Curly Hair Routine on a Budget | 5 Products to Try

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Affordable Curly Hair Routine Products

Hi there, all my curly hair sisters! Are any of you like me and feeling overwhelmed with all the curly hair do’s and don’ts? There is so much information on what type of products to use for naturally curly hair and the technique to use when applying it.

These articles are great and I give a lot of credit to these amazing women who put all that info together. But, at the end of the day, I just don’t have the time, energy, and finances to put into my locks as so many of these women do.

So this led me to a journey of my own. I wanted to seek a better way for my own personal hair care routine, one that wouldn’t leave me exhausted or financially strapped.

I am in no way a professional of anything, least of all hair. But, I do have naturally curly hair that I have been struggling with since childhood. Only recently have I decided to face my locks head-on and rather than loath them, embrace them.

I have compiled a list of budget curly
hair products. I hope you find this
helpful and I hope it can help lead to better hair days for you.

 

Let me know what you think. And
if you have found a product that works great, I’d love to know about it.

 

Over the past several weeks I used different products and have given a review of each one based on:

 

1) Cost

2) Hold

3) Feel

 

Is a Curly Cut Worth It?

Yes, a curly cut will work wonders for you.  Years and years ago I had a curly cut, and I received compliments all the time. My hair routine was so simple and easy. Then I thought, let me get a cut that works for straight and curly, and I started straightening my hair all the time. Because the fact is the cut wasn’t for my curls. 

I’ve been growing out my pixie for a couple of years, I figured I would get a good cut when I had some length. Then COVID-19 happened.

So I am eagerly waiting to get to a good hairdresser one that specializes in curly cuts. This may be a bit more expensive but I know it will be worth it.

The Problem With Curly Hair Routines

I found in my investigation that there are so many different routines for curly hair most of which take time and money. Of which, both things I run short on. 

For one thing, I’ve seen many different YouTube videos of women that just keep layering on so many different products.  All of which are costly too!

I understand if you need to add a hairspray or perhaps layer two products. But any more than that, I feel is excessive. I do not have the time to spend each morning applying so many different products, I’d rather sleep or spend it snuggling with my husband. 

There are also so many different techniques, do’s & don’ts on how to apply the products. My review here isn’t to explain any techniques but rather just to present different pros and cons of affordable curly hair products. If you have an application technique that works for you stick to it and be sure to share that technique in the comments below. (Please)

For the sake of consistency with this experiment, I used the same technique each day. And I tried to stick to the same style as well. I say tried because the one thing with curls is if they want to lay a certain way that day, you just gotta roll with it. 

So each day I started with a freshly washed canvas of curls. I would scrunch the product of choice into my roots then into my ends. This I would do right after my shower even before getting dressed. 

This picture shows my locks fully drenched before any products are added. 

Important do not let your start curls start to air dry before the product goes in. This is just setting you up for failure. Once I have sufficiently applied the product of choice (evenly coated throughout) I would blow dry my hair flipped upside down with a diffuser. 

SO IMPORTANT, do not skip having a diffuser ladies. This makes a world of difference and is really worth having. If you do not have one on your current blow dryer there are add on ones to purchase. It does not need to be fancy and expensive to work.

Here is the blow dryer that I switched to this past year. I really love how wide the diffuser is. 

But I believe you really can use any diffuser to maintain good results. 

What People Don't Know About Curly Hair

Am I right to say when you’re having a good curly hair day it’s the best feeling in the world? However, these days can be few and far between. All my curly hair sisters know this quite well.

You and your hair can start out as friends that day, and somewhere along the way your hair turns on you and you end up a hot mess by mid-afternoon. People that don’t have curly hair do not understand this situation we have. 

I’ve received so many compliments that I have the best hair and oh how they wished for curls rather than straight silky locks and I don’t know how good I’ve got it. 

Well, they don’t understand that if I’m having a good hair day, it took work, products, time, money, and just the right temperature and humidity outside to keep the locks from separating and turning into a frizz ball. 

Curly hair doesn’t just magically look good.  I wish there was a blanket product that would be good for all of us and would give us gorgeous curls and work every time.  It takes time to figure out what works for your hair and along the way you find out more about what doesn’t work for your hair. 

So, fortunately, I have spent time and money on this experiment so you don’t have to. I hope the reviews below will be helpful. I was really shy and didn’t want to post the front of my face. But the best view of the curls is straight on.  

Curly Hair Product Reviews

Ladies, embrace your curls. They are part of you and part of what makes you beautifully unique. This took me such a long time to accept. Show your locks some love. It is worth it and it doesn’t have to break the bank either. 

Below is just a few of the curly hair products I’ve used. I have provided pictures for each day and given my review of the pros and cons. I have found each product yields different results. And depending on what you want to achieve with your curls the product of choice would change. 

For example, some of these products cause the curls to clump together, others leave a softer fuller look. So these have diverse effects I have noticed. I am hoping this is helpful for you. And if you have a product that you enjoy, please let me know. My curls are always eager for additional help!

Blueberry Bliss Review

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The consistency is a very thick snot-like gel.  The smell is pleasant and very mild. If products have a heavy fragrance it causes me to get a headache.

 Even though this is a gel it does not leave my hair hard or crusty. My curls are left soft and clump together. Because it is so thick it makes it difficult to squeeze out of the bottle. If you have arthritis in your hands this may be difficult for you.

It does not spread very easily. It takes some work to spread it evenly throughout. And some of it stays behind on your hands so you have to wash it off with soap and water before touching your blow-dryer, or your blow dryer will get all sticky.

For the first day, I used just this product on my hair. The second day I combined it with Marc Anthony Lotion. I like to combine Blueberry Bliss Curls with another cheaper product since it’s on the steeper side. Granted there are way more expensive products out there. But since I’m always on a budget, I just feel a bit more frugal doing it this way.

I applied Curls Blueberry Bliss from the nap of my hair to the ends. I applied it with my hair flipped upside down, then I’d flip back upright and get any spots that I missed. I usually have a hard time getting the crown of my head while my hair is flipped upside down. So I like to just touch up there too. 

The second day I applied the same way but I used Marc Anthony Lotion on the hair closest to my scalp and underneath parts of my hair. Then applied the Curls Blueberry Bliss on the rest of my hair. I think the results were pretty similar. What do you think? 

Once my hair is dried the product is not sticky at all, and the feeling is soft with no product residue. 

Before I started this review this was my go-to product. I am now tied between this one and another one that you’ll see further down the page. 

Blueberry Bliss Curls gives you a great bang for your buck. And you can use this completely alone, which is great if you travel a lot because you can carry light with this.

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Fully Dried
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Fully Dried
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Combined W/ Marc Anthony Lotion

Summary - Curls Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly

I’ve decided to give this 4.5 Stars. If it was a little cheaper it would be a full 5 stars.  I like that you can use this alone to achieve great results and your hair looks the same hours later as when it was first styled. Let me know what your review is of this product.

Here's where I bought it:

My Overall Rating of This Product 4.5 / 5

4.5/5

Ouidad Heat & Humidity Review

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This is the most expensive product that I’ve tried with this experiment. I just wanted to show you ladies a comparison of budget-friendly products vs pricier ones. I would not consider this one budget-friendly but wanted to compare. 

This product is a gel. However, I find the consistency of it very thin & watery. I was excited that it specifically says heat & humidity. As curly hair gals know humidity is the death to our curls. 

Putting the product in my hair was very sleek and seemed to spread throughout very well. Half-way through my blow dry, I flipped my head upright to see how things were turning out and found my hair already getting frizzy. So I applied more of the product and finished my dry.  

It left my hair feeling very soft and light. The curls are not weighed down at all. Within an hour my curls started to separate and expand and I hadn’t even left the air-conditioned house yet. Before leaving the house I decided to put my hair up since my hair was just getting bigger and bigger.

I decided to give this one more try on a different day. I used double the product than I used the first day and I didn’t blow dry my hair thoroughly like I usually do. I partially blow-dried then left it damp to air dry the rest the way. See the picture below. 

This method worked. The next picture you see of my hair fully dried is much later the same day. I had spent the day moving someone, trying on different tops, and even taking a shower with my hair pulled back. Everything that ruins curls. But as you can see by the end of the day my curls are still intact for the most part. There is just a bit of frizz forming on the very top layer. You can see in the picture.

I do feel it’s worth mentioning. If you are someone with fine curly hair this may be good for you. As it is a very lightweight gel. 

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Ouidad
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Damp Hair
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Fully Dried
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Fully Dried

Summary - Ouidad Heat & Humidity

After using this product the first day, I was going to give it one star. I’m happy I tried it a second time and let my hair air dry. The results were much better. Given the cost of this product and the amount, I had to use I am rating it at 2.5 stars. It really didn’t yield much difference as its budget-friendly counterparts. 

Here’s where I bought it:

My Overall Rating of This Product:

2.5/5 Stars

 

2.5/5

Aunt Jackie's Curl La La Review

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Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La Defining Curl Custard. This one does have a stronger fragrance. It smells like a floral sweet smell. 

When I used it alone, I did develop a slight headache. When I combined it with Not Your Mother’s Curls I was okay. Perhaps because I used less of the Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La. Or maybe I was just having an off day. 

The texture is a thick dense custard. Lighter than gel but thicker than lotion. It spreads very easily throughout the hair. 

By itself, I was happy at first, but by the end of the day, my hair expanded more and more and I had to put it up. I feel like this product adds great support to your curl formation. My curls formed and clumped together, better than any of these other products.  

It just lacked the hold I needed for the entire day. As my hair continues to get frizzier and frizzier with these humid months. The pictures below are at the start of the day before leaving for work. As you can see my curls formed nicely and clumped together.

Next, I tried the Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La combined with Not Your Mother’s Curls – Curl Talk. And WOW was I happily surprised with the results. Both products by themselves don’t cut it for my curls but together they make an awesome duo. 

Not Your Mother’s Curls Curl Talk provides the hold I need from a gel and Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La provides the curl formation support that Curl Talk lacks. 

I will definitely use the duo together again! 

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Aunt Jackie's Curl La La Texture
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Aunt Jackie's Curl La La
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Aunt Jackie's Curl La La
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Combined W/ Not Your Mother's Curl Talk

Summary - Aunt Jackie's Curl La La

After the first day, I was going to give this 3 stars by itself, but after using it with the Curl Talk gel I am bumping it up to 4 stars. It would have had a higher star rating if I did not need to use it with another product for hold, and if the fragrance wasn’t so strong. The entire point of this is the best bang for your buck. So no matter how great your hair comes out if you need two products versus just one it takes out a star. But I am very happy with this product and it is super cheap. 

Here’s where I bought it:

My overall rating of Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La:

4/5 Stars

4/5

John Frieda Frizz Ease Curl Reviver Mousse

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This product surprised me a bit as I usually do not use mousse.

The consistency is a typical mousse, just what you would expect, foamy. It is not as sticky as some others that I’ve used. 

I feel like I had to use more of this product to get an even spread throughout my hair. About two and a half handfuls. See the picture below that is just one handful of the product.

I tried this two days in a row. One day I only used the John Frieda Frizz Ease Curl Mousse and the next day I combined it with the Marc Anthony Curl Lotion as well.

I don’t think there is a huge difference in how my hair turned out using just the John Frieda Mousse vs using the Mousse and the Marc Anthony Lotion. I would say its okay to just use the Mousse as this will save time and money. 

I twirl and curl and touch my hair a lot throughout the day. So one thing that I liked about this is that the product doesn’t make your hands sticky.  

The first day I had put my hair up for my jog, afterward in the evening I took it down and my hair wasn’t as horrible as I was expecting it to be. It held the curl shape even being up for hours and getting sweaty from my jog. 

I would be happy & confident to use it again. Which is good because I’m stuck with it now anyway. 

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John Frieda Mousse Alone Fully Dried
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John Frieda Mousse & Marc Anthony Lotion Damp
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John Frieda Mousse & Marc Anthony Lotion Fully Dried

Summary - John Frieda Frizz Ease Curl Reviver Mousse

I think a fair rating is 3.5 stars. Overall I think this is a good everyday product on a budget. I think I would be inclined to stick with the Curls Blueberry Bliss or the Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La if I was getting dressed up for a special event, rather than this one. But because you can use this product alone and it is super cheap it warrants a 3.5-star review. 

Here’s where I bought it: 

My overall rating of John Frieda Frizz Ease Mousse:

3.5/5 Stars

3.5/5

SheaMoisture Smoothie Curl Enhancing Cream & SheaMoisture Leave-in Conditioner

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SheaMoisture Smoothie Curl Enhancing Cream comes in a tub and the texture is like a thick custard. 

There is a scent to this product, so if you are sensitive to fragrance I would not recommend this. As I am sensitive too, and it does bother me a bit. It smells like a very soft vanilla scent. 

Given how thick it is, it spreads evenly throughout the hair easily. 

The first day, I used just the SheaMoisture Smoothie Curl Enhancing Cream. The frizz control was good. However, it seemed to have weighed my hair down. It wasn’t as full as it usually gets. One thing you cannot tell from the picture is it seemed very shiny, to me almost greasy. But my husband said it didn’t look bad. When I touched my hair my hands felt like I just applied lotion. I don’t like it when products travel outside the realm of the hair.

The next day I used the SheaMoisture Leave-in Conditioner first then applied the Smoothie Curl Enhancing Cream. This was a lot of moisture in my hair as the Smoothie Cream alone is very moisturizing.

The curls fell nicely, however, since I was able to feel the product so much in my hair by the end of the day I pulled my hair back to keep it away from my face. 

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SheaMoiture Smoothie Curl Cream Fully Dried
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SheaMoiture Smoothie Curl Cream Fully Dried
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Smoothie Curl Cream & Leave in Conditioner

Summary - SheaMoisture Smoothie Curl Enhancing Cream & SheaMoisture Leave-in Conditioner

I have mixed feelings about this product. The cost is good and the hold is good. However, the main thing that bothers me is the feel. I hate the feeling of greasy products in my hair. Especially touching my face. That, combined with the fragrance which gives me a slight headache. I am rating this one at 3 stars. 

Here’s where I bought it:

My Overall Rating of This Product:

3/5 Stars

 

3/5

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