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4 Popular Natural Hair Products and Their Cheaper Yet Effective Substitutes

Avatar • Sep 19, 2014

The first thing I look at when considering a hair product is the ingredients label of course. You can never really know all the ins and out that went into producing a product but the ingredients label by far is a great clue. There are many products that many naturals have found and love but they do sometimes have a price label that is not necessarily attractive.

Today, I am narrowing in on some of these popular products and giving you some substitutes that may work just as well based on their ingredients.  Of course if you prefer the more expensive product and can afford to purchase it.….…..let this be a list to stoke the embers of your inner PJ, try one of the substitutes, and report back on how well it worked for you!

1. Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding

miss jessies curly pudding

What it is :  A water based moisturizer. Now I know some people do give a serious eye roll to the Miss Jessie’s range because of the extensive use of mineral oil. However, for some naturals, mineral oil actually does work well and this product marketed as a styling cream remains a popular must try or must buy in a sale product.

Hardest working Ingredients in the product: Water, mineral oil and glycerin — There are additional oils, proteins and even some jojoba thrown in to the mix but these top 3 ingredients are the key when looking for alternative products

What is the damage: $20 for 8oz

Substitute products :  Hawaiian Silky Cream Moisturizing Curl Activator  or Lusters Pink Oil Moisturizer Hair lotion

hawaiian-silky lusters pink hair oil moisturizer

Rationale for the substitutes: It is not easy to find mineral oil containing products! I had to really look back into my relaxer days over 10 years ago to come up with something that may have similar ingredients and consistency. Hawaiian Silky is the closest match with all 3 key ingredients in Miss Jessies also in this product. Lusters Pink Lotion gets a mention here because it is a mineral oil based moisturizer but it is less likely to be a good match as it lacks the glycerin and may therefore be oilier.

Substitute Cost: Hawaiian Silky — $10 for 16oz (quarter of the price for Miss Jessies!) and Lusters Pink Lotion — $10 for 8oz (half the price)

2. Kinky Curly Curling Custard Gel

KINKY_CURLY_CURLING_CUSTARD

What it is :  A water  and aloe vera based gel. KCCC is a very popular product and a staple for some naturals. However, it is not cheap at all especially if you live outside of USA e.g in UK where the product is sold at double the US price.

Hardest working Ingredients in the product: Water, aloe vera — ignore the extracts, these two ingredients are the hardest workers!

What is the damage: $20 for 8oz

Substitute products : Fruit of the earth aloe vera gel or Lily of the desert aloe gelly

aloe vera gel

Rationale for the substitutes:  As KCCC is an aloe vera based gel, you can choose to buy pure aloe vera gel or even buy an aloe plant and use the gel directly. However lack of preservatives will mean that you will need to quickly use your stock or be prepared to throw it out. The substitutes were selected because they are commercial aloe vera gels with a high amount of aloe vera along with some preservatives and thickeners that will help them have a longer shelf life and have an easy to use consistency.

Substitute Cost: Fruit of the earth aloe gel — $8 for 12 oz , Lily of the desert aloe gel — $11 for $12oz (Both half the price of KCCC)

 

3. Aveda Damage Remedy

Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Conditioner

What it is :  A pretty standard conditioner with emollients, silicones and  behentrimonium chloride as a surfactant. This product is interesting to me because although silicones are often villified, Aveda damage remedy is usually reviewed quite positively.

Hardest working Ingredients in the product: Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearalkonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Chloride

What is the damage: $40 for 7oz

Substitute products : Nexxus Humectress or Sabino Stabilizing conditioner

nexxus humectress

 

sabino conditioner

 

Rationale for the substitutes:  Both of the substitutes were selected as they contain all of the listed hard-working ingredients in the Aveda product. This does not mean that they will necessary work in the same way; as each conditioner will have its own formulation with the percentages of the ingredients varying. However, they serve as good substitutes because they share many overlapping ingredients

Substitute Cost: Nexxus Humectress — $8 for 5oz (Side note: There is a new version of this conditioner which has different ingredients, the 5oz bottle is the one with the overlapping ingredients), Sabino Stabilizing conditioner — $16 for 12oz (Both around a quarter the price for Aveda)

4. Kinky Curly Knot Today

kinky-curly knot today

What it is :  A water based conditioner that can be used as a leave in.  KCKT is a staple for some naturals. There are many who do not use it as conditioner but as a leave in and can vouch for the fact that a little goes a long way so despite the price, the product could last long. However there are still cheaper substitutes!

Hardest working Ingredients in the product: Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate

What is the damage: $16 for 8oz

Substitute products : Tigi Bed Head Moisture Maniac Moisturizing Conditioner or Alba Botanica Leave in Conditioner

Tigi bed head conditioner

 

Rationale for the substitutes:  Of the two substitutes, Tigi Bed Head is probably most similar to KCKT ingredient wise. Alba Botanica has a little more oil which may make it actually more/less appealing depending on where you lie in the coconut oil-loving spectrum. However, it is still on the substitute list as it has cetearyl alcohol and behentrimonium methosulfate as well as a similar consistency to KCKT

Substitute Cost: Tigi Bed Head Moisture Maniac Moisturizing Conditioner  — $25 for 25oz or Alba Botanica Leave in Conditioner $8 for 7 oz (Both about half the price)

What are some of your go-to products that hold their own next to the more expensive brands?

 

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About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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A Simple Thing
6 years ago

Wish I’d seen this before I’d splurged on both the KCKT and KCCC but this will definitely serve me in good stead when they run out! 🙂

JoJo
JoJo
6 years ago

The Kinky Curly Curling Custard takes FOREVER to dry. Other than being completely organic, the product is oc ever rated. & the price of Miss Jessie’s, along with Carol’s daughter, CURLS,ORS curls unleashed, and many others is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous. It should never cost you $100 to buy a complete line of products.

naturally Tee
naturally Tee
6 years ago

wonder where your prices are from I use the KCKT and it’s only $12 at walgrens

TAC
TAC
6 years ago
Reply to  naturally Tee

JUST got it for $10 yesterday at Target…

O
O
6 years ago
Reply to  naturally Tee

She probably found them by just putting the product names into that well-known search engine.

Prices for items online differ from prices for items in stores. Sometimes they are cheaper and sometimes they are more expensive.

Love
Love
6 years ago

Thanks for this!!!

Darlyn
Darlyn
6 years ago

Pink oil lotion does nothing for my hair. Pure Aloe Vera gel and juice irritates my scalp. Not sure if I have a need for any of the other products mentioned.

Chanda
Chanda
6 years ago
Reply to  Darlyn

Pink Oil lotion does nothing for me either. Maybe when I was relaxed it worked but now it feels like melted plastic between my palms and in my hair.

cherishbomb
6 years ago

I don’t think this is a good basis of comparison. All of the products are compared based on ingredients alone without regard to effectiveness. In other words, they may have the same ingredients, but that doesn’t necessarily make them great replacements if they don’t work just as well. There was nothing in this article to indicate the author even tried all of these products and compared overall effectiveness. It reads as guess work based solely on top three ingredients.

Sandi
Sandi
6 years ago
Reply to  cherishbomb

I agree with @cherishbomb. We need to know these products work the same because we are interested in results, not just their ingredients.

I would love to see another article that compares efficacy of products, like this one, but describes the experience of using the product, hold, slip, reaction to humidity..etc

O
O
6 years ago
Reply to  cherishbomb

The author cannot really tell you if the products will work the same as everyones hair is different.

In regards to the cheaper products e.g. aloe vera there is no harm in trying them as they aren’t going break the bank.

Sylv
Sylv
6 years ago
Reply to  cherishbomb

I agree! I have used both KCKT and Moisture Maniac. Although they may have the same or similar ingredients, they do not compare when actually applied to “my” hair. KCKT detangles and moisturizes “my” hair like a dream. Moisture Maniac moisturizes my hair but I have to add additional products to help detangle.

Jc
Jc
6 years ago
Reply to  cherishbomb

Cherishbomb, I have repeatedly mentioned that you do have to try a product to see if it works but the first step is to actually decide what product to try. This is the purpose of the article.

The best method is always to start looking at ingredients and learning which ones work for your hair.

Also the top 5 ingredients generally make up 80–90% of the product and are therefore usually the key working ingredients in the product.

monica
monica
6 years ago

Great aricle! Can you try finding a substitute for qhemet biologics aethopika hydrate & twist butter? They seem to always be out of stock and can be bit pricey.

3rdXstheCharm
3rdXstheCharm
6 years ago

You can’t just compare ingredients when comparing products. The ratio of the ingredients will determine the consistency of the products. For instance, I’ve used Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding, which is a styler by the way, not a moisturizer. I’ve also used the Hawaiian Silky and those two products do NOT do the same thing. Curly Pudding has hold & Hawaiian Silky does not. People seem to be running out of articles to write about natural hair so they post these horribly inaccurate blog posts. Point is, do your own research.

LBell
LBell
6 years ago

I have used both AVG and KCCC and I’m sorry, but the former can’t hold a candle to the latter. KCCC is absolutely a staple for me and it’s worth every penny.

Some of the same people who gripe about how expensive quality hair products are will turn around and spend as much or more on takeout in a week…#imjustsayin

Mahogany
Mahogany
6 years ago
Reply to  LBell

I so agree with you. I love KCKT and it is actually affordable.

Lashanda
Lashanda
4 years ago
Reply to  LBell

they will spend more on FOOD…YEAH I MOST CERTAINLY WOULD…

luminous
luminous
6 years ago

KCKT is a staple for me. I use it as a base for my kimmaytube recipe leave in. I can not use the substitutes listed because they both have glycerin which I avoid because it causes my twist-out to frizz. Also, my skin is sensitive to coconut oil, so I avoid it in leave in products. Nonetheless, interesting approach. That’s probably why I love the Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter. They have similar key ingredients. However, the latter is more expensive…

Zion Flippin
Zion Flippin
6 years ago
Reply to  luminous

Which KCKT product do you use?

luminous
luminous
6 years ago
Reply to  Zion Flippin

KCKT = Kinky Curly Knot Today. It is a leave-in conditioner and detangler.

Salimah
Salimah
6 years ago
Reply to  luminous

I love KCKT in my kimmaytube leave in. I tried the recipe with Giovanni’s direct leave in and it was watery. Thank you.

mnakime
mnakime
5 years ago
Reply to  luminous

Do you mind sharing that leave in recipe please? thanks

Jas
Jas
6 years ago

I don’t think the substitutes for a couple of these products would produce the same results. Pink lotion would not give the same results as Miss Jessie’s curly pudding. Or even Fruit of the Earth aloe vera gel compared to Kinky Curly custard. There’s other ingredients in the more expensive product that makes it perform the way that it does. The cheaper counterpart may lack those ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, the cheaper substitutes are great products but I don’t think the comparison was apples to apples.

Jc
Jc
6 years ago
Reply to  Jas

Actually for me, the aloe vera gel is way better than kinky curly in terms of hold and shine. However, it does not mean it will be the best for everyone.…hair is different. I don’t think you can ever say the subsitute won’T work if you don’t try it.

toyabg
6 years ago

If I can buy black owned products I do. I love shea moisture line. That kinky curly did wonders for my twa years ago. We have to get a monopoly on black hair care products. Blacks must support other blacks.

Talia
Talia
6 years ago

I am not a fan of Kinky Curl’s curl custard. It just makes my hair way too crunchy and even feels like it dries it out. I prefer Goddess Curls, which goes on way lighter and produces just as good curls. Not to mention it’s cheaper!

AlllSmiless
AlllSmiless
6 years ago

This is nooot a good article. I will speak on the products I’m familiar with. Hawaiian silky and pink lotion will give you absolutely NO hold! Hawaiian silky is a great moisturizer because it has lots of glycerin. Pink lotion on the other hand is a sealant it’s like putting oil on your hair. I would not recommend using this product unless it’s to seal. I feel like a better substitute for miss jessies might be the blue magic leave in Conditioners. African export has a review of it on TV. Next, aloe Vera gel will not give you the… Read more »

Jc
Jc
6 years ago
Reply to  AlllSmiless

I appreciate your critique AllSmiles, I think you have good points. I do disagree with you corrections being necessary as the products are my suggestions with a rationale. I think your products can be added for those who read the comments as additional alternatives as you make good arguments as to why your options may work.

KrissyGS
6 years ago

I dont use any of these products I keep it simple because I dont want to spend so much I am always on a budget. When I choose products I do want results as well as quantity for my money. For the past 5 months I have been using johnsons baby conditioner no more tangles (green bottle) as aleave in. It mixes well with ecostyler gel and all my products
Dont see me changing anytime soon.

Uli
Uli
6 years ago

Doesn’t hawaiian silky have chemicals in it?

Taryn
Taryn
6 years ago

Actually, KCKT is closer to $11 or $12 for 8oz at target and it’s totally worth it for the results in my opinion

CarMa
CarMa
6 years ago

Thanks for the info as to where to get the more expensive products for a more reasonable cost! Any suggestions for products when transitioning from Locs when growing them out? Look for the best way to loosen them for the comb out!

Brittany
Brittany
6 years ago

Luster’s pink lotion was all my mom every used on my hair as a child and I’ve never seen my hair in better shape. I’ve recently gone back to it now that I’m at the 14 month mark in my transitioning.

Chel
Chel
6 years ago

Many of you have already said it, but I will reiterate: different products work differently on different hair. I cannot use AVG as a substitute for KCCC. However, I use AVG for my edges (gel + scarf to tie them down) and it works great! I don’t use KCCC at all anymore. I get the same results from La Bella- Lots of Curls ($2). You just have to try out different products to see what works for you. I plan to try some of the suggestions here because they are good cheap options. I consider that better than “practicing” with… Read more »

mangomadness
mangomadness
4 years ago

Alba Botanica Leave-In Conditioner is great for my dense, 4b/c hair. It leads to super soft, flexible hair and easy-to-seperate, defined sets (braid-outs, twist-n-curls, etc.). I’ve been using it for 4 years or so and I will as long as it’s made. I get it from Vitacost & iHerb.

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