I’ve been natural for almost six years now, and I don’t want to even think about how much money I’ve dished out on hair products. It’s a small fortune for sure. I’ll be the first to admit that I absolutely

love hair products in general and may be on the cusp of being slightly addicted. I get super excited when a new, ground-breaking technology-infused hair gel or twisting butter hits the market because it’s going to be magical, right? Not necessarily.

As naturals, we are constantly in search of that one bottle or jar of “miracle whip” that will define our curls, provide moisture for days, and aid in creating hairstyles that turn heads. And let’s be honest, this isn’t

a cheap habit. An 8 oz. bottle of leave-in conditioner can easily set you back around $11 or more. And of course, you’ll need the sisters and aunts that go along with that leave in. Therefore, you also grab the shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, edge control…can’t split up the family, right? Next thing you know, you’re walking out of Target, a half-filled bag heavier and $150 lighter.

With so many great natural hair care companies out there, how is it possible to Just. Say. No? There is absolutely no truth in me claiming I’m going to stop purchasing the latest and greatest hair products, but I’ve slowed down quite a bit. Aside from me knowing and having a better relationship with my hair, part of the reason for this is a lack of accessibility. Being overseas, I don’t have direct access to many of the items I would like to try. Also, I now prefer to use my money for other things like say… trips to other continents.

If you are like me and want to start saving more of your money while still rocking beautiful, natural hair, continue reading.

 

1. Learn about ingredients.

I think this is so important and is the one thing that saved me over the years. There are a few ingredients that work well on my hair as long as they are not one of the top 5. Then, there are those that just can’t be anywhere in the ingredient list. I’ve learned to stay far away from humectants during the summer months when I want to wear a twist or braid out. I also know that anything that contains large amounts of coconut oil will wreak havoc on my hair if left in.  Find out what your hair does and does not like. It will save you time, money and a hairstyle.

2. Take better care of your hair.

You can’t realistically expect products to do everything, although many of them claim to. For instance, I have yet to see a product “repair” split ends. No, they need to be cut! Treat your hair well, whatever that may mean to you. For some, this means deep conditioning regularly, and for others, it could mean wearing protective styles more often. The better maintenance you do, the less product you’ll have to buy.

3. Stop thinking your hair is like everyone else’s on YouTube.

I’ve been so guilty of this. Before I did the big chop, I used to watch tons of YouTube tutorials geared towards natural hair. If anyone remembers Rustic Beauty, raise your hand! I would watch her and a few of the other original natural-haired YouTubers for hours on end. When I finally cut my hair, I followed many of their methods, used what they used and was totally confused and disappointed to the core when my hair didn’t turnout like theirs. I later realized, it was because my hair just didn’t react to the products the same way. I didn’t consider hair type or porosity at all.  Knowing these characteristics is a big step in the right direction when building an effective regimen for your hair.

4. Wear more protective styles.

There are many benefits to protective styling, and one of the best ones is less product usage. Think about it, if your hair is kept in twists for a whole week, it pretty much stays moisturized. You may have to use a bit of moisturizing spray or water, but that’s normally it. When hair is left out, it gets drier quicker. Updos can be cute, classy and fun. Turn to the web or hair magazines for inspiration.

5. Use your products effectively and give them a chance.

When it comes to natural hair products, reading is fundamental, and experimenting is key. I’ve co-washed, conditioned and styled my hair with one product. I’ve also used deep conditioners as stylers, with no problems. If you do what I suggested in #1, this may work for you as well! Now, there have been times when I attempted to use products differently from what they were intended and well, let’s just say I wasn’t too happy with the results. Now that I’m more in tune to how my hair reacts to certain ingredients, I don’t have this issue. When using a new hair-care item, be sure to remove all product build-up from your strands and give it time to do what it is supposed to. One day may not be enough! Many times we think a product isn’t working, and then become upset about the purchase when actually, we sabotaged the results by not prepping our hair and being patient.

Remember, having natural hair can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be expensive! Hope this helps someone.