By Christina of The Mane Objective
Whether your hair is relaxed, natural, tex-laxed, transitioning, heat styled, braided, weaved or wigged, we as women face an undeniable fact — hair care and products can be expensive. Some folks even have to write their hair into their budgets as its own line item, right behind rent, gas, car note and insurance. Even if you aren’t particularly a product junkie, there are still those staple products that your hair has to have in order to function. Maybe it’s a particular oil or a particular supplement.
Sometimes, we get a little tunnel-visioned in purchasing our staple products. I used to purchase some of my supplements only from nutrition stores because well, that seemed to be the logical place to find them. Truth be told, many staple products, supplements, and haircare items can be found in some pretty unconventional places, and save you some serious cash. Check out some of my staples that I’ve been able to find at a steal:
Who doesn’t love this stuff? Ok, I know there are some folks out there that aren’t necessarily a fan of this edible oil — but for the most part, this is a staple in plenty of people’s mix-ins, pre-poos, leave-ins and styling regimens. I purchased my first jar of virgin unrefined Coconut Oil from Whole Foods for $7.99 (their own 365 brand). I continued to purchase them there, and even got excited when it would go on sale for $6.99. I was never particularly excited about going to Whole Foods — the crowds were pretentious, everything seemed overpriced, and I damn sure couldn’t pronounce or categorize on the Food Plate (formerly pyramid) half of the stuff they sold there. The hot food bar was the truth, but hot meals and Coconut Oil wasn’t enough to keep me coming back.
To my great joy, Trader Joe’s began carrying Coconut Oil in recent months. Even better, I realized it was the virgin, unrefined kind. Better than that, their jar is 16oz, compared to Whole Food’s 14 oz. But the greatest news of all? Trader Joe’s carries the oil for $5.99 all day, every day. Sidebar: Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances purchase your Coconut Oil from a vitamin/health supplement store, or even from the health section of a grocery store. They charge nearly twice (sometimes three times!) as much for the same product that’s just a few aisles over (on the cooking aisle).
By now you’ve probably figured out that I’m a Trader Joe’s gal at heart. I mean really, who can deny the super friendly (I’ve NEVER had a bad customer service experience there…and I go at least twice a week) crew members, free food samples and coffee? Oh, and if you want to know how something tastes before you buy it… But I digress. In addition to the million and a half other wonderful reasons to go to Trader Joe’s, there is the absolute hands down best value I’ve ever seen on Aloe Vera Juice. Get ready for this. They sell A GALLON (that’s 128oz, folks) sized bottle of Aloe Botanicals Pure Aloe Vera Juice for $7.99. Forgive me for saying this, but that ish cray! I became so salty when I stumbled upon this, because I’m stuck working through a 32oz Lily of the Desert bottle that I paid $9 for at Vitamin Shoppe.
Whether you’re trying to get some internal inflammation in check, show your joints some love, or test the theory that MSM extends the growth phase of the hair cycle, paying for the pills can definitely start to add up. I first began purchasing my 1,000mg MSM capsules from Vitamin Shoppe (their own brand), to the tune of $10 for a 100 capsule bottle. Since I take two a day, a bottle from Vitamin Shoppe would last me roughly a month and a half. On one of my random excursions to Trader Joe’s, I found myself browsing through their supplements. Well whadda ya know? They sell 120 capsules of 1,000mg MSM for $4.99. More pill for half the price? Yes, I’ll take that.
For so long, I would purchase my biotin (1,000mcg, 90–100 count bottle) from Vitamin Shoppe and sometimes Whole Foods. Boy, did my pockets pay for that. I typically purchased the Country Life brand, which ran me $8 to $10 depending upon where I went. But hey, did you know that Target sells biotin? No lie. Next time you’re scooping up some Shea Moisture, mosey on over to the vitamin and supplement aisle. They carry biotin in their own Up & Up brand — 1,000mcg, 100 tablets for $2.49. And just in case you were wondering, it works just as good as the stuff I paid triple the price for.
You can mix them in your oatmeal, or make a pretty nifty gel (a’la Naptural85). Either way you work these little brown wonders, they don’t have to cost a fortune. Most pre-packaged flax seeds cost upwards of $5 for less than a pound. Although a few seeds go a long way (and you can re-use them to make more gel), what’s the harm in saving a few bucks? If you’re lucky enough to have a Sprouts Farmer’s Market nearby, check out their bulk bins.They carry flax seeds for $1.19/lb (a pound will last you forever), and for $0.89 or $0.99/lb when on sale. Alternatively, if you have a WinCo Foods in your area, they carry flax seeds for around $0.80/lb. Either way, you can’t lose! Say goodbye to pre-packaged and health supplement store containers…bulk is where it’s at!
I am going to preface this by saying, I hate WalMart. I absolutely detest the store. I’m sure in different parts of the country, WalMart is what’s hot in the streets — but for me, in LA? A trip to WalMart is a true test of my spiritual growth. Even with all that being said, there is one thing I cannot deny: WalMart is the truth when it comes to satin pillowcases. Before purchasing my beloved fuchsia pillowcase, I scoped out the prices at Sally’s — $11. Not bad, but I felt deep down inside that I could do better. Lo and behold, I found one of my best investments in the hair section of the WalMart on Crenshaw and King (LA folks know which one I’m talking about!). Not only was it the same brand, but it was in a super cute color and only cost me $7 and some change. Not saying I’d become a regular…but I can’t deny that WalMart one-upped Target and Sally’s on this one.
What are some staples that you find at a steal of a price? Share!