It’s no secret that hair­care and mon­ey go hand-in-hand. By far one of the most lucra­tive busi­ness­es, com­pa­nies with nat­ur­al lines are crop­ping up all over the place. Hand-in-hand with the high out­put of some nat­ur­al creams, jel­lies, cus­tards, cow­ash­es, and con­di­tion­ers, is a high price tag. But is it always worth it to spend gobs of mon­ey on your prod­ucts? Let’s exam­ine where it may be ben­e­fi­cial to spend extra, or save mon­ey in your reg­i­men.

Pre-Poos & Oils: SPEND

In this area, cut­ting cor­ners isn’t always the best idea. When it comes to oils for your hair — whether it be for seal­ing, pre-poo­ing, or oth­er treat­ments, the high­er the qual­i­ty, the bet­ter. And gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, high­er qual­i­ty comes with a high­er price tag. Spend the extra bucks for oils that are vir­gin, cold pressed, unre­fined, and con­tain at least 99% of said oil (some­times, com­pa­nies may add Vit­a­min E [toco­pherol acetate] to oils to pre­serve and improve shelf life…this is fine). Vir­gin and cold pressed oils are not sub­ject­ed to the same heat extrac­tions and chem­i­cal addi­tives that reduce the vit­a­min, nutri­ent, and fat­ty acid con­tent of the oils. For the best bar­gains on qual­i­ty oils, click here.

Con­di­tion­ers: SAVE

Most con­di­tion­ers (with the excep­tion of like, Shea Mois­ture) are based in the fol­low­ing ingre­di­ents:

  • Water: depend­ing on the brand, 50 — 80% of your con­di­tion­er is water
  • Fat­ty Alco­hols: Cetyl, Cetaryl, and Stearyl Alco­hols are those creamy bases, com­mon­ly derived from palm or coconut oil that act as emul­si­fy­ing agents (help­ing oil and water mix) and con­tribute to that vel­vety feel of con­di­tion­er.
  • Behent­ri­mo­ni­um Chlo­ride or Methyl­sul­fate: Con­di­tion­ing agent great for adding soft­ness, and sur­fac­tant (pro­vides mild cleans­ing).

These ingre­di­ents con­sti­tute a con­sid­er­able bulk of most con­di­tion­ers, rang­ing from Suave and Herbal Essences, to Carol’s Daugh­ter and DevaC­url. We use SO much con­di­tion­er one a reg­u­lar basis, why spend $20 a bot­tle, when you can spend $3 and achieve the same results? Click here to check out some cheap con­di­tion­er swaps.

Cow­ash­es: SAVE

Before all these hair lines began rolling out cow­ash­es and cleans­ing con­di­tion­er, what were you wash­ing your hair with? Chances are, you cow­ashed reg­u­lar­ly and occa­sion­al­ly used sham­poo (or some super-pow­er nat­ur­al clar­i­fy­ing agent). It worked for you, or else you wouldn’t have done it that way for so long. Why spend the extra mon­ey now? Click here for my rec­om­men­da­tions on super cheap and super effec­tive con­di­tion­ers for cow­ash­ing.

Sham­poos: DRAW

Most sham­poos (even some that claim to be “sul­fate free”) con­tain sul­fates. It may not be SLS, but there are tons of sul­fates, rang­ing in harsh­ness, that com­pa­nies use in sham­poos. If you’re just look­ing for a good ol’ fash­ioned sul­fate scrub­down, don’t spend tons of mon­ey on a fan­cy sham­poo. If you sham­poo often (week­ly) and need a par­tic­u­lar cleans­ing agent that is present in a top shelf sham­poo, go for it. For those of us who tow the mid line (sham­poo­ing month­ly, or less fre­quent­ly), a good sham­poo can be pur­chased for $10 or less, and last a long time. For more info on sham­poos arranged by sul­fate harsh­ness, check out Jc’s arti­cle on The Nat­ur­al Haven Bloom.

Deep Con­di­tion­ers: SPEND

A good qual­i­ty deep con­di­tion­er can be the dif­fer­ence between dry brit­tle hair, and hair that stays mois­tur­ized all week long. In this depart­ment, there are dif­fer­ent for­mu­la­tions for dif­fer­ent hair types and needs. If there were one area to splurge in, this would be the one. Some deep con­di­tion­ers are pro­tein heavy, oil based, or con­tain pen­e­trat­ing con­di­tion­ing ingre­di­ents. If your hair hap­pens to per­form best when deep con­di­tioned reg­u­lar­ly with a more expen­sive prod­uct, don’t deny your hair…unless you can find one that per­forms just as well for cheap­er. Of all my hair prod­ucts, my deep con­di­tion­ers are the most expen­sive. Please note that expen­sive for me is $12 — $15 for at least 10oz of prod­uct.

Detan­glers: SAVE

Fan­cy detan­glers are eas­i­ly one of the eas­i­est mon­ey suck­ers for nat­u­rals. We want a prod­uct that is going to melt tan­gles, remove shed hairs, and cut the time we spend unrav­el­ing knots in half. I’m sure some­where out there, this prod­uct exists. But for the most part, most detan­glers are just super slip­pery agents that make the process more bear­able. I don’t know about you all, but I am heavy-hand­ed when it comes to detan­glers. My hair needs to be sat­u­rat­ed with prod­uct to get going. If this is how you detan­gle, it doesn’t make sense to spend tons of mon­ey on a small bot­tle of detan­gling prod­uct — espe­cial­ly if you’re prone to use 2/3 of that bot­tle in one ses­sion. Cut your costs by invest­ing in detan­glers that come in big­ger bot­tles, or serve more than one pur­pose (like a con­di­tion­er).

Styling Prod­ucts: SAVE

I have to con­stant­ly remind myself of this one. Every new styling prod­uct isn’t meant for me to rush out and buy. In fact, in my excite­ment about a week ago, I spent $20 on a 12oz bot­tle of curl­ing gel. I stared at the bot­tle for two days before my good sense kicked in. Need­less to say, I returned it with­out ever using it. Although the ingre­di­ent list looked good, and every­one raves about the line, I could see myself dous­ing my hair in the prod­uct, using half the bot­tle in one styling ses­sion, and being mad. A $20 gel habit is some­thing I can’t afford. Chances are, you can find com­pa­ra­ble styling prod­ucts (but­ters, creams, gels, jel­lies, taffies, cus­tards and more) to those high end lines for $7 — $9.…or make them your­self. If it’s a must-have prod­uct, or some­thing that you have are just burn­ing to try, keep your eyes peeled for sales. For exam­ple, I have been super curi­ous about Nubian Her­itage Indi­an Hemp & Tamanu Grow and Strength­en Edge Tam­ing Taffy late­ly. But at $12 — $14 for a 6oz jar, I wasn’t will­ing to take the plunge. On Insta­gram I post­ed about CVS hav­ing a Shea Mois­ture & Nubian Her­itage buy one get one half-off sale this week. Per­fect tim­ing to get 2 jars for $18. All prod­ucts aren’t mir­a­cle work­ers, and don’t always live up to their claims. Keep that in mind when shop­ping!


What areas in your reg­i­men do you skimp and splurge on?

For more from Christi­na check out her blog, The Mane Objec­tive. You can also find her on Insta­gram and Face­book.

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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32 Comments on "Conditioners, Oils, Detanglers: When to Skimp and When to Splurge"

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All­ma­rine Indus­try is a pro­fes­sion­al Mar­itime Indus­try Man­u­fac­tur­er in Shang­hai, Chi­na.
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I do spend with the hair treat­ment because I know I only use it once in a week. But I also find sham­poos and con­di­tion­er in one brand, because I have been believ­ing they should come togeth­er, which should not be the issue. Great tips.


I splurge on leave in conditioner(Giovanni), save on shampoo(don’t use it more then once a month), save on cow­ash con­di­tion­ers, and splurge and save on deep con­di­tion­ers. As for oils I use the same oils that I cook with(coconut and olive), and cas­tor oil I buy from CVS. I buy Vati­ka when I can get to the Eth­nic mar­ket, which is not often, but it’s very afford­able.

cynthia J

I would say under­neath my sink i have over $75 worth of hair prod­ucts.. and to be hon­est when they all run out I am only repur­chas­ing the thing i can afford this time. Which means a sim­ple reg­i­men for me.. I love my coconut oil, cas­tor oil, and shea mois­ture leave in… I cant do with­out those.
As for a cow­ash and deep con­di­tion­er, i wouldn’t mind try­ing some­thing else, even though my deep con­di­tion­ing (organ­ic some­thing) does fine.
so.… great post as usu­al.

I try to save where I can on all these and what I think I spent the most on was my DC which was Aubrey O-hon­ey­suck­le con­di­tion­er which was around £15–16 and was in my prod­uct junkie days and real­ly wasn’t the best for me any­way. I have found I com­pare size to price (amongst oth­er fac­tors) on whether I decide to splurge. No mat­ter how won­der­ful some­thing is you need to be a decent size/amount plus a hand­ful of awe­some­ness for me to think of splurg­ing more than £10 on any DC or mois­turis­er (won’t even con­sid­er this for… Read more »
I say save in all catagories. See no sense in buy­ing expen­sive any­thing for hair care prod­ucts that will lit­er­al­ly go down the drain. If u learn how to make cer­tain prod­ucts like but­ters n mois­tur­iz­ers at home u can save loads of mon­ey. I make my own shea mois­ture like hair smooth­ie. The 10 it cost for that one jar I could buy a few sim­ple raw ingre­di­ents n have enough to make sev­er­al jars with vary­ing for­mu­las. I still use com­mer­cial prod­ucts but knw how to read ingre­di­ents to know most are pret­ty much the same in dif­fer­ent… Read more »

I SAVE on my pre-poo (aloe vera gel) and oils (cas­tor and coconut) ’cause I search for the low­est price and buy in bulk.

I SAVE mon­ey on con­di­tion­ers or co-wash­es ’cause I don’t use them.

I’m will­ing to SPEND for sham­poo and deep con­di­tion­er but since Shea Mois­ture hair care prod­ucts are fre­quent­ly on sale I SAVE.

I SAVE on detan­glers (DIY Water/Glycerin Spritz) and styling prod­uct (Eco Styler Krys­tal Styling Gel; DIY Flaxseed Gel).

As a nat­ur­al of a year and 7 months, I have been most­ly on the splurge side. What can I say? My mom says I have expen­sive taste, and I do. lol ;0) When I first decid­ed to go nat­ur­al I spent over $100 on Bee Mine prod­ucts, found that they did not work for me and end­ed up pass­ing them along to my lit­tle sis. I tried super expen­sive con­di­tion­ers by Jesse Curl, less expen­sive ones, and every­thing in between. Ulti­mate­ly, I have found that for my hair less is more. I use mod­er­ate­ly priced prod­ucts such as Bobeam… Read more »

[…] Con­di­tion­ers, Oils, Detan­glers: When to Skimp and When to Splurge … […]

the thing is that I will usu­al­ly go for a prod­uct that has at least two uses. I will buy a con­di­tion­ner that I can use for cow­ash AND for DC. Or a con­di­tion­ner that I can use as a DC AND as a leave-in. I don’t feel the need to to clut­ter my bath­room cab­i­net with hun­dreds of bot­tles. I also make sure that my leave-in is the prod­uct that has the most nat­ur­al & ben­e­fi­cial ingre­di­ents. My rea­son­ning is that it’s the prod­uct that will stay on my hair for the most amount of time so it has… Read more »
Tiff Dizzle
I splurge on deep con­di­tion­ers. I have cheap and semi expen­sive sham­poos and reg con­di­tion­ers which I wont splurge on again. Oil I don’t use on my hair real­ly beside cas­tor or olive and those being cold pressed are not expen­sive to me. Im just now learn­ing how to style my nat­ur­al hair so find­ing the right prod­ucts will prob hav­ing me spend­ing my mon­ey on that. I recent­ly pur­chased this curl pud­ding from nat­u­ral­ly silk ele­ments and its so bad im so mad I spent my mon­ey on but I also don’t like wast­ing so I will cont to… Read more »

i deep con­di­tion with clays (rhas­soul)


The only thing I splurge on these days is a styling prod­uct: Earth­tones Nat­u­rals Curl Enhanc­ing Gel­ly. It smoothes and has great hold, give amaz­ing shine, and is non-dry­ing; in fact it actu­al­ly helps to keeps my hair mois­tur­ized. Noth­ing else I’ve tried even comes close to this prod­uct, so I will stay pay­ing good mon­ey for it. But every­thing else I get pret­ty cheap, and I think my hair is doing okay.


yes i think i’ll have to splurge on a styling prod­uct too since i’m super pro­tein sen­si­tive.


I don’t use much prod­ucts ans wait till I fin­ish usu­al­ly before tryng a new brand or re buy­ing it.

-buy a trav­el size clar­i­fy­ing sham­poo.
-use a cheap­ie co-wash but more on my hair mask
-Use olive oil as my sta­ple oil n add cas­tor oil if I have it.
-To seal my hair Ani­ta Grant Cafe Lat­te is my most pricey prod­uct but is worth it.

If I do try a new thing I buy a sam­ple before get­ting the full size where pos­si­ble.

Help­ful arti­cle. :)


wow every­thing you list­ed sound­ed real­ly inex­pen­sive then u came out of nowhere with that ani­ta grant prod­uct, i buy pricey every­thing (its a real vice) but even i cant mess with her prod­ucts due to price. 

Im very curi­ous to know what u like about the cafe lat­te.


After lov­ing how my hair felt after using a cou­ple of Gar­nier Fruc­tis con­di­tion­ers as deep con­di­tion­ers, the only thing I will splurge on is leave-in con­di­tion­er because my hair is very dry. I only use good qual­i­ty oils and thank­ful­ly there are var­i­ous places online that you can get very good prices on cold pressed extra vir­gin oils.

I final­ly brought some sham­poos and conditioner’s from Trad­er Joe’s and will try those soon.  For me, it is about the same price range for almost every­thing except As I Am’s But­ter­cream (and the oils I use are expen­sive cold press and unre­fined etc…I need some EVCO too) item $20+ at Sally’s–wasn’t impressed!:/ I will try it again on wet then dry hair and as a sum­mer light cream and see if I have a change of mind on it but so far no go so I put it away:/ Hey guys, What is the deal­ly-O on Qhemet Bio­log­ics? Besides Aunt Jackie’s,… Read more »

I absolute­ly love two of Qhemet’s prod­ucts: Bur­dock Root Hair Cream and Amla & Olive Oil Hair Cream. I use these two, along with coconut oil or avo­ca­do oil, when I employ the LOC method. By doing so, I only have to mois­tur­ize and seal my hair every 2 days, instead of dai­ly like I used to.

How­ev­er, the prod­ucts are pricey (%16 for 8 oz.). But, a lit­tle goes a long way.

Hi there!! I have nerv­er used Quemet prod­ucts but I own 3 Aunt Jack­ie prod­ucts. The sham­poo is very thick and lath­ers well although it is sul­fate free. It leaves my hair feel­ing very soft, shiny and clean. No dry­ness whatsoever!!!(even with­out a pre­poo). The deep con­di­tion­er is my fave from the brand. It smells super sweet dis­trib­utes very well on the hair. A lit­tle also goes a long way.I leave it for 10 min­utes w/ aplas­tic cap on, and after rins­ing my 4b hair is so soft that I want to cry lol. And the soft­ness lasts me thru… Read more »
Thick Nigerian Hair
I guess I spend more mon­ey on styling prod­ucts and con­di­tion­ers. My hair is extra dry, prone to break­age, prefers to tan­gle, has high shrink­age, and has A LOT of iner­tia. Because of that, seri­ous detan­gling ses­sions occur only when I have con­di­tion­er in as a detan­gler (cheap), as a DC (mod­er­ate-expen­sive), and as a leave-in (any price). My styling prod­ucts have to help me attain the style, mois­tur­ize, and seal so those tend to be pricey.  I used to splurge on oils but I can’t jus­ti­fy it any­more. My styling prod­ucts have water and oils in them so what… Read more »

I only splurge on oils, pomades and my leave-in con­di­tion­er. Paul Mitchell’s “The Con­di­tion­er” works well to keep my hair mois­tur­ized.

No prod­ucts treat my hair bet­ter than Nubian Her­itage and Shea Mois­ture. Per ounce, the prod­ucts are some­what expen­sive; but, my afro hair is chron­i­cal­ly dry, so I will spend. It’s dif­fi­cult to find NH in my metro area and I’ve have dri­ven 26 miles to the hood to stock up when it’s on sale. It has to be be least 25% off, but prefer­ably buy one get one free or at a tremen­dous sav­ings. I’ve used (and will use again) cheap­ies like Tre­semme Nat­u­rals and stuff that is not entire­ly nat­ur­al like Gio­van­ni, but I’ll nev­er splurge on Aubrey… Read more »
nappy headed black girl

I will only (pos­si­bly lol) splurge on oils and leave-ins. I don’t use a lot of prod­ucts so my main con­cern is keep­ing in mois­ture.


The only things I splurge on are leave in con­di­tion­er (Qhemet Bio­log­ics) and Oyin Handmade’s Burnt Sug­ar Pomade (I love this stuff! Love it!). 

I save on pre-poos because I haven’t noticed a dif­fer­ence between organ­ic vs. not organ­ic and cheap oils tend to do bet­ter for me. I’m cur­rent­ly using one of those 8 in 1 oils from the BBS and my hair is LOVING IT almost as much if not more than my organ­ic coconut oil which costs way more. Same with styling prod­ucts and shampoo/conditioner, if the cheap stuff works, why should I spend more?


I think that it real­ly does depend on your hair but, this was an inter­est­ing arti­cle because I do the oppo­site, I will save on sham­poo but splurge on con­di­tion­ers because I use them for co-wash­ing, pre-poos some­times…

Styling prod­ucts I also splurge on because that’s what helps to keep my hair mois­tur­ized through­out the week for exam­ple I haven’t found a store brand dai­ly mois­tur­iz­er that actu­al­ly mois­tur­izes my dense dry hair. So, I usu­al­ly pur­chase from Darcy’s Botan­i­cals or KBB to help aid me there.…

Good arti­cle.

This is an inter­est­ing and inno­v­a­tive arti­cle, but as always, I think this all depends on each person’s hair reg­i­men. Clear­ly if you don’t like sham­poo, you won’t spend much on it. How­ev­er, a good, clar­i­fy­ing, chelat­ing sham­poo is part of my reg­i­men and I have yet to find an inex­pen­sive sham­poo that ful­fills my needs in this depart­ment. That being said, I’d actu­al­ly say that pre-poo oils are where one can save. Buy store brands if pos­si­ble and I’ve found my hair sees no dif­fer­ence between extra vir­gin organ­ic coconut oil vs. the refined ver­sion (e.g., Vati­ka oil is… Read more »

Every prod­uct I use, such as shampoo/cleanser, con­di­tion­ers, hair masks/deep con­di­tion­ers, treat­ments, leave in/moisturizers, butters/oil/stylers are all under $11. The high­est I’ll go is $13. Yes I am a lit­tle cheap per­son


I total­ly agree but I guess I am even cheap­er because my lim­it is $10. How­ev­er I am able to find some good finds at Wal­greens & Ulta (sham­poo, con­di­tion­ers and styling prod­ucts BOGO) and Puri­tan Pride all of their car­ri­er oils are BOGO FREE!!!


BOGO sales are the best. I always miss them when I don’t have much mon­ey lol


I save on sham­poos and con­di­tion­ers; where­as, I will spend on deep con­di­tion­ers and styling creams. For my sham­poos and con­di­tion­ers, I head over to Trad­er Joe’s. But, my deep con­di­tion­er comes from Jes­si­curl and my styling prod­ucts come from Qhemet Bio­log­ics and Oyin Hand­made.