Better Places to Buy II

 This article was also featured on Black Girl Long Hair.

As we discussed last time, having natural hair or transitioning can be confusing, but it doesn't have to be expensive. As an impulse shopper and recovering product junkie, I have a tendency to randomly decide I "need" something for my hair, then go grab it the first place I would assumed carried it. Needless to say, I poured a lot of money down the drain by not doing my homework. But boy, have I learned my lesson. I often spend my lunch break or other bouts of down-time exploring stores in my area and looking for the best bargains. Here are six more natural hair staples that can be nabbed at discounted prices:
 Product Details
Raw Shea Butter: Whether you like Shea Butter for your skin or to blend in a DIY mix a'la Naptural85, this natural staple doesn't have to be pricey. I live in LA, and have places like Dawah Books (on Crenshaw Blvd.) where I can get a pound (16oz) of Shea Butter for $6. If you live near any African shops or marketplaces, I would check there first. However, if you have to order online, 8oz of raw Shea Butter will run you in the ballpark of $5 -- and a little goes a long way. Check out Amazon or Erzuli for online purchasing.

Jojoba Oil: Great for leave-ins, pre-pooing, or sealing hair, Jojoba oil has made it on many a natural's radar. However, the price-point can be a little discouraging to some -- especially when olive, coconut and other oils are available in much larger quantities for much less. One way to ease the sting in purchasing this powerful oil is to head over to Trader Joe's. This amazing store chain carries 4oz of 100% pure Jojoba oil for $6.99. This is by far the best in-store pricing I have found.
GladWare Mini Round Containers - 8 Count  
Storage Containers: In this area, my #1 recommendation is reusing emptied hair product jars. Make sure they are washed well and dried thoroughly before re-use. My personal favorite is taking Shea Moisture jars, washing and loading them up with my mixes. Fair warning: do not pour hot flaxseed gel (or any other "cooked" concoctions) directly into the container. It will melt. If you insist on purchasing airtight containers, your best bet is Target. Grab an 8-count GladWare Mini Round Containers for $3.29.

Henna: Eight months ago, I would have suggested heading to Whole Foods or Sprouts and grabbing a box of Light Mountain Henna for $7.99. DON'T. YOU. DARE. Take it from me, cutting corners when it comes to Henna just isn't worth the hassle. Light Mountain Henna is decent enough (if you enjoy repeated co-washing and picking sticks and stems out of your hair), but for the price point, you can easily get ahold of some Body Art Quality (BAQ) Henna. I resorted to ordering my Jamila BAQ Henna from an Ebay dealer, Mehndi911 who is located in Culver City, CA. I usually purchase 2 or 3 boxes at a time, for $6.00each and $1.98 shipping. I chose this particular dealer because she has Summer 2012 crop of henna, which is the freshest. If you're interested in saving a few bucks, you can always purchase previous crop years (2010, 2011) for cheaper on sites like Ebay or Amazon. When purchasing Henna online, make sure the vendor or dealer is able to indicate a crop date and brand. Don't be taken in by bootleg Henna!
Vitamin Shoppe Apple Cider Vinegar, 16.0 Fluid Ounces , Liquid
Apple Cider Vinegar: The interwebs tout ACV as a miracle in a bottle that can help you kill lice, dandruff, grow hair, improve your credit score, pH balance hair, re-elect Obama, smooth hair, bring down gas prices, and fight frizz...and the list goes on. When it comes to buying Apple Cider Vinegar, most people naturally gravitate toward Braggs, as it is known as a popular brand of reputable quality. However, did you know that the Vitamin Shoppe has their own brand of organic ACV (with Mother, of course) for less? Head to the Vitamin Shoppe for a 16oz bottle for $2.99!

Vitamin E Oil: If you've headed to Trader Joe's for Jojoba oil, don't leave just yet. If you love Vitamin E oil or are curious about how it'll treat your hair, you can purchase some at TJ's at a price that won't leave you mad if you don't love it. Try out a 4oz bottle of pure Vitamin E oil for $3.99.
UPDATE: I retract the statement above about purchasing Vitamin E Oil from Trader Joe's. I recently had the opportunity to read the ingredient label, and it is not 100% pure. It is a blend of cheaper carrier oils (i.e. soybean, I believe), with Vitamin E Oil added in. If you want pure Vitamin E Oil, Whole Foods is probably your best bet. I actually use Aura Cacia's Sweet Almond Oil with Vitamin E. The only ingredients are Sweet Almond Oil, and Vitamin E Oil. A 4oz bottle is regularly $5.49

What other staples have you uncovered at discount prices?


  1. Be careful with Vitamin E oil. The first vitamin E oil I used was also a cheap carrier oil, so I decided to look for a pure high potency vitamin e oil. I chose Nature's Gate vitamin E oil which I purchased at Whole Foods. My girlfriend and I both began to apply it topically to our faces and we thought it was a miracle in a jar. However, after a few weeks, we both broke out with allergic contact dermatitis around our mouth, under our eyes, and on our eyelids, where skin is the most sensitive. We did some actual research and found out that what we were using was completely synthetic. Better yet, there is no founded research that suggests that Vitamin E is even beneficial for hair or skin. The only thing that Vitamin E oil has been proven to do is leave many with contact dermatitis as well as an allergy and intolerance to any product containing tocopherol whatsoever. Let me be the cautionary tale. If I were you, I would find out where the vitamin E I was using was coming from and reconsider using it altogether. Best of luck.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this cautionary tale! If you don't mind, I will do some research and share with readers your comment. I really appreciate it!

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