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Curly Nikki

Finding What Products Work on a Budget

By January 27th, 20217 Comments

Finding What Products Work on a Budget

by Jamila of CollegeCurlies

A CollegeCurlies reader writes;

Hello, I’m a 19y/o natural college student and I’m struggling with my hair to say the least. Its been approx. 9months since my BC but the first 5months I had little to no growth retention. I am very familiar with the technical concept of natural hair and can describe it to many others. Sadly, I can’t see any major results in my hair. I had a leave-in that I mixed, It was a combination of Aloe Vera juice, Almond oil, olive oil and water, but I recently lost it. :( I was wondering if you can set me up with some type of basic regimen or something of the sort because I feel this is mass mistreatment of my hair. I’m trying really hard but I have little to no support system and very small amount of cash to buy multiple non successful products . Can you please help :/, Signed a Natural Needing Help.

Jamila Responds;

First, don’t expect to see growth results immediately! Everyone’s hair grows at different rates. If you’re considered about length retention, check out this post by Black Hair Care Blog.

One of the most important things I’ve learned throughout my natural journey is that what works for one curly might not work for me. Start with basics, and if/when your budget permits, try those other splurge products that you think might work for you. Here are some tips:

Try before you Buy: You can sample a lot of products before you buy them. A natural hair salon in my hometown sells Jane Carter and Miss Jessie’s products; go in for a consultation and ask if you can sample the products in-store. Sephora sells Carol’s Daughter products, and you can ask for samples there as well.

Use what you have: Honey, cheapie conditioner, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) can be your natural hair’s best friends. Don’t’ feel like you have to go out and buy all new products. You can make a deep conditioning mix or spice up your conditioner/shampoo by adding oils. Check out more kitchen ingredients that can be used on your natural hair here.

Care from the inside out: Water, vitamins, a healthy diet, sufficient sleep and an exercise routine are all parts of healthy hair care. Part of many Grow Out Challenges include these elements because they’ve proven to be successful.

Shea Moisture products get great reviews from the curly community, and are relatively inexpensive. Check out my list of fabulous and frugal products (all under $12.00)

I hope this helps.

Stay fabulous!


  • Anonymous says:

    I am against purchasing expensive products. Really its just because I'm cheap. I use Suave mint-rosemary conditioner as a co-wash. When I need to clarify I use Giovanni. Giovanni is the most expensive item I own. I use Giovanni direct leave in. I heard Suave sheabutter and almont (i think that is the name of it) is good too as a leave in and seal with either grapeseed oil (you get a big bottle for like $10 and lasts a long time) or a good cheap oil is africans best herbal oil (like $3 at wal-mart and it has all kinds oil of stuff like olive, castor, safflower etc).

  • Lorian says:

    Don't fall into the hype about using ONLY this, that or the other. Do what works for you (i.e. silicony conditioners on sale, slap some vaseline on your ends, olive oil from Aldi or Trader Joes. You may have to figure out methods of use, but these hair products can still work for you and you can still have great hair. It's less about products and more about technique. Plenty of people, including myself and Ms. Curly Nikki, love Herbal Essences products…and they have lots of silicones, but they get the tangles out and you can stock up when the conditioner is on sale. Get a cheap wide tooth comb, slap on some conditioner (suave natural-silicone free, HH, anything cheap) comb it out before the shower in sections…rinse, leave a little conditioner in your hair, slap some vaseline or olive oil on the ends, and put it in a bun and keep it moving. Cheap and easy! Bombshell!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I return everything that doesn't work. That's why I mostly shop at Target, Walmart and Whole Foods. They usually take everything back.

  • Anonymous says:

    great post Jamila!

  • Anonymous says:

    Also as a bit of advice, both Sally Beauty Supply and Whole Foods allow you to return used products if you are not satisfied. I believe within 60 days with a receipt. This is a great way to try new products but not waste money when you hair rejects them!

  • Brandi says:

    I totally understand where you're coming from. What works for me is the Shea Moisture products and getting my products from local stores – beauty supply, grocery, Indian stores. You have to pay more attention to the ingredients to make sure they're not full of chemicals. At the grocery stores and Indian stores you can get some quality products for cheap! Yogurt, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, honey, henna, vatika oil and lots more.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is all GREAT advice that I may have to use for myself :)

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