By Christina of The Mane Objective

Whether your hair is relaxed, natural, tex-laxed, transitioning, heat styled, braided, weaved or wigged, we as women face an undeniable fact — hair care and products can be expensive. Some folks even have to write their hair into their budgets as its own line item, right behind rent, gas, car note and insurance. Even if you aren’t particularly a product junkie, there are still those staple products that your hair has to have in order to function. Maybe it’s a particular oil or a particular supplement.

Sometimes, we get a little tunnel-visioned in purchasing our staple products. I used to purchase some of my supplements only from nutrition stores because well, that seemed to be the logical place to find them. Truth be told, many staple products, supplements, and haircare items can be found in some pretty unconventional places, and save you some serious cash. Check out some of my staples that I’ve been able to find at a steal:

Coconut Oil

Who doesn’t love this stuff? Ok, I know there are some folks out there that aren’t necessarily a fan of this edible oil — but for the most part, this is a staple in plenty of people’s mix-ins, pre-poos, leave-ins and styling regimens. I purchased my first jar of virgin unrefined Coconut Oil from Whole Foods for $7.99 (their own 365 brand). I continued to purchase them there, and even got excited when it would go on sale for $6.99. I was never particularly excited about going to Whole Foods — the crowds were pretentious, everything seemed overpriced, and I damn sure couldn’t pronounce or categorize on the Food Plate (formerly pyramid) half of the stuff they sold there. The hot food bar was the truth, but hot meals and Coconut Oil wasn’t enough to keep me coming back.

To my great joy, Trader Joe’s began carrying Coconut Oil in recent months. Even better, I realized it was the virgin, unrefined kind. Better than that, their jar is 16oz, compared to Whole Food’s 14 oz. But the greatest news of all? Trader Joe’s carries the oil for $5.99 all day, every day. Sidebar: Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances purchase your Coconut Oil from a vitamin/health supplement store, or even from the health section of a grocery store. They charge nearly twice (sometimes three times!) as much for the same product that’s just a few aisles over (on the cooking aisle).

Aloe Vera Juice

By now you’ve probably figured out that I’m a Trader Joe’s gal at heart. I mean really, who can deny the super friendly (I’ve NEVER had a bad customer service experience there…and I go at least twice a week) crew members, free food samples and coffee? Oh, and if you want to know how something tastes before you buy it… But I digress. In addition to the million and a half other wonderful reasons to go to Trader Joe’s, there is the absolute hands down best value I’ve ever seen on Aloe Vera Juice. Get ready for this. They sell A GALLON (that’s 128oz, folks) sized bottle of Aloe Botanicals Pure Aloe Vera Juice for $7.99. Forgive me for saying this, but that ish cray! I became so salty when I stumbled upon this, because I’m stuck working through a 32oz Lily of the Desert bottle that I paid $9 for at Vitamin Shoppe.

MSM

Whether you’re trying to get some internal inflammation in check, show your joints some love, or test the theory that MSM extends the growth phase of the hair cycle, paying for the pills can definitely start to add up. I first began purchasing my 1,000mg MSM capsules from Vitamin Shoppe (their own brand), to the tune of $10 for a 100 capsule bottle. Since I take two a day, a bottle from Vitamin Shoppe would last me roughly a month and a half. On one of my random excursions to Trader Joe’s, I found myself browsing through their supplements. Well whadda ya know? They sell 120 capsules of 1,000mg MSM for $4.99. More pill for half the price? Yes, I’ll take that.

Biotin

For so long, I would purchase my biotin (1,000mcg, 90-100 count bottle) from Vitamin Shoppe and sometimes Whole Foods. Boy, did my pockets pay for that. I typically purchased the Country Life brand, which ran me $8 to $10 depending upon where I went. But hey, did you know that Target sells biotin? No lie. Next time you’re scooping up some Shea Moisture, mosey on over to the vitamin and supplement aisle. They carry biotin in their own Up & Up brand — 1,000mcg, 100 tablets for $2.49. And just in case you were wondering, it works just as good as the stuff I paid triple the price for.

Flax Seeds

You can mix them in your oatmeal, or make a pretty nifty gel (a’la Naptural85). Either way you work these little brown wonders, they don’t have to cost a fortune. Most pre-packaged flax seeds cost upwards of $5 for less than a pound. Although a few seeds go a long way (and you can re-use them to make more gel), what’s the harm in saving a few bucks? If you’re lucky enough to have a Sprouts Farmer’s Market nearby, check out their bulk bins.They carry flax seeds for $1.19/lb (a pound will last you forever), and for $0.89 or $0.99/lb when on sale. Alternatively, if you have a WinCo Foods in your area, they carry flax seeds for around $0.80/lb. Either way, you can’t lose! Say goodbye to pre-packaged and health supplement store containers…bulk is where it’s at!

Satin Pillowcase

I am going to preface this by saying, I hate WalMart. I absolutely detest the store. I’m sure in different parts of the country, WalMart is what’s hot in the streets — but for me, in LA? A trip to WalMart is a true test of my spiritual growth. Even with all that being said, there is one thing I cannot deny: WalMart is the truth when it comes to satin pillowcases. Before purchasing my beloved fuchsia pillowcase, I scoped out the prices at Sally’s — $11. Not bad, but I felt deep down inside that I could do better. Lo and behold, I found one of my best investments in the hair section of the WalMart on Crenshaw and King (LA folks know which one I’m talking about!). Not only was it the same brand, but it was in a super cute color and only cost me $7 and some change. Not saying I’d become a regular…but I can’t deny that WalMart one-upped Target and Sally’s on this one.

What are some staples that you find at a steal of a price? Share!

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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110 Comments on "The Cheapest Place to Buy Coconut Oil and 5 Other Natural Hair Essentials"

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Anthony Morrocco

These are some great tips! Good job spreading the word about healthy ingredients for natural hair!

Mimi
I am actually shocked none of you ladies has mentioned the power of the internet for bargain prices. For one, satin pillow cases can be found in the boat load on ebay! I got 3 satin pillow cases with a zipper enclosure (I must be a wild sleeper because my pillow case always seems to slide off in the middle of the night) for $7.99. They are all lime green, but hey I am not afraid of color for my pillow. Essential oils can be bought online through Amazon, the company I have most of my oils from is NOW… Read more »
Umwiza

I LOVE TJ’s Aloe Vera Juice. My mom has kept it in her fridge for at least 10 years, and I love rinsing after co-washes (using TJ’s tea tree tingle or another TJ’s conditioner) with it. TJ’s is the best.

Jamie

If you can get on any military base and shop at the commissary … They have organic coconut oil .. The same brand at whole foods.. For no more than 5$!

Kesha

Thank you for mentioning the commissary. I am in the military and did not think to look in the commissary for natural products! The one of Ft Huachuca, AZ just started a rewards program too! So another pluss Don’t know if it’s going on other posts as well.

stacey

GREAT POST!!

I can admit, I have been a victim of the aloe vera juice rip off! LOL paid 8.99 for 20oz, and then saw that humongous jug at TJ’s for 7.99…Learned my lesson

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

Trader Joe’s has always carried coconut oil in my area….NY
As for the other really low prices I’m always leary about the potency when the price is so low.

For example, if you read the ingredients on some of the labels where the products are cheaper you will be shocked to find a ton of fillers.

REPLY

Beth

Why or why aren’t there any Trader Joes in South Florida…

Afrinaturality

To my London-based naturalistas, if you want shea butter, just go into any African food shop in Peckham, Brixton or Dalston and ask them. They usually sell them £1 a bag. Good stuff straight from the Motherland and money directly into the hands of our own community.

Jo Somebody

It’s organic, inner fillet Aloe I’m searching for!

Randi415

Wow, these are some great deals!! I wish I’d known about that AVJ before buying two 32 ounce bottles of Lily of the Desert I wonder if they have the gel too. I buy flax seeds at my local dollar tree.

Natalie
It was interesting reading this article as things are way more expensive in the UK and you can’t get a gallon of ACV. I tend to buy my organic coconut oil online in bulk as it works out to be cheaper. I use coconut oil for all my cooking as well as in my skin products and as a prepoo 10kg is £110. I bought mine in January and I’m not even half way through so I think it is good value. I find that with most things in the UK if you want it cheap buy in bulk online.… Read more »
Rosie

Love this article! hilarious and informative.

stacey

Yes! That bit about Walmart cracked me up!

Cee Mac

This is so awesome! Thank you!

Aliza Pezer@natural hair products

Well done for all your hard work in providing this high quality blog.Thanks for the information.

Bre

Do you melt/heat up coconut oil? mine is so solid which makes it really hard to apply.

z

You can actually just run the jar under some warm to hot water for a couple of minutes. It melts really quickly, and just pour some into another container so that you can mix with other products. I do this all the time hope this helps.

Penelope

I wish there was a Canadian list! I can’t find organic coconut oil for cheaper than $25 🙁 I will check out the cooking aisles–thanks so much for that tip.
Everything in Canada is at least twice as expensive -__- less demand I guess

Whyohwhy

Have you tried Amazon?

Leslie

I usually buy Trader Joe Spa organic conditioner for 2.99. I like to co- wash with it.

Diandra

Im a serious bargain shopper and I found that ROSS Stores has 2 pack Satin pillowcases for $2.99. My eyes grew wide at the site. Lol

Keedy

REALLY?!?!?!?!?! I’m definitely going to have to pay ROSS a visit!

A+

It’s true. I’ve found so many satin pillowcases at local Ross stores in Northern VA I’ve given them away as Christmas gifts. 1 or 2 packs for no more than $4 all day.

NappyHeadChronicles

great post!

i visited nyc (i live in canada) this summer and almost lost my mind in trader joes!!! aside from the cheap oils, the snacks are pretty great too. unfortunately, the closest american cities to me don’t have trader joes, so i’ll have to nurse the super-cheap virgin coconut oil i bought there for a while. there is a whole foods, but i’m not sure that things are necessarily cheap there.

but thanks for the tips. next time i’m in the usa, i’ll know what stores to hit!

beth

This is 2 weeks late! I bought my coconut oil from whole foods for 12.99 and I already used it. I shouldn’t have read this cause now I’m mad. lol

LM

i need to move to a larger city cause our walmart doesn’t have anything but evoo and refined coconut oil. we don’t have a trader joe’s, whole foods, or a health food section in our kroger lol..sad sad case. however, evoo, shea butter, and shea moisture work great on my hair so I can’t complain too much

Joan B. in S. C.

Check the baking goods aisle in Kroger for the coconut oil.

Tyler

Walmart carries everything on this list for cheap except the flax seeds. I don’t think they have that.

Rhonda

Coconut oil (for eating and hair), tropicaltraditions.com is a good place.

For other oil and butters and herbs mountainroseherbs.com is a good place, too.

KurlyGirl85

Target sells 100% polyester pillow protectors for $2.99. They only come in white, but they have a satiny smooth finish and are cheaper than any satin pillowcases I’ve seen.

MsAllen2U

I LUUUUUV Trader Joes!! I purchased my first jar of Coconut OIl there. There food is also on the cheaper side compared to the amount of food you get from the regular grocery store. For $60 bucks I get a BOAT load of food.

Will checking out Walmart for the satin pillow cases. So Biotin is good for hair growth??

Pat

Thanks for tips on where to get Aloe juice, I’ll look at my local Wal-Mart.

Yvette

Not the WalMart at the Crenshaw Mall with the escalators?! That is truly a test of faith lOl, but good stuff in there too.

JENNID
You can get coconut oil at kroger as well. Check the baking aisle as well as the “organic” health foods section where they sell all the protein bars and vitamins. Also coconut oil doesn’t really have to organic and extra virgin.Unless you are taking in huge amounts internally it doesn’t really matter that much. The el cheapo one in the baking aisle works just as good if you’re on a budget. Walgreens sells samll jars of coconut oil in the skin care aisle that is 100% pure. Its small size is perfect for someone just wanting to experiment before commiting… Read more »
MzKane

$2.99 that’s the perfect price!

Elle

I find that amazon.com has inexpensive natural hair products. I recently bought my jamaican black castor oil from them. I also like going to Target and checking out the discounted hair products!

Lacquerholic

If only we could find a cheap place to get Essential oils. I’m still hurting from the first time I got EOs at Wholefoods.

kat

Vitacost!

lacquerholic

Thanks!!!

Randi

I buy my flaxseeds from my DOLLAR TREE dollar store. 2lbs for $1!!!!

I love trader joes btw!

Princess

Thanks for the info, didn’t know that. I’m always in Dollar Tree. Going to look for it the next time I am there.

mangomadness

Ohh snap! I remember seeing flax seeds in a Dollar Tree in NJ. I should have bought them. Haha

kwl0711

Nice : -)…There’s one around the corner from me. Im in Detroit.

Brandi Nicholes

Great information! I’m not sure how wide spread Meijer is, but they have the same coconut oil I get from The Vitamin Shoppe here in Indiana for $5.99.

Lina
I buy aloe vera juice at my local Walgreens. I think its about $10. I buy coconut oil from my ethnic grocer and at “Cub Foods” for between 3.50 and 4.50 per 16oz, depending on the store. I buy my vitamins from the vitamin shoppe on their clearance/3 month expiration window stash, since I know I will use them up within 90 days. I usually refrigerate my vitamins that I purchase here. I buy my black soap and shea butter from family friends when they go overseas, or I buy it in bulk online. I get my favorite Giovanni and… Read more »
Kenzy

thanks for this article, i just spent more than i wanted on re-upping on jojoba, rosemary and shea. my coconut oil got very moldy which was shocking as the last brand i bought didnt at all so i was very shocked and pissed b/c it was a HUGE thing of coconut oil i ended up trashing because of all the mold. my bottom line is price for EVERYTHING so i will certainly check these places out

Randi415

I heard this can happen if water or some other products get in the jar usually from your hands or just being open while your doing your hair. This happened to one of my products I’ve started using a plastic spoon to scoop out my products.

nylse

indian market for coconut oil, rosewater, glycerin and many other hair staples.

mangomadness

I like Parachute Coconut Oil ($5, 16 oz, Indian grocery store) for pre-poos.

It has a thick, lush, velvety texture when solid — It’s much better for finger-detangling than the brands of organic coconut oil I’ve tried (Nutiva, Vitamin Shoppe, Emerald Laboratories, Trader Joe’s). It has a slightly smoky smell but that’s fine ’cause I top off the coconut oil with conditioner.

I think I’ll use Parachute Coconut Oil for Hair and organic coconut oil for my DIY Body Butter….

annette_b

+ 1…

jenna marie christian

thanks so much!! great finds!!

Olie

Walmart has 2 gallon aloe vera juice near the pharmacy area for just $7.99! And to think, I was spending $20 for one gallon.

Shamieka

Thanks for these tips! I wish I had some to offer, but this was a great article!

dani
Am too lazy to go hunting for a trader joes near me since i dont own a car but i have been able to find some bargains in the philadelphia area where i live. Coconut oil: i saw this being sold in the cooking oil section of Walmart for $6.99 way cheaper than the health food store that sells it for $7+ Handmixer: if theres anyone who wants to take a go at napturals shea butter mix you can get this handy tool for $6+ tax at Walmart. Shea butter: of course you need shea butter for your handmixer i’ve… Read more »
Nelle

(See above for question on where you are located…)

You can go to South St, to some of the african stores for shea butter. They have it for cheap and it lasts a long time.

mangomadness

Wow!

I use Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, I’ve taken Target’s Up and Up Biotin before (for my nails), I buy flax seeds for my DIY Flax Seed Gel in the bulk section of Whole Foods and my satin pillowcase is the fuchsia one pictured from Wal-Mart.

P.S. Trader Joe’s Grapeseed Oil is only $3-$3.50 for 16 oz. I’m about to pick up some this weekend.

dani

Man i wish Trader Joes was closer to me i have to go all the way to center city and i hate navigating myself down there lol. And i just bought some grapeseed oil too for $7 -_- le sigh..

Nelle

If you are in Philly, what part of the city are you in? There may be one in the suburbs that’s much closer.

melynn

You must live in Philly, go on Sundays less traffic

Mindy

I love the fact that in Center City (at Trader Joe’s ) they don’t charge for parking . makes it worth the trip !

Keedy

I REALLY wish there was a Trader Joe’s near me. I keep hearing wonderful things about the store but there isn’t a location near where my husband and I are stationed in SC, or back home in New Orleans :(. Does anyone know if any good alternatives in my area?

zeesmama

I don’t know where you are, but there is a TJ’s in the Greenville/Spartanburg area right off of 85.

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