Back to School on a Budget!
Back to School on a Budget!by Elle of Party Over Hair

Unfortunately the summer is almost over, and now it’s time for many college students to head back to campus and prepare for yet another academic year. During my college years, I attended the University of Connecticut, in which I lived on campus. Although I wasn’t natural yet, it was usually around this time that I would start preparing a list of all the things I needed to get before heading back. I basically spent my college years wearing weaves, so I never really had to incorporate buying hair products into my list. Now we all know buying hair products eventually can become a little costly, and being a college student, that can pose as a major problem. Well, good news. I’m here to help. I figured I would compose a Back to School List of hair products for my college girls on a budget. The last thing you want to do is spend over $50 for hair products when you know you’re going to have to buy textbooks soon. So hopefully this little list helps, I’d love to hear from some of college naturals and what they think should be added to the list.

Also, I’m a big fan of Target & Walgreens. So I tried to get the best value price between both stores, as well as helping you get more bang for your buck! You can follow this list for the best prices, or just go to either store because both of them do carry all the products I will be listing!


A cheap conditioner for co-washing can go a long way. Plus, you can always add some oils & other natural ingredients to your own deep condition treatment!

  • Clairol Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioners, 23.7oz – $3.89 [Walgreens]
  • Aussie Moist Conditioner, 33.8oz – $6.49 [Walgreens]
  • Suave Professionals Moisturizing Conditioner – Almond & Shea Butter, 28.0 oz – $3.49 [Walgreens]


A cheap alternative to leave-in conditioners is just using the conditioners you co-wash with. Some people may question this method, but I assure you it’s perfectly fine.

  • Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner, 8.5 oz – $7.99 [Target]
  • Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream, 16 oz – $4.99 [Walgreens]


For deep conditioners, to be cost efficient, I’d recommend just using your current conditioner & add some ingredients, such as EVOO & honey. No need to go out in purchase anything!


You really don’t need to purchase any products for a pre-poo treatment. You’re better off using some of your conditioner or oils, or both as a pre-poo.


For the first four months of my natural hair journey, I didn’t use shampoo at all. Instead of using shampoo at the time, I just purchased the cheapest bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar I found & called it a day. Whenever my scalp felt like I had build up, I just did a ACV wash. You obviously know your hair better than I do, so this can act as another cost efficient substitute.

  • Suave Professionals Moisturizing Shampoo – Almond & Shea Butter, 28 oz – $3.49 [Walgreens]


For styling, I personally think you can’t go wrong if you use either Eco Styler or Shea Moisture. EcoStyler works amazing for TWAs, as well as long hair & Shea Moisture is just all around a great product to have.

  • EcoStyler Gel w. Olive Oil, 16 oz – $2.99 [Walgreens]
  • Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Conditioning Milk, 8 oz. $9.99
  • Shea Moisture Organic Curl Enhancing Smooth, 12.oz $9.99


Aside from your conditioner, I think Oils are one of the essential products you’ll want to have available at all times. Oils can be added to any of your products to give it an extra HUMPH and they work great for DC & Pre-Poos. Plus, if you have access to a microwave, you can warm oil up for about 12-15 seconds & give yourself a nice oil massage!

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Look for the cheapest, biggest bottle you can find at your local grocery store!
  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil


There may be times when you want to give your hair a special treatment without going broke. I personally like walking around my kitchen finding ingredients that I can throw in my hair, so I feel you’ll never go wrong if you have some everyday kitchen ingredients around. These are some basic ingredients that can help spice up your DCs or when used together work great as Protein Treatments.

  • Honey
  • Mayonnaise
  • Bananas or Organic Banana Baby Food
  • Eggs


These are things that you definitely will need to have, along with all your products!

  • Satin Scarf, Bonnet or Pillowcase
  • Wide Tooth Comb
  • Sheer Stockings [To use as hair ties]
  • Plastics Caps
  • Hard Bristle Brush

Is there anything you’d add to the list?