When the chips are down, hair is usually the first casualty. First it's the visits to the hairdresser's that drop off. Then your budget for products starts to dwindle and you try to squeeze as much of your regimen as possible into a smaller and smaller budget.
Then one day it happens: You find yourself on the cheapest stuff in the hair store, your hair's looking raggedy and you wonder for the life in you how you got there. But it really doesn't have to be this way. By putting some savvy to work, you can balance the books and keep your crowning glory intact.
Rocking a daily wash 'n' go, with no second day hair in sight, effectively means you are pouring a good share of your products down the drain each and every day!
If you don't have a greasy scalp, sweat like crazy, swim or work out daily, or spend a lot of your time in a highly polluted environment, your hair can very likely take the stretch of
washing 2-3 times a week instead of 7. How can you do this? The best options are the simplest: protective styling and styling your hair from dry. Your wallet will thank you and your hair will thank you even more. After all, less manipulation = less damage.
Section your hair.
Before applying your conditioner, treatment, leave in or styler be sure to section your hair. This ensures you use the least product necessary to get the best coverage possible. Part your hair into at least 9 sections and apply product to each, one at a time. Thicker or denser heads of hair may benefit from several more even smaller or finer sections.
For conditioners and treatments, wet the hair a little to make a smaller amount of conditioner run smoother across a larger section of hair. Work it in gently, adding product in small increments until it feels like each strand has gotten enough to feel seaweedy. This is the simple secret to the confidence that you've used enough to condition and style effectively without overdoing it.
Try samples and smaller sizes.
You'd be surprised at how many samples and promotions are going on all the time, if you just keep an eye out. Ask at your local hair store, check your favourite hair and beauty magazines, and listen in on Twitter, Facebook or the radio for competitions and sample offers. Sometimes you can even contact the company and see if there's a free sample or discount offer available.
When you can't get your hands on a sample or a discount, and still want to try something new, it's a good idea to get the smallest size available so you can try it for the minimum cost.
Use your community.
A lot of us try to tighten the belt on haircare precisely because we've spent so much money experimenting with products and investing in the next best thing just to come up short. But if you hedge your bets like this, you'll keep your losses to the minimum and find haircare that measures up to your hair's needs.
freebies on your favourite haircare lines and new ones you've been itching to try. Since these niche social sites are more focused than the main social media real estate it's easy to find a lot of people talking about and offering hair-related stuff.
Know which products you can afford to go cheap on.
Good quality vegetable oils, co-washes and gels can certainly be had for a cheap price. And stove top treatments for brittle hair, shedding, and dry scalp have been a mainstay in natural haircare for centuries if not longer; ask any Dominicana.
For most products, a good rule of thumb is to go for more concentrated products and use them sparingly. The cheap alternatives will usually give you more quantity, but what you are really paying for is a big bottle with more water, more fillers and very little in the way of beneficial ingredients. Which leads us to...
Go for concentration over quantity.
When formulas are watered down, they're too weak to perform properly so you have to use more to get a decent effect. In hair products, go for concentration over quantity every time. A small amount of a powerful conditioner applied in sections on soaking wet hair, will beat a big ol' bottle of watered down budget stuff every time, even if you use half the bottle.
Serums especially tend to come best in small packages. The key ingredient in these products is pretty pricey so it's common for manufacturers to dilute it heavily so they can present customers with a bigger bottle. The authentic, good stuff is usually to be found in a small bottle, with a short ingredients list. Tip it to the side and watch it move. If it flows slow like honey then you know you've got that good stuff.
Lather up once, not twice.
We all grew up with that familiar line on the back of the shampoo bottle: Lather, rinse, repeat. As a result, most of us also grew up believing we had to shampoo our hair twice to get it clean. Well, it's not true: cosmetic industry lore has it that this line was dreamt up by a Revlon marketer to get consumers to use up products twice as fast, so they'd have to buy twice as much.
Shampoos are designed to clean in one lather, just like the cleansers we use for our face, body, and household are.
So unless your hair is really dirty, i.e., you use a ton of product, you've been in a dirty, greasy or dusty environment, you wash your hair less than once a week, or have scalp issues that leave a lot
Good hair can happen on a budget.
The bottom line: You can still take good care of your hair when your cash is low. The strategy of it all is knowing how to spend efficiently and how to use what you do buy to greatest effect so that your hair can truly flourish.
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