. The peppermint, grapeseed oil, and wheat amino acids all stimulate, hydrate, and cleans the scalp/hair to reveal the healthiest form of your curls. It’s definitely something to get used to, if you need to feel that foamy/suddy texture, but it’s the best transition for your hair and has such a refreshingly clean smell. It costs anywhere between $10 (small size) and $40 (jumbo size) on the actual website, but check out Amazon.com – they have way better deals that are more within my budget. You’ll also be surprised, your local beauty store might have some discounts too.


 

Overall, these five products have held me over throughout my hair care process, because I am lonnngggg overdue for a “curly hair cut”, which I’ll talk about more in my next review. Some new products I’ll be receiving next week include DevaCurl’s new decandance line, so stay tuned for that too!

Budget tips to go home with:

  1. Always factor in how much you actually need (not want) to spend per month on hair products.
  2. Create another “bill” if you have to, that must get paid every month in order to maximize the health and growth of your natural hair. (I promise, it’s cheaper in the long run.)
  3. READ THE INGREDIENTS to your products. You don’t want to waste money on a product that contains harmful ingredients. (P.S. you can always return unused/barely used products.)
  4. Stop buying $10 products here and there when you have money lying around, and get yourself a “natural hair piggy bank.” You’ll be surprised how easy you can come up with $100 that can get you the highest quality products for your hair.
  5. Be realistic; it takes at least three weeks to see true results from any beauty product.

LOVE YOUR CURLS

(even if it’s half as much as Tracee Ellis Ross).

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