By Christina of The Mane Objective

You’ve heard time and time again that hair care and beauty can be expensive. You also know that both are booming industries, and advertisers are always looking for new ways to get you interested in dropping dough on their products. How can you still give your hair everything it needs without burning a hole in your pockets? Read on for a few ideas on how to maximize your money when it comes to key areas of haircare.

1. Use Apple Cider Vinegar instead of a Clarifying Shampoo

You’ve heard all about the benefits of an ACV rinse, but did you know you can use Apple Cider Vinegar to clarify your hair? Just mix one part Apple Cider Vinegar (organic, with Mother) and one part water. Shake it up in a spray bottle and saturate your hair. Let the ACV mix sit on your hair (and scalp) for 20-30 minutes, then continue with your regular co-wash or a deep condition. Apple Cider Vinegar can be purchased from Vitamin Shoppe for $2.99. If you’re not a fan of the scent of Apple Cider Vinegar, Aztec Healing Clay is an odorless alternative. Mix the clay and water until you achieve a mud-like texture. Apply to your hair and scalp for 20-30 minutes and rinse thoroughly. You can also follow this up with a co-wash or deep conditioning, depending upon your hair’s needs. You can grab a 16oz jar of Aztec Healing Clay for around $7 at retailers like Sprouts and Vitamin Shoppe.

2. Avoid Buying Conditioner at Grocery Stores and Pharmacies

Arguably, conditioner is something that naturals tend to spend the most money on — and rightfully so. We need protein conditioners, moisturizing conditioners, co-washing conditioners, deep conditioners, conditioners for our conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and so forth. The thing about conditioners to remember is that just because it comes with a hefty price tag doesn’t mean it’s worth the money. As we explored in this article, the expensive conditioners often couldn’t hold a counter to their cheaper counterparts. When it comes to conditioners, avoid purchasing at grocery and pharmacy stores (like CVS and Walgreens) if possible, and unless there is an irrefutable sale. Often times, these stores carry many of the same brands you can find at Target, but tack on $2 or $3 more than Target prices.

3. Use Conditioners that Serve More Than one Purpose

Additionally, you can always find conditioners that do double duty – like a nourishing conditioner that can also double as a deep conditioner if mixed with a favorite oil, or left on your hair a little longer. And, don’t underestimate the cheapie conditioners. Just because the bottle says Suave, Aussie or Tresemme doesn’t mean it can’t do your hair any good. In fact, Aussie Moist and Tresemme Anti-Breakage are staples in my haircare collection! 

4. Use Diluted Regular Conditioner Instead of Buying Leave-In Conditioner

Unless there is a dire need, one thing I vowed to never spend money on is a leave-in. There are far too many ways to cut that cost out of your haircare budget. For starters, you can always buy a conditioner that doubles as a leave-in. My personal favorite in this area is Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner that I use not only as a regular conditioner, but also sometimes as a leave in, and sometimes as a deep conditioner. Alternatively, you can leave a little bit of your regular conditioner in your hair by not rinsing all of it out. Just make sure you double-check the ingredient list to ensure that nothing in the bottle is going to irritate your scalp. Or, since most leave-ins are nothing more than a diluted version of a standard product, you can always pour some of your favorite conditioner into a spray bottle, add water, shake, and spray. Lastly, you can have your styling/sealing product double as a leave in – as long as it contains water or a penetrating oil like Coconut.

5. Use Inexpensive Oils and Butters to Seal in Moisture, Instead of Buying Sealing Products

When it comes to sealing in moisture, there are tons of money saving options that are fair game. If your hair loves oils or straight up butters, Shea, Coconut, and Castor are pretty inexpensive go-tos. You can also use your styling products to double up as sealants. Two of my favorite double-duty sealants are Shea Moisture’s Coconut Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and my Napptural85-inspired fluffy styling cream.  With the Shea Moisture product, I alternate between applying after a diluted conditioner leave-in, after a little coconut oil, or by itself – all depending on my hair’s needs at the time. My DIY fluffy styling cream is so chock full of goodies that I just spritz on water for moisture, and follow up with a small amount of the mix. There are dozens of different recipes out there, so make sure to follow or modify one according to what your hair likes. My DIY cream is made with Shea Butter, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, and a Sweet Almond/Vitamin E Oil blend. It is heavy enough to seal, but light enough to give my hair life with amazing braid-outs.  A cool bonus: the DIY fluffy styling cream is an awesome body moisturizer too! For more information on my DIY cream, click here.

Ladies, how do you save money on natural hair products?

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 Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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25 Comments on "5 Ways to Save Money on Natural Hair Products"

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Samantha R.

I get my all natural shampoo from and don’t have to pay and arm and leg for it like the pharmacies want you to pay for their products. It’s been the best for my hair chemical free and still does wonders for my hair.

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natural skin care products

Good ideas! I always think to do which is more natural. Well done.

Jo Somebody

Wow! 50:50 ACV:Water?? I always thought you were recommended to use 1tbs per cup of water or something. Hmm…


Good ideas! Although I don’t spend much on conditioner (Tresemme Naturals), but I find that rinsing with ACV make me use more because it’s harder to control the amount since it’s not as thick as condtioner or shampoo. People should be a bit cautious of number 4, though, because some products are FDA approved to be washed out but not approved to be in prolonged contact with the skin because after time they cause irritation or prolonged exposure to certain chemicals.


great post!! especially since I was just in Target the other day and was appalled at the $40-60 range of Miss Jessie’s products on the “natural hair care” endcap. WTH?!! Unless impeccable results are guaranteed or else a complimentary salon appointment is granted, I’ll pass!

That said, it’s good to know the more wallet-friendly options serve their purpose and more…

Ugonna Wosu

Everything except #4. I use regular conditioner as a leave in, but not diluted. The whole appeal of regular conditioner as a leave in is that its thicker and more moisturizing, why make it more like regular leave in and take away its appeal?

Um number 4 is a big no no for my hair. Tried this tip a few years ago and my hair became coated and I developed an itchy scalp. If the bottle doesn’t say leave in I’ll pass. A really good tip is simply to use less. People often claim that their hair is so “thick” that the dime size or quarter size rule can’t apply to them. Just because your natural doesn’t mean you have to use 1/2 a bottle of conditioner to get the job done. If you do, the product your using probably isn’t any good I… Read more »
I must say I spend more now as a natural than I did when I relaxed my hair. I use Tresemme which is kinda expensive in south africa,but I buy the huge bottles when they are on sale and the last me a very long time. I’m trying to cut back on “finding the perfect “moisturiser” but I’m still on the hunt ’cause we don’t have shea butter or any butter here either. I think the best thing is to stock up the good stuff when its on sale and don’t use too much product ’cause most of the time… Read more »

I am finding it very hard to believe you cannot find any butters in SA.


Shea butter is from West Africa. Believe it or not, there aren’t tons of products from there in South Africa. It’s a long, long way and the markets are different.


I was not referring to shea butter. Baobab and Marula oils/butter are native to South Africa. I bought aloe butter there as well. I should also mention Uganda produces Shea Butter so it is not only produced in west Africa.


Do you live in SA,where do you buy your butters?


I do not live there, but I used to spend a lot of time in Sandton for work and I remember buying aloe and marula butter from a store in Jo’burg. It was in a large mall downtown and it was very crowded.

This link has quite a few companies that sell butters:

Tiff Dizzle

N I thought Shea Moisture was a bit pricy for 10.00 with those small containers… count ya blessings huh


Ha! in Trinidad and Tobago its $120 TT dollars for the Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Masque! I keep watching it and hope to buy it one day as a present to myself! Its a luxury good here!


Yeah and Shea Moisture tends to last me a really really long time.

Dee dee

In Trindad and Tobago, Suave retails for $19.99, Aussie and Tresemme is between $36 – $50… Definately not cheapie conditioners!!! I guess Vo5 would be our cheapie conditioner as it retails for $10.50 to $16 Trinidad & Tobago dollars!!!


US dollars or T&T dollars?

hair facts

One Trinidad and Tobago dollar equals .1562 American dollar, so we are not talking about a big difference in price. A bottle of Suave in TT retailing at $19.99 is like $3.12 in the US. Vo5 selling for $10.50 TT is about $1.62 in the US

Tiff Dizzle

My goodness!!!!Tresemme is like 3-4 buks in America… What do you use there? and Suave without a sale is no more then 3.00


Actually, Suave Naturals conditioner is on sale at my local Walgreens for $1. VO5 Conditioner is 88 cents.


She did state if they are having a sale on those items then hit up Walgreens or CVS but more often than not it cost more than Target or Walmart.