-by Melanie Mercedes-

The Top 10 Best Affordable Curly Hair Products in 2020

2 years ago, March 2018 I got my last relaxer. I had tried for 2 years prior to go natural and in all honesty, it wasn’t working for me. All of the curly influencers had giant, soft curls, they looked nothing like mine. They could use maybe just 2 quartered sized drops of shampoo and a nice squirt of conditioner. I couldn’t. They picked out their hair to make it bigger, I couldn’t get mine to behave. They split their hair in two halves and did the prayer hands method. I COULD NOT ONLY HAVE 2 SECTIONS. So I went back to all I knew; relaxed hair. I REGRETTED IT so much! I didn’t want to go back to relaxed hair, I was tired of rollers, hair dryers, blow dryers, flat irons. Tired of smelling burnt hair en el salon. My fiancé asked me out of mere curiosity; “if we have a daughter, are you going to relax her hair too?” He also has curly hair and loved the idea of natural hair as well as the idea of having a little curly haired daughter. I instantly thought of everything I went through with my hair, hating it, wishing I had “good hair”, crying in front of the mirror asking God why He would give me this hair if He knew I would struggle so much. “No.” I said, I want my daughter to learn to love who she is and how she was born. How can I teach a young girl to love herself when I hated a huge piece of myself? That was the moment I never turned back. I slowly stopped applying heat to my hair, first the hair fryer, then the flat iron. I spent the whole summer with hair in deep conditioner, and perm rods. Then, I big chopped….to my shoulders and began to transition.

I learned so much about my hair and this time on the natural train was so much more different than the first time and I can confidently said it was because I learned to use the *right products*. What works for others, will not work for all, but may work for some. As I was discovering my hair and what worked for me, I also wanted to be sure that I didn’t break the bank or use something that may hurt my hair (hello Deva scandal!) So here is my list of some affordable + great products!! Feel free to comment below and share yours.

Shampoo & Conditioner

This is where it began for me. I learned that my hair was dry and while some curlies say silicone and sulfates show no visible damage to their hair, eliminating them from my regimen showed visible signs of improvement. Sulfates are cleaning agents that can be found in shampoos and face washes but also in laundry and dish detergents. Tough on dirt, tough on your hair, it can be overly stripping and drying. Silicones are a material that can be found in conditioners, body washes but also in plastic. It coats your hair but dependent upon your hair porosity (more on that later) this could be stopping moisture (Aka AQUA) from getting into your hair. Not using these two ingredients has shown a significant cambio in my curls. Here are some great options:

Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk is gaining popularity amongst curly influencers but it was always popular to me. It is one of my favorites and I find myself going back to these time and time again. No sulfate surfactants, silicones, alcohol (which can also be drying if they’re the bad kind), dyes, parabens, or phthalates. They are also cruelty free and around $10 depending on where you get it. Amazon has it as a bundle here.

This one is fairly new to my collection and it hasn’t let me down so far. It smells amazing!! (HELLO PINEAPPLE) and is formulated without silicone, sulfates and is 100% vegan and cruelty free. It can also be cruelty free on your pocket because through Pacifica Beauty’s amazon page, the shampoo is on sale for a limited time at $4.97 (regularly $10.99) I suggest you stock up.

Masks & Deep Conditioners

One thing that helped to bring my hair back to its big, curly glory was giving it major aid in whatever it was specifically asking for. Feeling lack of moisture? Mask with a moisture packed deep conditioner. Feeling lack of strength, definition & bounce? Mask with a protein rich deep conditioner. Your hair needs a balance of moisture and protein, too much of one thing can cause damage. This is where hair porosity comes in, what may work for some, may not work for all, especially if you aren’t using it in the way your hair responds. Long story short, high porosity hair is porous, lots of pores (yes, like skin) think of a sponge. While moisture, water and oils are easily absorbed, they are easily lost. Low porosity hair has tighter or less pores, making it difficult to get moisture in. I have discovered that I have low porosity hair and masking or deep conditioning with a heat cap works best for me as the heat causes the pores in the hair strand to expand, allowing for moisture. Here are my faves for when I need moisture and when I need protein.

Shea Moisture is the perfect example of things working for others but not me. It even works for my fiancé and my brother. The only product line that works wonders for my hair is the Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate & Repair Protein Power Treatment (say that 5 times fast). It is the perfect balance of hydration and protein for my hair. When my curls are limp and need a tiny bit more support, I use the multi-action leave-in. Some may find themselves a little protein sensitive (hair does not react well to protein) and may need to shop around before selecting the perfect protein mask for them. It is under $15 wherever you buy your Shea Moisture products. As of today, it is $13.99 on amazon. You may find it cheaper in Target, if your Target carries it.

I have shopped and shopped and bought and returned and bought and returned a ton of deep conditioners looking for something that would add pure moisture. Many hydrating masks had hidden protein and I surely didn’t want a protein overload. That is when I met the Not Your Mother’s Natural line and their Matcha Green Tea & Wild Apple Blossom butter masque. It is thick and creamy and smells amazing while giving my hair the moisture it needs. Also comes in a shampoo and conditioner though I haven’t tried it yet. (and I will be). You can buy the masque, shampoo and conditioner on their website (it is currently sold out) their amazon page or at an Ulta near you.


Last, but certainly not least, as a matter of fact, it should be the MOST. Is WATER, WATER, WATER. Nothing in this world can replace water. We need it, our hair needs it. Drink it, use it, cherish it. Get yourself a spray bottle and refresh your curls for free.99. Use it to lock in moisture during your styling time (seriously style wet or damp NOT DRY, depending of course on your hair porosity and the product being used). Here is my favorite water bottle and my favorite microfiber towel to use on my hair cause believe it or not, even your towel could be prohibiting you from retaining the moisture you need. 



Let’s spread the love, comment below some of your holy grail products or just share this post with a curly that you love.

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