Cost and Value Tips

I’m a big believer in the Marshall’s slogan. “never pay full price for fabulous!” I got most of today’s outfit as hand me downs and I’ve already received quite a few compliments.

When it comes to hair products…that’s usually where I splurge. I don’t wear a lot of make up and 90% of the clothes I own cost me (note: cost me) less than thirty dollars.
So since I know a chunk of my pay is going to Shea Moisture etc. I am trying to figure out ways to save. When I am not reading hair blogs I’m typically checking out Daily Worth, Get Rich Slowly and I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
Here is some consumer advice.

Don’t throw it away just yet. If it’s broke- maybe you can fix it. I am not a fan of the ever popular kinky-curly knot today shampoo/conditioner. I bought a set a while back and have been trying to get rid of it for ages. I finally found a solution for that conditioner. It has done nothing for me in the shower but since it’s a leave-in I decided to add it to my usual spray bottle of water/ olive oil. It actually makes a great detangling/ moisturizing spray! Try using products in different combinations and ways. Don’t confine yourself to the directions on the bottle. This is not a pharmacy prescription.

2)Use products for household chores/ other purposes:
Did you know shampoo can help lift grease stains from clothes? Or that conditioner makes a great shaving cream? (as good as the real thing, if not better). Just because you’ve gone sulphate/ silicone free doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy those products in other ways. Most things have more than one purpose.

3)Stretch your products:
Add olive oil to a a hair product that needs a moisture boost. Add water to products that are too thick. Make them last. If you use Dr.Bronner’s Castille Soap, for example, note on the bottle it says that it  can be diluted.

4)Use baby shampoo. Sulphate-free products like Shea Moisture get expensive. Using tip#3 and adding a little oil to a gentler product like baby shampoo may be the next best thing.

5) Comparison shop. Before trying a new product, check its reviews for gosh sakes! It seems obvious but before I learnt about natural hair I just bought what sounded good on the label. If your friend uses a product then you can ask to try hers before you buy a ten dollar bottle for yourself. Shop around for low prices and check the clearance aisle at your local Target. Lastly, remember to check the quantity of a product. If you have two similar products check the price per ounce. Is it worth it to save that dollar on the 8 oz. jar when the 12 oz. jar of a similar product is a dollar more?

6) Make your own: calculate- is it cheaper to buy groceries and make your product or buy the product itself? Example: $20.00 worth of groceries will be enough to make 4-6 times one Diva Smooth bottle (it’s called a caramel treatment. YouTube it) and still have some ingredients like grapeseed oil left over. However is it cheaper to buy and boil flaxseed or just get a tub of ecostyler gel? (I have never tried to do either so I couldn’t tell you) l guarantee there is a kitchen recipe or homemade alternative to almost anything you want to put in your hair. Just ask or even Mr. Google. Then compare the cost of buying vs. making. You can check the prices of groceries on many store websites like Usually these recipes can be made rather quickly.

Hope I helped, guys. Here is a pic of my hair, nicely slicked back after spritzing with the kinky- curly mix.


I will be updating this post, adding helpful links for these guidelines later today so stay tuned.


Mini Twists: The dramatic conclusion

A long overdue update:

After I created my mini-twist look I realised that, though they looked great they just weren’t- well- “mini” enough. I then decided to divide each of my twists into their two strands and retwist those so the twists were half their original size. They still weren’t as small as some others I have seen but they were respectable. Hell- They looked awesome- yeah I said it! My boyfriend walked in on me twisting and smirked “You look reeeeaaaalll Caribbean right now.” I thanked him for the compliment and reminded him that he had dreads. (Although here I think that just makes you look like a DC local.) All in all, it took about three hours to create those smaller twists. They looked like this…

…that is until they started to frizz up. I washed them once and felt like the shampoo and conditioner were not getting enough direct contact with my scalp to clean it thoroughly. My scalp felt flaky and itchy much like it does when I don’t wash for more than a week and a half AND my top twists still frizzed up so about 2 days later I had to redo them. I kept them for probably another 5 days after that. The times I’m giving are estimates but all in all the whole experiment lasted just over two weeks.

I did LOVE the look though. I even did a photo shoot with my photographer friend Michael while wearing this look (pictured above). I liked having long hair that I could fling about- hair that sleekly framed my face, hair I could manipulate with ease. I forgot what that looked like and I did get lots of compliments. The other cool thing was that I could put my hair in new styles. Creating a false side-fringe, for example, is a lot easier to control with twists than with single, wispy strands or untamed curls. (More on that in another post) and most importantly, my hair was just so controllable! As my hair has grown, I haven’t been able to roll out of bed and wear it as is. As much as I miss that, I am not sure I want to sacrifice the length I am gaining for it. With the twists I could just roll out of bed and go.

The twists were fairly easy to take out. There were a few problem strands where I must not have parted as carefully and some twists were so small I missed removing them completely (That is until I ran my comb through and snagged on them- OUCH!) For about two days after I walked around with my hair in a mini twist-out. Here’s a picture.

I do want to try this look again. I will try to keep it longer by:

  1. putting it on freshly washed hair so I don’t wash as soon
  2. wrapping my twists every night like I would a relaxer (I’m lazy but whenever I did it it made a huge difference!)
  3. washing with a braid cylinder instead of a stocking (has anyone tried this?)
  4. trying a dry shampoo to avoid washing as much. (If I can find a good one and not have my twists look all powdery).

Now I’m onto Naptural85’s Beach Wave look. I miss the twists but they will be back.


Daria and Angela

For more amazing photography check out mac13 on flickr.

Mini (well kinda) twists part 2…

Note: This was originally posted on 24 March 2012 to a different section of my wordpress. I apologize for not correcting this error sooner. The conclusion of this three part series is coming today.


After a one day hiatus I finished the second half of my head on Thursday. Turned out pretty well I must say.

I had a little more trouble with the back as anticipated. Since I hadn’t done this style immediately after a wash my scalp was starting to get itchy and not so nice within days so I followed Naptural85’s (I love this girl more and more every day) advice and washed my hair with an old stocking cap on, letting the shampoo and conditioner soak through. It worked fairly well. I may also try a modified version of the technique: washing with a braid cylinder, since the stocking cap was good but not perfect. I got a little frizz as you can see here.

20120324-182924.jpg and a lot of shrinkage.


The strands that were particularly fuzzy wuzzy got a quick re-twisting with my Shea moisture gel. I waited for them to dry somewhat first so the twists would hold better. That seems like a small price to pay when I consider the alternative: washing my open hair and retwisting from scratch.

To dry my hair, I mostly used my warm, high diffuser but those twists hold a lot of water and get pretty heavy so I very gently- so as not to cause frizz- squeezed ( not rubbed!) sections of my hair with an old, cotton pillow case.

As for shrinkage, I wrapped my twists around my head like I would a relaxer to stretch my hair. That helped somewhat but I was not completely satisfied so I just pulled it down into a tight, low ponytail so the ends of my hair will have a nice bounce and curl from the washing but the top should be stretched enough to give me the length I want.

So far so good! Til next time!