My name is JoAnna and I’m a recovering natural hair product junkie. Seriously, is it me, or does a new natural hair product come out once a month? Since ending the group natural hair blog, I fell off of what’s what in the natural hair community and there have been a lot more product releases. Being at home and not being able to travel has given me so much more time to rediscover things I’ve loved like natural hair and beauty. I’ve even gone back to following a consistent hair regimen. The not-so-good side of having this extra time and money is reliving my natural hair product junkie days and buying products that caused my product junkie stash to grow. It’s easy to get caught up with the new product craze so here are some ways you can be a product junkie on a budget.
Natural Hair Subscription Boxes
Get more for your money with a natural hair subscription box. Natural hair subscription boxes contain 4-5 full and sample-sized products every month for $20/month. The most popular are Curl Box and Curlkit. If you don’t want to receive products every month, you can also purchase past and present month boxes.
Buy Sample and Travel Kits
When I transitioned for 14 months and a new natural, I was determined to take care of my natural hair on a budget. One of the ways I saved money was by sending requests for sample products. Those days are long gone, but most natural hair brands have travel and sample-sized products in kits or individual bottles for sale. There aren’t a lot of affordable natural hair brands so purchasing samples allow you to try the products before spending money on full-sized items.
Look out for Sales
Buying from retail beauty supply stores, drug stores, and holiday specials is another way to be a product junkie on a budget. There are several times during the year when CVS, Walgreens, Sally’s, and Target have Buy One Get One (or two) Free, Buy One get one 1/2 off or a certain percentage off popular natural hair brands. The natural hair community also participates during big shopping days like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. A good tip is to follow the brand on social media or join their mailing lists to know when they will have a sale. My recent purchases of the Jane Carter Curls to Go and Alikay Naturals’ Lemongrass collections were through percentage off and BOGO sales online and in stores.
Attend Natural Hair Events
Who doesn’t like swag bags? Natural hair events and expos are one of my favorite ways to meet other naturals and cure my product junkie fix. NYC used to have a lot of natural hair meetups and product launches hosted by brands, natural hair bloggers, vloggers, and influencers. Now, these events are usually on a larger scale with featured sponsors offering samples and full-sized products for swag bags, contests, and raffle prizes. Some events like Curlfest offer swag bags and the opportunity for brands to sell products and offer exclusive discounts.
Tip: If you live in an area that doesn’t have regular natural hair meetups or events, you can contact event hosts for leftover products or swag bags. Some hosts are willing to send if you pay for shipping costs.
Be a Volunteer
If you know of any upcoming natural hair events or expos, see if there is an opportunity to volunteer. By volunteering, you have the ability to attend the event without paying and network with event hosts. Sometimes the host will offer a swag bag of hair products as a gift for your time and service.
An easy way to be natural on a budget is to enter contests and giveaways. Many brands and influencers host giveaways for new and existing products on their social media platform or to their subscribers exclusively. If you are thinking about entering a giveaway make sure to read the terms before entering. A lot of contests on Instagram, for example, disqualify users that are exclusively for giveaways.
Use Multi-Purpose Hair Products
Did you know that you can save money on hair products by purchasing products that have more than one use? Products like coconut oil and Jamaican black castor oil can be used on both the hair and skin. There are also products like Naturalicious Moisture Infusion Styling Crème that can double as a heat protectant.
If I get a product that doesn’t really work for my hair, I sometimes give it away or do a product swap. You can swap new or gently used hair products at events, “swap parties” or online via natural hair groups and forums. If you decide to meet up or share your personal information for product swaps, please use your best judgment. Your safety is always more important.
Before there were hundreds of natural hair products available, many of us were DIY Naturals. Hair products can get expensive so you can make your own products. Some of the ingredients like olive oil, banana, avocado, and aloe can already be found at home. There are tons of youtube videos and blogs for DIY hair masks, hair/body butter, and deep conditioner. Making your own DIY products may even start a new business for you.