Saturday, 24 July 2010

How expensive is your natural hair?

I read a very recent article about how expensive natural hair products are. I agree in part because the products that were mentioned were on the high end. The truth is though that there are very many affordable hair products that naturals dismiss because

1. We mistakenly believe some products are not designed for our hair type
2. We are searching for a miracle product that does not exist but since the last expensive purchase did not pan out, why not try another brand name.

I truly believe natural hair is affordable and makes sense. It does take two specific things however for this to be true .

1. We have to enjoy the texture we have and not the one we want.
2. We have to learn good, gentle and patient methods of haircare that accentuate the default texture.

Anyway here is my spend for this month on products.This is the cost of actual products used. Where a product is not used in full the cost is divided by my estimate on how long it would take to finish the bottle

Total Cost
Conditioner (3 bottles used ) Disclaimer- I swim! £8 ($12)
Shampoo (1 bottle still nearly full should last 6 months or so) 30p(50cts)
Oil (Coconut and Shea butter - each jar should last around 4 months)
£9 ($14)
Leave in Conditioner (1 bottle also nearly full should last about 4 months) £2 ($3)
Hairdressing visits 0
Grand total £19.30
Additional expenses (trial products - not yet used) £17 ($26)

Frankly the cost could be less if I didn't mind the smell of shea butter. I buy a refined butter which is about the only ridiculous cost that I pay.

Have you done the maths for your hair care? If not, do it now and take the poll! Is hair care really a billion dollar industry? 

Side note: If you wear weaves or wigs and have your hair done in a salon, please add these expenses to your list!


  1. I literally only buy 2 bottles of conditioner($6) regularly per month. I use extra virgin olive oil (which I take from my kitchen stash, not sure how much it costs but I use the expensive stuff) to moisturize and occasionally glycerin ($.50) which I also use as a moisturizer for my skin, the only relief for my winter dryness. My hair loves these products and I think it pays to find a simple, affordable routine that works for your hair.

  2. That's one reason why I thought natural hair was expensive, because hair products found in drugstores seem like they aren't marketed for my hair type. I've since learned otherwise! Saved a lot of money

  3. I often think about how much I'm spending on hair products in comparison to when I was relaxed, but I never really think about how long the products will last me. I might spend $45 on 4 bottle of stuff but it will last for months versus a wash and style with a stylist when I was relaxed only lasting one week. Next time my husband makes comments about how much I'm spending on my hair I'll remember this. :) Thanks.

  4. Let's see...

    1 Alaffia Shea & Virgin Coconut Enriching shampoo: $9.99. (an 8 oz. bottle lasts me about 5 mos.)
    1 Aubrey Organics White Camellia Conditioner: 8.49 (lasts about 3 months)
    1 jar of Qhemet Bio's Amla Olive Heavy Cream: 16.50 (+ shipping. lasts 4 months)
    V05 conditioners in varying scents: .99 cents each (unless my local dollar shop is out of stock, then 1.29 each at Rite Aid.)

    That's my entire natural hair arsenal. Total cost: $35.97+

    These are the staples I always try to have on hand so it's even more expensive as the year goes on. Must try to stretch them and cut down!

  5. Natural hair care is as expensive or as inexpensive as you want it to be. I think many use that as an excuse to go back to relaxers or to never try going natural.

    In my brokest of broke months, I've spent $10 or less a month on hair care products. I've found that my hair can be maintained and thrive with just water, oil, hair lotion/creame and conditioner. And conditioner is optional. As long as I have oil and honey in my house, I don't even need the conditioner. Shoot our ancestors hair did just fine without all the curl enhancing creams, fancy shampoos and conditioners, steam treatments etc.

    In my more prosporous months, I haven't spent over $30 in a month on hair products.

    If you're a product junkie, don't even look at me. You already know it's going to be expensive being a natural if that's what you're on. And there's nothing wrong with that. For some that's just their thing but if that's your thing I really think you have no room to complain about it being expensive b/c you know what you're getting yourself into.

    For newbies it might be expensive in the beginning b/c sometimes you have to keep trying different things till you find out what works for you hair. Once you do, you stick to those products and your money spent each month should taper off b/c you're only buying what you know works.

    I do agree with you that many just keep on buying products in search of that "magic potion" that doesnt exist. Unless you have a medical condition, your hair grows. Take care of your ends to keep them from breaking and you get to keep your growth and have length.

    People put way too much thought into this sometimes. Our hair grows like everyone else's and can do a lot of what everyone else's does just in different ways. Sheesh. Ok, end rant. Lol. Jc, I guess I just feel like some people make it more than it really is. Natural hair really isn't that complicated and doesn't have to be expensive.

  6. It's really hard for me to break up my product purchases by month since they usually last me 4-6 months a pop! My product junkism has faded to practically nonexistent which lowers the cost even further. @_@


  7. I've spent about $50 THIS month. Next month, I'm spending about the same if not a little more. ^-^

  8. Would you post the link for the article you reference in your post?

  9. I definitely spend way less money being natural as opposed to having to get a relaxer or re-doing a weave every 3 months. One of the reasons I went natural was because I was spending way too much money on weaves. This post actually made me realize that I don't spend as much as I think I do since the products I purchase last for a few months. I always wanted to keep my regimen simple so I wasn't into being a product junkie or ordering expensive products that may or may not work. I think that some people may have spent a lot of money on weaves and relaxers trying to get their hair to look a certain way so that carries into being natural.

  10. My product spend on oils, conditioners etc averaged out over the year comes to less than $10 a month at the very most. I buy cheap conditioners and get my oils, herbs & powders from indian shops or Ebay.
    I love that I spend less in a year taking the very best care of my hair than many women spend in a month. Natural hair is cheap cheap cheap to maintain if you want it to be.

    It also helps if you like mixing things up yourself and don't get swayed by high end products.
    When I hear about women spending $35 dollars on kinky kurly custard, I laugh out loud - IC Fantasia gel does the same thing for a tenth of the price.

  11. Teachermrw - I intentionally did not link the article. The blog where I read it is not for a general audience. I would prefer not to direct my audience to it.

  12. LOL I spend a bit because I like to experiment and since I am nearing my go to products with a good ph balance, I buy in bulk or am about to start. I have more than one person using what I use so it goes much faster. :-(
    I also have to pay for shipping and the cost to buy shea butter and the oils so I will spend more trying to buy them in larger amount and not just for 1 lb container. *sigh* I should have done that eons ago. :-(

    Yup I even bought kinky kurly. :-) My curiosity gets the better of me so I always try out things to see the results I get. LOL

  13. I don't think it has to be expensive at all. It's like anything else, there are cheaper versions of products that are more expensive that work just as well. And because so many naturals use regular kitchen item on their hair that also makes it not super expensive.

  14. My shampoo lasts me 6 months or more as well. I import it from England, so the shipping is the main expense. It works out to about 18 Canadian dollars a tube (I buy 2 at a time).
    My only hair colour/conditioner is catnip, which the way I buy it in a 1.5 oz tub, at approximatelt $13 Canadian dollars,lasts me anywhere from 1 to 3 years.
    One thing that may prove helpful for hair and swimming is club soda to neutralize chlorine, either soaking your hair with it for 15 munutes pre-swim or using it as a rinse afterward before you shampoo and condition,or both methods. It is very inexpensicve, it cannot harm the hair and it is available everywhere.


  15. Great post. Natural hair doesn't need to be expensive at all, even with pricier products because many last so long. I know I could get by with one good conditioner and a few items from the pantry and still be very happy with the way the daughters' hair looks and feels.

    That said, you should have heard me at the store the other day, justifying the purchase of a $10 leave-in/detangler we absolutely did not need. It sounded like nonsense even to my own ears. :)

  16. when it comes to the cost of caring for my natural hair, I try budget so as not to go over what the 'traditional cost' usually is or was. In care for my hair, in the past I'd pay $60 & up (without tip) every two weeks. This was a fixed budget I worked out for many years because I convinced myself that I did not have the time or knowledge to devote to caring for it. If I were to do the math over the years...I'd seriously beat myself up, but these days I'm able to budget more effectively because I research the product before purchasing, figuring out if it's cost effective for the amount of hair I have, how long it will last, shipping cost, is it readily available at most drugstores or markets. I've learned to buy in bulk about 3-4 times a year, spending around 60 bucks. Monthly I stock up on shampoos & conditioners, which costs on average about $8. I have saved tremendously over the past few years in caring for my hair, even with a few splurges of much talked about conditioners or stylers, you learn to budget more effectively with practice and paying attention to what really works with your hair.

  17. I spend less than R30 a month on my hair. R30 is about $4.

  18. My estimate would be about $60.00. This includes the following purchases coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera juice and braiding hair. I have spent more because I have been experimenting, I had never used the oil/butter or juice before.

    However, I think that in the long run it will be cheaper, because I now know what works and what does not. Previously I spent $8.00 for hair grease, I can get ~$14 oz coconut oil for the same amount. Learning how to style your own hair also saves alot!! I did my own kinky twist braids this weekend, I spent only $17.00 for the hair. I started on saturday night and finished off sunday morning. Before it would have been ~120.00 plus fuel and travel time.

    My advise is find an affordable shampoo and conditioner that works for you. Try even those brands that seem to be marketed for straight hair. I feel stupid when I realise I used to buy certain brands only because they are made for 'afro' or 'kinky' or 'black' hair according to some ad. Spend a little more on natural oils/butters.

    People should also realise that natural/organic is in and manufacturers will take advantage! I am aware that if a product is ~95% natural sourcing the ingredients may cost more but should a jar cost ~10.00, 20.00 or 30.00? I don't think so.


  19. Within the last three months I have spent all together about $47. I am very particular about costs now and I refuse to spend a lot of money on products like I did when I had a relaxer.

    Products I buy:

    VO5 Moisture Milks Conditioner (.97cents)
    Tresemme Naturals Conditioner (Deep Conditioner/2 bottle $4.77)
    Aloe Vera Gel (2 bottles @2.99)
    Shea Butter ($11.99 I learned my lesson will never buy this expensive shea butter again)
    Elasta QP conditioning Gel ($4.99)
    Dress Green meadowfoam jojoba oil shampoo bar ($8.50)

  20. I voted in the over $60 dollar but below $90. I'm a newbie at finding out what my hair likes (despite being natural for 3 years...). Before it would frequently be $0 most months since I didn't do anything but wash and condition and put it in twists/braids. I expect it should be cheap when I figure it all out though: less than $10 or $20.

  21. In the past 2-3 months, I've spent a little over $300 buying ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, aloe and henna in bulk and buying styling tools like curlformers, seamless combs and a blowdryer. I also bought a large size of Aphogee 2-step protein treatment. Over the next month or so, I'll probably spend another $60 or $70 dollars on some bulk ayurvedics and a supersized tub of Miracle Whip (my condish of choice). Considering that I use many of these products for both my hair and body and that they'll last for 1-2 years, I consider it a bargain. If I throw in the occassional store bought product (Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner, Qhemet Biologics Detangling Ghee), add the bulk honey, castile soap and castor oil that I already have and round everything off to $500, that's still only $20 a month if spread over 2 years.

    In my opinion, even a product junkie wouldn't actually spend over $50 a month unless she gets her hair done professionally. Going to the salon for styling and treatments is what really gets expensive, but that isn't unique to natural hair or even women's hair. When I rocked a super short cut (dude cut) and had to go to the barber, I spent $20 (inc. tip) a week on my hair ($80 a month, not including products). After a few months of stretching cuts to twice a month and trying to give myself a shape-up, I figured that it'd be cheaper for me to grow my hair out and style it myself than keep a low cut.

  22. Well my friends who wear weaves or braids spend a fortune on their hair i.e. at least 60-80 pounds a month. I personally would rather buy natural-based products and ingredients even if they add up to lets say 200 pounds a year, thats still cheaper than getting my hair done in a salon every month. Plus since going natural I learned how to take care of my own hair so even if I wanted braids I could do it myself, and if I felt like getting a weave, I'd just get a wig instead. I definately think going natural is cheap even if you are using pricey products. Combine good products with knowledge of hair care practices and salons are no longer needed imo.

  23. Jc-which refined shea do you use? I just bought some at a beauty supply store because I just lost the ability to stand the scent of raw unprocessed shea butter!

  24. Thanks for the comments all! Glad to see that many of us do find it affordable.

    Leslie - I get mine from L'occitane. It costs $39 in US for just under 5 oz. It is expensive but I have twice tried to buy on ebay (cheaper) and ended up getting some lavender smelling stuff from separate sellers. I stick with L'occitane now, it has no scent, it is quite white. Here is a link to the US site


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