If you’re anything like me, you find yourself in a constant state of jealousy over celebrities’ full heads of beautiful, healthy hair. We all know their beauty “secret:” they spend top dollar for extensions, blowouts, high-end products, and regular trims to get their locks looking perfect. It makes sense; they’re celebrities, after all. They don’t have to worry about silly things like paying rent or figuring out whether they consider gas or groceries more important this month. While their hair care routines make up only a fraction of their paychecks, we commoners would be flat broke if we did the same.
So, what are we peasants to do when we find our hair breaking, splitting, and knotting up beyond repair? Thankfully, there are some cheap (and some free!) solutions that can help. These little tricks probably aren’t as good as earning hundreds of millions of dollars and throwing thousands away on hair maintenance (Spoiler alert: They definitely aren’t—we would all rather be millionaires, let’s be honest), but they can save your ‘do and your bank account.
Trick No. 1: Braid or pull up your hair when you exercise or sleep to avoid tangles.
This trick is one of my personal trial-and-error discoveries. A few months ago, my hair was splitting and breaking considerably more than usual. The only thing I had changed up about my routine? Regular cardio exercises. As ridiculous as it sounds, my ponytail swinging back and forth during my workouts was causing it to tangle, meaning I was hacking at it with a comb every day (no exaggeration here: I actually broke a comb “Princess Diaries”-style). I was causing the hair breakage myself. The same thing can happen when you’re sleeping: If you sleep with your hair down, it can easily wrap around itself and become tangled. The harsh brushing or combing you have to do in order to lose the rat’s nest will inevitably cause your hair to break.
The solution I found was French braiding my hair during workouts and pulling it back into a bun at night. Both have worked wonders, and now I have far less breakage and virtually no tangles—ever.
How this saves money: When your hair tangles less, you’ll have no need for de-tangling products such as leave-in conditioner. Your strands will also stay intact, leaving them healthier for longer periods of time, potentially reducing the frequency of your visits to the salon.
Trick No. 2: Avoid brushing if possible.
Use a wide-tooth comb as much as you can. This is a personal trick that has worked wonders for me; I notice far less breakage from comb use than I do from brush use. I’ve gotten to the point where I now don’t even own a brush, and to be honest, I don’t miss it.
How this saves money: I don’t know about you, but when I used to own brushes, I needed to replace them constantly. They always ended up filling with my hair, losing bristles, or snapping off at the handle. Alternatively, I’ve had the same wide-tooth comb for at least five years, and I use it daily.
Trick No. 3: Use two or three different shampoos/conditioners and rotate.
I’ve noticed fuller, shinier, less-frizzy hair since coming across this trick, given to me by a stylist friend. Save money and your hair by purchasing two or three different brands of shampoo and conditioner pairs. Splurge a little by buying yourself one salon-brand shampoo/conditioner pair, but the other pair can be a reasonably-priced drug store brand (I currently have one pair of Paul Mitchell and one pair of Tresemme in my shower). Now rotate brands each time you wash.
I read up on this tip, and it may be beneficially partly because it “keeps your hair guessing,” and doesn’t allow your locks to grow accustomed to any one brand.
How this saves money: Instead of spending a hefty fee for one salon shampoo and conditioner and using it every wash, you’re doubling the lifespan of your salon products by only using them every other (or every third) time. Some people may feel uncomfortable with a drug store brand, but my cosmetologist friend said she uses this trick herself.
Trick No. 4: Try not to wash your hair daily.
I’ve heard from multiple sources that washing your hair daily can cause it to lose the ability to naturally produce its own oils, so not washing it as much can lead to healthier hair. So, of course, I tried the recommended “only wash two or three times a week.”
I’ll be honest: It did not work for me. I exercise five to six times a week, am regularly drenched in sweat, and simply can’t skip washing after a workout unless I want dandruff and unbearable itchiness. Sorry, experts; if I spend any time getting my heart rate up, I’m not skipping a wash session.
I am aware that, at least for my hair, regular washing can lead to less volume. The multiple-shampoo trick can help with this, but if you don’t get sweaty or oily on a daily basis, you may be able to skip a few days of shampooing. Try it out; if you feel like you can’t push three days without washing, start out by only skipping one day and working your way up.
How this saves money: You use your shampoo and conditioner less, meaning you buy them less often.
“Trick” No. 5: Avoid dye.
I used quotations on this piece of advice for a reason; it’s not a secret. We all know that dye is damaging to the hair. Like wearing sunscreen or buckling your seat belt, it’s one of those common knowledge tips that is easier said than done for some people. But the truth remains solid: dye causes the hair to be more brittle and dry, which leads to breakage and split ends much more quickly than natural hair. I bought into last year’s ombre trend, and I’d find strands of hair that were thick and brown at the top and thin, blonde, and splitting at the ends. No matter what “repairing serums” I used, I couldn’t reverse the damage I had done with the dye.
How this saves money: Dyeing costs money; sticking with your natural color doesn’t.
Disclaimer: I am not licensed to give you any advice on haircare. These tips were all either a) given to me by a professional, b) found during my own research on the subject, or c) something I discovered for myself through trial and error. So, basically, don’t sue me if any of the following don’t work for you. Instead, save your lawyer fees and give us some of your best advice @litdarling; we’re always open to new ideas!
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