September marks my 18th anniversary of having relaxer free hair.  My natural hair journey wasn’t some journey to reclaim my natural texture or to  be free of relaxers. My hair was making me hot. It was the summer of my freshman year in New Brunswick, NJ and 90+ degrees. I remember being on my roller blades skating around campus with sweat dripping down my face. I’m not sure what possessed me to stop, but I ended up in front of a barbershop on George Street.  A few minutes later, I found myself negotiating with the barber who refused to cut my hair. He said most women would pay top dollar for the length I had. I told him to cut it off and sell it to them.  I just wanted it off my head. Eventually he sat me down in his barber chair and I pointed to one his barber photos on the wall. About 20 minutes later, I walked out of the shop practically bald.  Once I got back on campus and entered the dining hall, I walked to the section I occupied on a daily basis, utensils and mouths dropped.  That cut was the first of two big chops I’ve had in the past 18 years.

Currently, my hair is cut into a neck length bob, an impulse move I made last Thanksgiving. It was my first hair cut in about 10 years.  I flip-flop between wearing roller sets and a wash and go. Although I don’t use a relaxer, I do my own coloring.  Experimenting with color is definitely one of my favorite hair pastimes. Right now, I have somewhat of a brown and blonde ombre color that I did with a box of Feria. Eventually, once Fall officially hits, I’m going back to a simple jet black.

My go-to hair products for the past couple of years have been pretty simple. Gone are the days of me being a product junkie. I can’t even begin to calculate how much money I used to spend on products. Every week there was something new I had to try.  Nowadays, you couldn’t pay me to try some of these over priced products that are on the market.  But I do have my favorites that are quite affordable.

Shampoo & Conditioners

Herbal Essence Hello Hydration– not only is it less than $3 a bottle, it leaves my hair soft and smells amazing. I use the conditioner as a co-wash, and shampoo about 2xs a month.

Giovanni Leave In This stuff is a godsend! Whether I’m doing a wash & go, or a blow out/roller set. It’s lightweight and doesn’t weigh my hair down. It runs about $7, sometimes cheaper.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – I use EVCO to cook, on my skin, as my oil pulling agent and on my hair. Coconut Oil prices vary, depending on size and brand. Typically I don’t pay more than $10 and it lasts for months.

Ulta Hair Smoothing Styling Serum Whenever I’m applying any type of heat to my hair, this is a must. It leaves my hair frizz free and smooth.  It’s the Ulta equivalent to the expensive Chi version. Whereas the Chi version is $14+, this is only $8.

 After years of trial and error, I tend to know what products work best on my  hair. Occasionally I may switch up, or raid my sister’s bathroom, but for the past couple of years these are in constant rotation.  I definitely don’t like breaking the bank when it comes to my hair, I’d rather spend money on shoes.

Clutchettes, what are your must have styling products?

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