Image Source: @theesperanzamaria

Here’s something that just might blow your mind. Did you know that, by 2021, we are projected to spend close to $1.5 trillion dollars on natural hair care? While that’s great when it comes to supporting CEOS in the Black hair care community, it can be a bit of a sobering thought when you bring that reality closer to home. What I mean by that is, just think about it. If you spend $125 each salon visit, and you go to the salon once a month, you are easily spending $1,500 on an annual basis. That’s not chump change. Not by a long shot.

If you go to a professional to do things that you can’t on your own (like give your hair a thorough cut and color), to pamper yourself or both, I am in full support of that. Stylists are professionals (and licensed) for a reason. But if you are blowing your budget by going all of the time, simply because you feel like it would be a full-on disaster to attempt to do certain things from the comfort, convenience and more inexpensive rooms of your own home, I’ve got a few hacks that very well could help to boost your confidence in that area.

1. Use bobby pins and hairspray—differently.

For so many reasons and, in so many ways, bobby pins can be our saving grace. They are inexpensive. They come in different hues which makes them virtually invisible. And, when used correctly, they are so comfortable that we barely even notice that they are in our hair. When it comes to that last point, if you want to put your hair up into a style with complete confidence that it will remain that way, flip your bobby pins over. What I mean by that is, most of us put bobby pins into our hair so that the “wavy side” faces upward. But actually, if you want them to have more of a tighter grip, the wavy side needs to face your scalp. Also, if you are looking for even more security back-up, make sure to spray your pins with hairspray before putting them into your hair; that will hold your ‘do even more. Speaking of bobby pins, three other hacks to keep in mind is 1) you can secure your free-flowing braids so that they don’t unravel by inserting a bobby pin into the bottom of each one; 2) if you position 2-4 bobby pins into your ponytail holder and then use your hair to cover them up, that will make your ponytail stand taller on its own, and 3) if you’ve just used a curling iron, by “rolling your curls up” into a bobby pin for a couple of minutes (so that your hair can cool off), that will help your curls to last so much longer.

2. Alternate with some hand lotion.

If you just love the conditioner that your stylist uses but you also know that the price tag on it is higher than you’d like to pay, a money-saving hack is to go with some hand lotion that you already have in your house. Quiet as its kept, hand lotion and hair conditioner are basically “hair first cousins” because they tend to share many of the same ingredients. Just make sure, should you decide to go this route, that you add a few drops of avocado, sweet almond or jojoba oil to your lotion bottle. The reason why is because some lotions contain alcohol which could dry your hair out over time. (Or, you can always make your own super-hydrating lotion. If you’d like to do that instead, there’s a great recipe here.)

3. Go with more than one styling tool.

Back when I used to go to a professional stylist on a consistent basis, it was rare that I didn’t see her use at least half a dozen different styling tools on my hair. That’s because different ones are able to accomplish different things. That said, if you don’t get anything else out of these hair hacks, please retain this particular point. When it comes to fabulous styling results, using one brush and one comb aren’t going to cut it. Please invest in a variety of styling tools. Articles like “12 Time-Saving Tools If You Have Curly Hair” and “17 Must-have Styling Tools For Natural Hair Success!” can help to get you started on which ones to invest in.

4. Thicken your tresses with gelatin.

Do you want your curls to have more volume? Something that can definitely help is to add some gelatin to your shampoo. Since it’s the kind of product that is derived from collagen (that also contains amino acids), it has a great way to make your hair appear thicker than it might naturally be. Speaking of making your hair look fuller, another quick trick is to part your hair on the opposite side that you normally do. With time, we are able to train our hair. So, when we keep parting it the same way, that can make our hair appear limper than we’d like it to. Going the opposite direction sometimes can add a bit of “umph”.

5. Put essential oils on your combs and brushes.

Have you been looking for a way to make your hair smell unbelievably good in between salon appointments? No problem. Simply spray some of your favorite perfume or cologne onto your hairbrush or comb every morning before styling your hair. Personally, I think that essential oils are the better route to go, though. They (typically) don’t have alcohol in them, they’ve got loads of health benefits and, to me, oils tend to last much longer (scent-wise) too.

6. Cleanse with distilled water.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a really big difference. Don’t think that your stylist doesn’t take into consideration the fact that hard water can wreak pure havoc on your hair. In fact, that might be a part of the reason why you find yourself wondering why your hair feels different when you’re at the salon vs. when you choose to wash and condition it at home. Something that can make at-home hair care better for you is to wash your locks with distilled water. Because it is the kind of water that has all of the impurities taken out of it, distilled water can actually soften your hair shaft so that it looks and feels healthier and more manageable.

7. Get at-home maintenance tips from your stylist.

A good and reputable stylist is going to help you to maintain your hair, even in between visits. If, for whatever the reason, you are unable to see yours on a regular basis, do not hesitate to give them a call so that you can get tips on how you can properly care for your locks while you’re at home. If you’ve been seeing them consistently, they know enough about your hair’s porosity, texture and even your personality to be able to offer up customized hacks that will keep your hair thriving—until you can get back to sitting in their salon chair.

Have any tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments!