This could possibly be the loveliest word to hear at the end of a long week. You cash it (or put it in the bank if you’re a little more responsible”>. A couple of days later you decide, “It’s definitely a good day to treat myself to a sugary mocha.” You reach into your purse only to find a couple of lonely dollar bills. What happened to all the money I worked so hard for??

My sisters (and brothers”> in curl, I know of these hardships. Between bills, car payments, doctors, and all those necessary things you need money for, it’s almost impossible to afford decent hair products. Looking back on the days of middle and high school, Mom or Gram were always there “just to cover” your hairstuff. Not that it’s their job, but it was very generous of them.

However, in college, there’s only so much money one can make. It’s difficult to find decent part-time hours at a job, between classes, meetings, library time and whatever else you have in your planner. But when you’re making the dough, it’s a good idea to know what you can to spend it on — at least to some small extent.

Most curlies that I know have one or two products that they can always fall back on, something that has always worked. For me, for example, it’s Pantene Curl Gel. But even with that fantastic product, our hair can get dull and used to the same product.

Hair needs variety! Along with that, we all have that sense of curiosity and desire to try something new. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already discovered the Holy Grail of all curly hair products. That little voice in your head convinces you that there could be something better on the shelf. And that little voice may tell you that “more expensive” equals “better.” So we constantly spend money buying and trying out new products just to satisfy the hair cravings. More often than not, they end up in the black hole under our sink, partially used, because we can’t bear to toss them out, even if they don’t work.

There is a wide variety of haircare products, ranging in price from less than $5 to more than $50. Sometimes it is worth it to buy the uber-expensive ones. The trick is knowing how to balance out the pricey ones with the affordable ones. It’s not going to benefit your cute little purse if all you buy are hair products. On the other hand, it’s not all that great to pile ultra-cheap products on your lovely locks Unless of course they work for you!

Take my hair, for example. After spending countless bucks on expensive conditioners that I assumed would work miracles, I found that the best conditioner for my hair is Suave. That’s great since it’s cheap! A bottle of Aloe Vera Suave conditioner and some DevaCurl No-Poo are my staples. Because neither of these are incredibly pricey, I can afford to try out new styling products every once in a while – and still afford food.

Yes, it’s tempting to buy a new deep treatment every week. But, my financially challenged friends, it’s all about self-control. Learn what works with your hair, stick with it, and then treat yourself to a yummy rinse once in awhile.

For those of us who love saving and scrimping every penny, it’s simple to try your hand at some homemade products. You can make it just the way you like it, and it’s cheaper in the long run. Maybe it won’t smell as fruity or look as pretty, but a batch of flaxseed gel or lavender mist will save you money.

Unfortunately there’s no ultimate solution to saving all the money when it comes to decent haircare. Bad products may result in bad hair. You just have to be smart with your cash. Know when to save and know when to spend. It’s as simple as that!

Cozy Friedman


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