Remember the days of being excited to go natural because of the money you’d save on hair care? Yep, me neither.  Any illusions that naturalistas have about textured hair being more budget friendly than relaxing blow up like an atomic bomb the moment they stroll down the aisles of their local drugstore or beauty supply.  Curly girl products generally cost a grip, and if you get weaves or extensions, it’s not inconceivable to spend a thousand dollars or more on the hair, installation, and maintenance. The thought alone is sobering enough to big chop…again. Let’s all take deep cleansing breaths before choosing between keeping our curls tight or paying the electric bill. There’s no doubt that maintaining natural hair can be expensive, but there are ways to achieve big hair on a budget. Here are my three tips for keeping both your wallet and your curls in check.

Stick to the Basics

There are a zillion and one products out there promising a miracle in a bottle.  If you’re balling on a budget, steer clear of the hype and opt for essentials: cleanser, deep conditioner, and a moisturizer or economical styler (a moisturizing styler is even better). If you shop smart and ruthlessly hunt for sales, you can grab quality hair goodies in each of these categories for under $10. Check out our 10 Products Under $10 article.

Though they may be initially more expensive, all-natural products can save you money because of their versatility, especially when it comes to moisturizers. One of my favorites as a Type 4 girl is SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque, which doubles as a moisturizer and deep conditioner.

Protective Styling

If you don’t have the money for regular trims and lots of product, keep your hair in low manipulation protective styles like two-strand twists or braids. I find that when my hair is in these styles, I tend to use a lot less product, because it doesn’t lose moisture as quickly. I suspect this happens because my hair is an elongated state, even though I can’t conclusively prove this because me and science…not so much. I do know that I’m not using tons of moisturizers and gels to coif my hair into different styles---and avoiding the mats and tangles that come with wearing my natural hair loose on a regular basis. Sidestepping the daily snarls is a definite plus for me.  Here’s another added bonus: by not putting the stress of daily handling on my curls and coils, I actually retain more length.


As a lazy natural, I’m not a big on DIY product concoctions, but even the laziest amongst us (raises hand) can benefit from a little bit of product doctoring. Bought a product that’s just not doing it for your hair? Try adding a little olive oil, glycerin, or aloe vera juice to it. I’m a big believer in single ingredient solutions. Need more slip in a cheap conditioner? Add your favorite oil and watch what happens. You can also use single ingredients as stand alone saviors. Detangling my hair with aloe vera juice leaves it unbelievably soft, and the tangles magically melt away. I also mix oil and water in rinse out conditioners to create a great detangling leave-in. Don’t be afraid to play around with natural ingredients to bolster or replace your existing product supply.

Great hair on a budget isn’t hard.  It does require some diligence and ingenuity, but as women actively seeking a simple, effective approach to hair care, we’ve already got those qualities covered. 

What are some of your best cost-cutting natural hair tips?  Post them below.