I live on Lake Michigan too, so I hear ya on the crazy weather! This is my first CG summer so I don't think I will be much help with those products - sorry. But I am planning to experiment with coconut oil for beach days. I mix it with sugar to make a body scrub and it repels the water really well, so my guess is that it would help seal my hair when swimming too. I had great luck with using it on the ends of my hair in the winter - my hair loves it and a little goes a long way! It also makes a great DC (I do half coconut and half sweet almond oil - smells amazing!). Have you tried baking soda and ACV to replace a shampoo and conditioner? That would be a pretty cheap alternative. I've also heard lots of curlies rave about homemade FSG, which might take a little practice to learn how to make but should be really inexpensive as well. My go-to gel is LALSG which is less than $4 for a 20oz bottle. Hope that helps some. Good luck!!