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Curly Nikki

Is Your Natural Hair Costing a Grip?

By January 27th, 202141 Comments
Is Your Natural Hair Costing a Grip?
Kurlybella of K is for Kinky

When I was relaxed I could put a hurting on a checkbook (I just had to say checkbook. It sounds so vintage and old school just like relaxer does). After dropping Benjamins in the salon, I’d then have to hightail it over to my local sally beauty to go and stock up on my spritz, gels, oil sheens and whatever other product I thought I needed that my hair dresser had used on my hair or whatever was the hottest thing in the latest issue of black hair magazine.

Now that I’m natural, the idea of paying someone hundreds of dollars to burn my scalp off and help me barely grow my hair is ludicrous. Today, to match the money that I was spending in my salon, I’d need to be a big fan of hair products that start at about $40 a jar without shipping. Uh, no thanks.

When I first went natural, I was an uber product junkie. Tyrone biggums didn’t have nothing on me. I tried everything to get my hair to look like “that girl with the great fotki.” Boy, I’d spend hours looking through Fotkis and hair boards and kept a pen and notepad near to jot down the hottest thing. My learning curve was steep because I had to go through various stages of unlearning what I thought were the correct ways of taking care of my hair. I spent tons of money on hair products because I believed every slogan on any jar of hair “pudding” that claimed it would transform my hair. My cabinets runneth over.

At that time, my natural hair was costing me a grip. I know that there are many naturals who swear by costly hair products – products that average $15 and up for a jar or bottle – and the cost of being natural equals to or more than being relaxed; especially when you add on luxuries like steamers and hair vitamins, to the never ending search for finding the perfect conditioner, and finishing it off with hair accessoires, scarves, and trips to whole paycheck foods. And if you are a vegan or all organic natural, hair care can also get costly.

I went natural to cut down on the costs of being relaxed. Costs including not having to endure the 2nd degree scalp burns to keeping more money in my pocket. Right now I’m right where I want to be but for many of us, the wallet damage has been done and is being done as we hunt for the next pudding, juices and berries spritz and hair wash. That can add up!

What say you? Is your natural hair care and styling costing more than the amount it cost you to be relaxed? Did you anticipate that being natural would be cheaper by “default”?


  • Anonymous says:

    I have saved so much money since being natural, going on 3yrs now but I found staple products that work for me and I wear wash and go's, don't like a massive amount of hair. I get a shape up at the barber about 3-4 months for $10 and I'm loving it.

  • Samantha Nneamaka says:

    Whole paycheck foods !!!!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I am very surprised by the comments…I have been transitioning for 1 year and OMG I have saved so much money. I have only been to the hair dresser to get my ends trimmed, and that is a big saving compared to when maintaining permed hair, that was colored, cut short, and weekly wash and style. (that could run $120 per month) Now I do my hair myself with twist-outs my products are fairly cheap. co wash with Herbal essence, and style with Shea Moisture Curl enhancing Smoothie (the 9.99 jar has lasted months)

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been totally natural for about a year and a half and was spending a lot more than I should and could afford at beauty and hair supply stores. I now attend natural hair shows where I can get great deal on products and tons of samples. Earlier this this I attended a function where Miss Jessies was giving away samples and collected enough to last about three months.

  • Godiva says:

    Not at all: It is less that the $15 wash and set a week plus the $60 every 6 weeks for a relaxer. In a 6-week period I can pay up to $120 for my hair. My products no where near cost that much. Being Natural is cheap in comparison.

  • Tiffany says:

    Yes I did go natural thinking I would save money, and I have. Now I have locs and am venturing into doing the maintenance myself.

  • Anonymous says:

    the most i've spent was 15 dollars for a hair product and that was at ross, it was name brand and it was a huge bottle 32oz maybe more i have to look..I use coupons for drugstore brands and go to the 99 cent store..and dont diss the 99 cent store because they have suave, Vo5, dove, sunsilk, garnier fructis, and everything in between you just have to look.. i bought a few dove moisture mist last week..I also shop sales at sally' thing i never do is pay full price..i can wait for a sale and i never pay big money for crappy ingredients, natural products or any other marketing ploy..miss jessies should be slapped for selling an expensive bottle of grease…and im also a product junkie..i just know how to save money

  • amadis says:

    I spend less now than when I did when I had relaxed hair, but that's mostly because I've gotten a lot smarter about buying products. When I first went natural I was still spending a lot of money on hair products. You see, I was always looking for the next great product that make my hair DO THIS or DO THAT. Even when I was relaxed it was the same. I wanted my hair to do what someone else's hair did. Now I've learned what my hair does naturally. What I used to think were limitations, I know see as multiple advantages. I don't need to buy products to fix my hair. Just to keep it healthy. I actually use very few products on my hair now and most of the products I use are the natural, raw material type (shea butter, coconut oil, henna). I rarely buy fancy mixes with special scents, which is where the extra dollars end up going. No more product junkie for me. But it took a long time to get here.

  • Nappy Miss Sew 'N Sew says:

    My hair costs me around $.99 a week (for a bottle of VO5 Conditioner). But I am extremely low maintenance. Wash and go hair daily, no added product or leave-ins. I don't even oil it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Glad you wrote this article, I AM SPENDING A GRIP on hair products. I have not been relaxed in 10 years but I got my hair flat-ironed regularly. It only cost me $30 and it lasted for 3 weeks. Occasionally I splurged on weaves but never really liked them, I preferred my natural hair. Fast forward to now. I have spent at least $1000 in my four months journey. I am keeping a log of my spending. I know that once I figure out what works best in my hair I will slow down considerably. I am by nature a conservative person & not a high maintenance girl. Right now I'm just impatient & want to learn & try everything. All of this is so exciting to me sort of like a hobby. It makes me happy so I don't mind being a product junkie. To actually be able to do my own hair well is my goal. Of all of the other hobbies I've picked up this is still the cheapest.

  • BROWNBROWS says:

    It was very expensive early on but that was due to my lack of understanding of my hair and product ingredients. I learned to buy in bulk and become a MIXTRESS. I save by not cowashing. I simply wash, condition and deep condition with kitchen items 1-2 x's a month. I do not mail order to avoid s&h charges, returns, etc.This works for me so I'm NEVER GOING BACK.

  • hairscapades says:

    I got relaxers two times a year and they were done at home. Couldn't stand salons then, can't stand them now. I might have gone to them twice a year for trims, so then it would be styled. I just couldn't stand waiting for hours due to an overbooked stylist. Anyway, back then I used Pantene, TCB Lite Hair Dressing, some pink lotion sometimes and oil sheen. So yeah, my natural hair is more expensive as I use henna, oils, DCs, leave-ins and stylers. But yes, I am a self-proclaimed, certifiable PJ;). As someone far above said though, it's a hobby. I've actually slowed down a lot over the last few months though. That's mostly because the hair blogging is taking away from my free product shopping time:). Last year, felt like I was buying products every week, sometimes multiple times each week. I'd been natural for 10 years, with good results, but the discovery of CurlyNikki sparked a fire that continues to flame!!! LOL!! But, I NEVER spend beyond my means. That is what is really important in my opinion. You don't HAVE to spend a lot of money to be natural. It's a choice you have to make, because it takes some research when you first start this journey and some discipline to not to be wooed by the stellar reviews and pretty bottles on every hair site and Youtube!!


  • Anonymous says:

    It doesn't cost more as a natural. If it costs you more than relaxing the hair, you are a certifiable product junkie.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm still learning and the more I learn proper hair etiquette the more I want to do things correctly. Right now, I'm in the early transitioning stages and I've been converting all of my products and tools over. I've been told to treat my hair as if it's natural already. So, I've been researching and every time I learn something new I try to apply it. Thus, I have purchased more products than I ever have in my life. (Probably because I didn't know enough to care before I decided that I wanted healthy hair or to go natural.) For instance, when I was relaxed I'd buy a $5 kiddie perm every two months and use whatever came in the kit until it ran out. I didn't know that you shouldn't use a neutralizing shampoo every time you wash, or that alcohol, mineral oil and petroleum were 'bad' ingredients. Let's just say that the other products I had were no where near natural or good for my hair. In a way, I resent my transition because now I spend more time, more money, more energy on my hair and things I need/want for it. Every product I've purchased is at Least 3 times more than any product I use to buy. And some of them are still not up to par ingredient wise… I fell into the trap of buying what's popular 🙁

  • Jan says:

    I have spent a lot of money since I went natural – conditioners, brushes, microfiber towels, diffusers, moisturizing shampoos etc. It is a process. I don't spend as much any more because I now know what works for my hair and I have used sales to stock up. I have no need to buy anything for my hair until the new year. After spending so much money, the products that worked best for me where the cheaper ones.

    I found the experience of trying different products very stressful so I know I will never be a product junkie.

  • Jeannette says:

    Although I never put a price on my natural hair care compared to relaxed, I can tell that my pockets are MUCH heavier with natural hair when compared to natural. Because I was trying so many products out when I first became natural, I may have been spending just as much on products as I was when I was relaxed. Now that I have my regimen under much control, my costs are minimal.

  • Anonymous says:

    I initially tried a number of curly hair lines, to find what works for my hair. I've since learned the specific ingredients in the products and now try to use whole ingredients, instead, which is less expensive. I'm still using the stash I have, though, so no waste. My mom's also newly natural and I let her try some of my leftovers. It's still a lot less expensive than getting a relaxer every 3 months and sometimes having to fly to see my hairstylist.

  • Anonymous says:

    Intially going natural hurt in the pockets, but now that I have become enlightened by my favorite naturalnista's Curly Nikki and Kimmaytube..I know better now. I thought I needed to use Miss Jessie's and Carol's Daughter's products to tame my tresses(love the products just to expensive for me ..right now), I learned through the various blogs and youtube channels that I frequent that I can make my own concotions using ingredents from mother earth and for that I am thankful. Shout outs: to my favs Aussie Moist, Shea Moisture, Giovanni!!!

  • Quiessa says:

    Well I would have to say that being natural has cost me a pretty. The issue for me was finding the right products for my 4a/4b natural hair. IT HAS BEEN SO HARD! I think that I have finally found the right products. I mix my own moistourizing spritz and shea moisture and Qhemet Biologics really work for me. Now I just need to get rid of all the stuff that does not work.

  • JaySpice says:

    I think it depends on how much of a product junkie you are. I dropped a lot when I made my "kit" but haven't spent too much since. I brought vitamin E, orange E/O, unrefined shea butter, caster, jojoba and coconut oil. I have only had to re-up on shea butter in 4 months. I learned how to make shea mixes and haven't looked back. Oh yeah and I buy Eco styler gel and the cheapy cheap conditioner to detangle my hair. But if you are trying the next big thing all the time then heck yeah you will be spending a grip.

  • Blogging Mama says:

    I have not really spent to much money in my hair products. I keep it $10 and under and now that I am starting to get used to my hair regimen I barely spend any extra dough until I am starting to run out of something or of course a conditioner that I had seen that I wanted to try was on SALE! You know you can't pass up a sale unless you are broke or you have no more space for a bottle… You know there seems to always be space. lol

    But now that I think about it. I think I am going to start paying even more attention to my spending. I wonder how much I can put away if I start putting my old hair routine spending cash minus my current spending in the bank? Hopefully I can save enough for a trip for my 2 year hair cut and 3 year relaxer free anniversary. We will see. lol

  • Anonymous says:

    Nope not costing me nearly as much at all. For one, my daughters always been natural and I've learned to take care of my hair through doing hers. While we have different textures, our hair likes generally the same things.

    I've been natural for a year, but for years I've used oils and butters in my hair. My hubby buys in bulk and for that reason I haven't become a PJ. I REFUSE to spend more than $1.50/oz on any product, I don't care how much it's loved. lol There are a lot of "cheap" products that work very well and that's what we use. I would estimate I spend about $10-$20 every 2 months on hair products, if that. I haven't paid out of pocket for conditioner in forever (freebies from HE and Pantene on Facebook), and took advantage of the recent B1G1 half off for Shea Moisture and used Register Rewards to get them. Going natural has saved me a lot of money!

  • Carla says:

    I've always been natural, but I used to press my hair like it was no tomorrow. I spent a lot of money on getting my hair done WEEKLY and on salon products (Redken, Joico, Kenra, etc).

    Since I stopped using heat 9 years ago and grew out my heat damaged hair, I do buy more products for the actual care of my hair, though I do have price limits on certain products. My hair is also bra strap length so I end up going though a lot of products, especially conditioners and oils.

    Unfortunately my hair doesn't like certain ingredients including shea butter so I cant be as easy peasy as some people, but I still try to keep it as simple/easy as possible. I do splurge on a "treat" once in a while though.

  • Anonymous says:

    I went natural for the first time 13 years ago, way before natural hair blogs and youtube product reviews. Over the years, I have used many of the expensive salon or by mail products: Aveda, Miss Jessie's, Mixed Chicks, Bumble & Bumble, and Morrocan Oil. All of those products worked pretty well for my hair.

    I was so thankful to discover the SheaMoisture product line. The price is reasonable, I can get it right at Target, and best of all, my hair loves it!

    I've never used heat on my hair, so no need to invest in a flat iron, hooded dryer, or diffuser (I have an ancient blow dryer that is used to dry nail I use my fingers to detangle and never brush so no tangle teaser or denman at my house.

    Despite the PJ trap, natural is definitely cheaper than relaxing, especially since relaxing went hand in hand with going to the salon every 2 weeks. Now I only go every 6 months for a trim.

  • Anonymous says:

    Not costing me a grip AT ALL. I've learned that it is not necessary to spend money on so many different oils in the name of sealing on top of a leave-in and gel. My hair is thriving with a simple routine of cowashing and shea butter as a leave-in — THATZ IT! All of that extra stuff with ACV rinses; henna; 3 and 4 oils to seal after co-washing is ridiculous and will lead you to the poor house if you're a product junky and believe ever regimen you see on blogs. Shea butter is a sealant so that's all my hair requires after cowashing then whatever styler. Keep it simple ladies.


  • Kisha says:

    I think it was a little cheaper when i was permed. I didn't go to the salon very much & I didn't use many products at home. In the beginning, it's easy to get sucked in to becoming a PJ. Everytime (well…almost) I saw someone on youtube use a product in their hair, I purchased it. I can say that I wasn't always sucked into buying new products that were trendy. I tried to only buy products that made sense for MY hair. As you go along, you realize what works and what doesn't. I love the fact that I can use on my hair what I have in the kitchen. To me, those products are like a two for one deal. I love Shea Moisture products because they work and are inexpensive. Not to mention the fact that the ingredients are awesome!

  • Nella Bella says:

    I am still transitioning, but when I began my journey I became a product junkie. Thanks to hair blogs like this and youtube, I have become a mixtress.

    Shea butter, shea butter, shea butter. This has been my saving grace for my hair. I use a combination of store and homemade products. This has really helped with the wallet.

  • Anonymous says:

    Natural hair doesn't have to cost a lot if you don't want it to. You can make a homemade dc which last 2 months for about $10. I believe the reason why natural hair cost so much is because many ladies throw money away on products which give "curl definition". There is no product which can give you curls your hair does not already have. Nuff said.

  • Anonymous says:

    OMG, YES! I thought that being natural was going to be so much CHEAPER than having relaxed hair. To be honest, I hardly spent any money on my hair back when it was relaxed, except to get it done. I would moisturize it at night with a Mizani creme and then again in the morning with some Argan Oil. It was easy peasy, and every 8 weeks or more I threw down about $120 total to get my hair did.

    Last night I spent over $50 at GNC on oils alone. I've spent money getting various types of Denman brushes, styling combs, clips, shampoos, conditioners, leave-ins, gels, spritzes…. Omg, the list is endless — and expensive!

    I chalk up the offensive spending to the fact that I'm newly natural, and I'm still trying to figure out what works for my hair. But geez, it SO isn't working for my wallet!

  • CurlyTonya says:

    Being natural has been cheaper for me…but more expensive than I thought it would be. I wish I tracked my spending because this first year I bought so many products. I have lots of conditioners, butters, and gels. When I was relaxed, I got my hair done every two weeks and spent about $100-$140 a month. Now,I do my own hair….but I'm considering getting my hair done occaisonally. Natural hair salons are expensive….I paid $55 for a BC.

    I have learned that I don't need to spend alot for shampoo and instant conditioners. My hair splurge is Kinky Curly Curling Custard and Knot Today…expensive but I always get the perfect WNG. I'm going to use up what I have as I transition into twists/twistouts this next year.

  • LM says:

    since i am not a product junkie, i am spending less than I was when i was relaxed. Although when i was relaxed i was only spending about 30-45 dollars every two weeks at my salon (sometimes 50 if i decided to get a fancy style with my 8-12 wk relaxer). I also only used around 2 products on my hair since my hair was already very oily. Currently, if i think i want to try new products, i wait until i run out of my current products. Although I am saving money, the time i spend on my hair seems to take the place of expensive salon visits.Pair that with being an "A" average college student and it can get nerve wrecking.

  • Anonymous says:

    Being natural has cost me tons of money over the last 2 years. I have been natural for over 10 years, but I flat ironed my hair regularly up until approximately 2 years ago. When I initially started wearing it curly, I tried more expensive products believing that they were better quality products based on the price tag(e.g., Miss Jessie's). Boy was I wrong. I am finally at a point where I don't just go out and buy products based on the claims and recommendations of others. I now have a better idea of what types of ingredients work best for my hair and I always research to find reasonably priced products that meet the needs of my hair. Often times I find that cheaper products will do the trick. For example, I have had great success with the Shea Moisture line and cheap conditioners like Suave and VO5.

    Bridget D.

  • Natasha says:

    Being natural has not cost me a lot of money. I try to keep my products to $10 and under and make them last at least 3-4 months. I don't allow myself to buy new products until I'm done with what's in my cabinet, and I haven't bought any expensive things like steamers.

    Definitely doesn't mean that I'm not tempted though. :p

  • Lorian says:

    I have spent many many monies (sp?) on products. But i've always been a junkie. It's just a hobby. But for this winter I am COMMITED to simplifying my hair routine. I'm gong to do what I now call "the 1 bottle styler"…it seems like most of the women I see with hair to be envied have 1 secret in common…conditioner on their hair at all times. Real conditioner! Not a leave in…not a moisturizer…just moisturizing ocnditioner from the drug store, oil, and twists or buns. I'm going to do it for 6 months and see what happens…and that should clear out all the products from under my sink. Anything other than conditioner I will try to give away except for a couple staple things that I genuinely like…

  • Auset Abena says:

    It's been so long since I was relaxed, that I don't even remember what it cost me. Ultimately, it cost me my hair and scalp, and that was the ultimate price. Then I had natural hair, before the natural movement, and didn't know how to take care of it. That cost me my hair as well. Then I got locs, and I had no more than four or five products at any one time for about four years. They included a clarifying shampoo, a moisturizing shampoo (this was optional and I often didn't even have this), my loc gel (Jamaican Mango and Lime, or at one time Nature's Blessings) and a spray for my scalp to relieve itching. Cheap, and I was as happy as a lark. I used to use foam wrap to set my locs in curls by rocking bantu knots. Then I realized this was unnecessary. Now, since my Big Chop I am ashamed to say what I have, especially compared to what I actually use. But I am cleaning off the shelf of dusty hair products. I have been experimenting with products and have found that all natural really does work better for me. Synthetic ingredients on me equals an itchy scalp. So, when all is said and done, I only need the following: a gentle shampoo, a slippery and moisturizing conditioner, a cream based moisturizer that doubles as a styler, some oils that also double as stylers. Other stuff that is nice to have on hand, that is really just kitchen ingredients include honey, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera juice. Back to the Basics.

  • ElleXNC says:

    No, being natural is not costing me more than being relaxed. Compared to my relaxed days, I am saving a lot of money. But then again, I am not a product junkie.

  • Teri Washington says:

    I just did the bc in June and I have a notebook with a list of products to try. I am also constantly asking other naturals what they use. Thanks for writing this you just saved me money.

  • Anonymous says:

    Overall, being natural has been cheaper for me. I have discovered products that work really well for my hair. Some are verrry expensive and others, not so much.

    I don't consider myself to be a product junkie, but I will try and get samples of a product before buying it. Saves a ton of money and samples are great for weekend/short travel.

    I LOVE Kerastase Oleo Curl as a DC. Yes, it is expensive, but I haven't found a cheap(er) combo that works as well. So, I use it when I need a real boost of a DT. On the other hand, I also use Palmer's Coconut Oil DC pak. It is very inexpensive and works like a charm for a lighter DC treatment.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes!!!I definately thought that going natrual would be cost effective. But boy was I WRONG! Well at least until you get your regimen down and realized that no two heads of hair are alike!

    Just because a product works Wonders on Nikki's 3 hair type dosen't mean that it will work the same on my beautiful 4a type hair. Or as the least realize that you will get different result; not bad just different!

    I think that so much is going on in your mind when you first take that plung that you don't really realize how much you can actually SPEND! but once the dust settles and you understand what work for you and YOUR HAIR you get on track.:)

  • Dorscilla says:

    When I first BC'd, being natural did cost me a lot of money. But that was just because I had to learn how to take care of my curls and tried every product on the market. Now that I know what works for me, being natural is definitely way cheaper than caring for relaxed hair.

  • Emmanuella says:

    Wow, this is so true. When I first went natural I ordered things online and mixed it with things I found in stores, and if it was expensive-about $10 it had to be over 12oz. The Yes to Carrots and SheaMoisture brands are affordable for All Natural naturals.

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