Do it Yourself... or Do it for Less

You've heard time and time again that hair care and beauty can be expensive. You also know that both are booming industries, and advertisers are always looking for new ways to get you interested in dropping dough on their products. How can you still give your hair everything it needs without burning a hole in your pockets? Read on for a few ideas on how to maximize your money when it comes to four key areas of haircare.

1. Clarifying
You've heard all about the benefits of an ACV rinse, but did you know you can use Apple Cider Vinegar to clarify your hair? Just mix one part Apple Cider Vinegar (organic, with Mother) and one part water. Shake it up in a spray bottle and saturate your hair. Let the ACV mix sit on your hair (and scalp) for 20-30 minutes, then continue with your regular co-wash or a deep condition. Apple Cider Vinegar can be purchased from Vitamin Shoppe for $2.99. If you're not a fan of the scent of Apple Cider Vinegar, Aztec Healing Clay is an odorless alternative. Mix the clay and water until you achieve a mud-like texture. Apply to your hair and scalp for 20-30 minutes and rinse thoroughly. You can also follow this up with a co-wash or deep conditioning, depending upon your hair's needs. You can grab a 16oz jar of Aztec Healing Clay for around $7 at retailers like Sprouts and Vitamin Shoppe.

2. Conditioning
Arguably, conditioner is something that naturals tend to spend the most money on -- and rightfully so. We need protein conditioners, moisturizing conditioners, co-washing conditioners, deep conditioners, conditioners for our conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and so forth. The thing about conditioners to remember is that just because it comes with a hefty price tag doesn’t mean it’s worth the money. As we explored in this article, the expensive conditioners often couldn’t hold a counter to their cheaper counterparts. When it comes to conditioners, avoid purchasing at grocery and pharmacy stores (like CVS and Walgreens) if possible, and unless there is an irrefutable sale. Often times, these stores carry many of the same brands you can find at Target, but tack on $2 or $3 more than Target prices. Additionally, you can always find conditioners that do double duty – like a nourishing conditioner that can also double as a deep conditioner if mixed with a favorite oil, or left on your hair a little longer. And, don’t underestimate the cheapie conditioners. Just because the bottle says Suave, Aussie or Tresemme doesn’t mean it can’t do your hair any good. In fact, Aussie Moist and Tresemme Anti-Breakage are staples in my haircare collection!

3. Moisturizing/Leave-In
Unless there is a dire need, one thing I vowed to never spend money on is a leave-in. There are far too many ways to cut that cost out of your haircare budget. For starters, you can always buy a conditioner that doubles as a leave-in. My personal favorite in this area is Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner that I use not only as a regular conditioner, but also sometimes as a leave in, and sometimes as a deep conditioner. Alternatively, you can leave a little bit of your regular conditioner in your hair by not rinsing all of it out. Just make sure you double-check the ingredient list to ensure that nothing in the bottle is going to irritate your scalp. Or, since most leave-ins are nothing more than a diluted version of a standard product, you can always pour some of your favorite conditioner into a spray bottle, add water, shake, and spray. Lastly, you can have your styling/sealing product double as a leave in – as long as it contains water or a penetrating oil like Coconut.

4. Sealing
When it comes to sealing in moisture, there are tons of money saving options that are fair game. If your hair loves oils or straight up butters, Shea, Coconut, and Castor are pretty inexpensive go-tos. You can also use your styling products to double up as sealants. Two of my favorite double-duty sealants are Shea Moisture’s Coconut Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and my Napptural85-inspired fluffy styling cream.  With the Shea Moisture product, I alternate between applying after a diluted conditioner leave-in, after a little coconut oil, or by itself – all depending on my hair’s needs at the time. My DIY fluffy styling cream is so chock full of goodies that I just spritz on water for moisture, and follow up with a small amount of the mix. There are dozens of different recipes out there, so make sure to follow or modify one according to what your hair likes. My DIY cream is made with Shea Butter, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, and a Sweet Almond/Vitamin E Oil blend. It is heavy enough to seal, but light enough to give my hair life with amazing braid-outs.  A cool bonus: the DIY fluffy styling cream is an awesome body moisturizer too! For more information on my DIY cream, click here.


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