Going to agree with the other posters about the cost of SM depending on the location. I stock up in Miami on the way to France and it's always $9.99 across the board unless it's the new gel which was for $11.99. It's location, location, location. And adthomas was right about the quality of the product and it being able to go a long way. And with the BOGO's you can always stock up without breaking bank. I like CJ products but would never buy it off sale because it's too expensive. But I know I'm going to be using those products forever and it was worth the cost and the wait for a sale. And SM for me has always been consistently good and is black owned and operated so I will spend my money with them. But 99% of the time I buy during BOGO's and that's quite fine for me and even at $12 SM is still cheaper than a lot of the other companies out there and still as good as the most expensive IMO. SM isn't no Afroveda by FAR.
But if it's too much for you then Trader Joes is fine, Sally's has some replica products as well, and you can always go the really really simple route of water, gel, oil, and or shea butter.
3c/4aish, high porosity, fine strands,medium density cottony curls.
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I'm not obsessed: I just LOVE my hair!!