So you're a college student now.
Which means you have a lot of well-meaning cliches coming your way. And a lot of horror stories.
And a lot of books....
But the best advice anyone will be able to give you is to SAVE. YOUR. MONEY.
Also the best advice anyone will be able to give you is TAKE. CARE OF. YOURSELF.
And those rules for school will appear to be at odds a lot of the time, but honestly, it doesn't have to be. Your hair will still need your attention once you've left the nest and start pulling down those mid-term all-nighters, and you can very much still 'treat yourself' when you're on your way to higher education on a budget. It doesn't even have to get as drastic as recycling study-tears for a salt setting spray! Although you can. Experience says there'll be a lot of those. But some more serious pointers include:
Getting a Wide Band Bonnet
College never saw me sleeping that well. Personally, I had to run out of my room to scream at people (playing the violin in the hallway at midnight, REALLY), or deal with snoring roommates, everyone and their snuck-in boyfriends' alarms going off...mm. And the last thing you need to add to that headache is additional headaches. If you've got big brains in a big head, with big hair, and you're too slippery of a sleeper for scarves, try bonnets with a wider elastic band, at least the width of two fingers, so that nothing's pressing into your head at night.
Take Your Vitamins
As much as I very much DID stress eat and gain weight upon entering college, I'd like to sub out the Freshman 15 myth with the realities of the Freshman Food Desert. If you don't have access to a kitchen, easy transport to and from groceries, full-size fridge, and so on, you're going to be eating a lot of crap by necessity—and it's not your fault!
Those dining hall dollars only go so far too...
But you DO still need the nutrients—your brain is not going to function without your body doing the same! And your hair is going to be one of the first places you start seeing any deficiencies. Stock up with a good multivitamin, talk to your doctor if you can, and make sure you're supplementing all that free meet & greet pizza with what your curls need to thrive.
If you have enough hair to tie back, you already know what happens when you don't have a hair tie on hand. Sure, the elegant flop your curls do across your forehead can be cute, but after pushing it back for the 15th time in a five-minute span, you're not paying attention to your notes anymore, and you look more frustrated than fetching. And we're not even getting INTO what happens when it is in your face as you're booking it across campus.
Protip: Look at a MAP before scheduling your back-to-back classes.
But pineappling, sloppy bun-ing, and just plain tossing that hair back into a ponytail is going to take a toll on your strands if you're not using the right bands. You want elastic safely tucked into some plush satin-y fabric so that your hair's not being pulled by woven fabric, rubbed dry by cotton, or snagged on metal bits. For style purposes of course, you've got free rein over your mane! But if you're looking to keep your hair healthy, you want to make sure your everyday hair tie is a soft and silky one.
A Water Filter
Although hydration is super-duper, extra, mega, ultra important, I don't actually mean one for your fridge and internal purposes.
Still though, I can't stress the importance of proper hydration enough.
Because you don't know the hardness, PH, etc of the water you'll be moving to (unless you're majoring in that particular field), you want to make sure you're filling your spray bottle with the best you can get. I've already gone on record as having 0% of an issue buying SmartWater and other such fancy nonsense H2O to put in my misters, HOWEVER, your Auntie April is grown and already getting a dent in her student debts. If you're just starting out, it's much smarter to make the one-time investment towards a filter (+ the replacement charcoal dealies) for the water you'll be putting on your hair and in your body.
Actually, now that I say it, maybe I should get one too....
Does all this seem like you're eating into your textbook budget?
Sure it might—on the surface. But remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Also, a stitch in time saves nine. Basically what I'm saying here is that if you DON'T do the things that'll make your hair fall out in clumps (besides attending college in the first place, ba-dum-tssh), you won't need to spend time stressing about it, or money trying to fix it after the fact.
College is a tumultuous period in anyone's life—it's a whole new world, and you're almost there! Study up, make sure to listen to your body, and keep up your faith in yourself. If no one else is rooting for you, we are.