In light of back to school season, we’ll be focusing on college natural hair hacks and affordable product recommendations because, while college is a costly investment, your hair shouldn’t have to be.

Naturalistas know that, depending on your routine, product shopping can start to burn a hole in your wallet. Between the leave-ins, protein treatments, shampoos, conditioners, masks, and gels, we may have spent a small fortune just trying to keep our natural hair healthy and first-day ready. And that’s before you factor in the money spent on school supplies, clothes, housing, and (overpriced) textbooks.

You want to be able to look your best on the first day, without breaking the bank. So we’ve picked some top rated, affordable products to make sure that first day is one to remember—or at the very least, a good hair day. Ahead are 15 products for waves, curls, and coils priced at $15 and under, all available at the SHOP.


SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Conditioner, $11


Made with coconut oil, shea oil, and coconut milk, this conditioner is meant to hydrate while allowing your curls to be light and fluffy. While it is a daily conditioner, it’s meant to be rinsed out daily. If you’re into using products of the same line, pair this with the daily hydration shampoo (also $11)!

Creme of Nature Pure Honey Moisture Replenish & Strength Hair Mask, $7

Combat dryness, breakage, and control frizz during the fall semester with this affordable gem of a hair mask. Apply this after wash day for shinier, bouncier waves.

Elucence Volume Clarifying Shampoo, (10 oz.), $9

Get this NaturallyCurly Editors’ Choice Award winner for less than $10. Purifying agents in this shampoo like White Willow Bark extract help to remove residue and buildup from the scalp while giving the roots a lift for some added body and volume.

Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper Original (3.4 oz), $11

The “Curl Keeper” stays true to its name by setting curls in a way that defines and holds them while keeping frizz at bay between shampoos. And it has a water base, so you can feel comfortable using it daily.

Girl+Hair Clarifying Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse, $15

Sometimes your scalp just needs some special attention. When that happens, reach for this gentle rice water infused rinse to balance scalp pH and remove buildup without sacrificing any moisture.


SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Edge Treatment, $9

For all of your sleek, flyaway-free needs, smooth some of this precision styling gel onto your edges for a hold that lasts, and enjoy the feeling of peppermint that stimulates the hair follicles.

As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner, $9

Although we all need to wash with shampoo ever now and again, the times in between washes call for a moisturizing cleanser like this co-wash. This formula is gentle enough for daily use and makes it easy to detangle. Perfect for curlies who like wash and go’s.

Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner, $9

The two shining ingredients in this balancing conditioner are olive oil and coconut triglycerides (a type of fat). Triglycerides soften the hair to enable detangling and minimize breakage. This multi-purpose product can be used as a daily conditioner, a co-washing conditioner, a daily leave-in, or a moisture treatment.

Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Leave-In Treatment, $14

A non-greasy, lightweight formula that still packs in the moisture. It provides plenty of slip for detangling and pairs well with other products. Try a curling custard or gel along with the Coconut Water Leave-In to hold your curls in place.

SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Hair Masque, $13

When classes start to get a little tough, don’t forget to treat yourself. Take a self care day with this hair masque, fortified with exotic moisturizing ingredients like Mafura and African Rock Fig, an ingredient rich in antioxidants. Lock in moisture and experience stronger, frizz-free hair.


Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk, $15

Recommended for type 4 naturals, this moisturizing hair milk works well for low porosity naturals. There is no protein and it contains many ingredients that soften the hair.

Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo, $9

Made with a cleansing and conditioning formula that is color friendly, this shampoo battles dry hair and avoids stripping it.

SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque, $13

A personal holy-grail product for my type 4 hair that penetrates the hair follicles, deeply conditions the hair with shea butter, and seals the cuticles with sea kelp. I’m also a huge fan of the light, ocean-like scent.

tgin Green Tea Super Moist Leave In Conditioner, $15

Tgin’s leave-in combines green tea, sheabutter, and argan oil to moisturize and protect follicles. Definitely a winner for low-porosity naturals.

Cantu Moisturizing Twist & Lock Gel, $6

Need some hold for your twist-out? Cantu’s Twist & Lock Gel smooths frizz and produces definition for a soft, shiny-looking twist-out or braid out. And all for $6.

What products do you go to when you’re on a budget? Tell us about your favorites in the comments.