8 Totally Free Ways to Upgrade Your Hair Routine
It's easy to fall into the line of thinking that you have to invest a lot of money if you want expensive-looking hair—it's a pretty straightforward cause-and-effect, after all. But professional hairstylists will be the first to tell you that this isn't so. In fact, you likely have all the tools for salon-worthy strands hiding out in your medicine cabinet—or even your pantry, for that matter. (Coconut oil strikes again.)
So save that hard-earned cash for your next color refresh and stick with these pro-recommended tips for getting glossy, healthy tresses on the cheap. Spoiler: You probably haven't tried these tips before.
Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar ($9)
"If you have oily roots and flaky dandruff, apple cider vinegar applied directly to the scalp is really great for killing the bacteria that could possibly be causing these symptoms," notes Sheenon Olson, celeb hairstylist and creative director at ATMA Beauty in Miami. "Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse."
Nutiva Coconut Oil ($8)
"A combination of coconut oil and honey makes for a great at-home remedy to address dryness without shelling out big bucks," adds Olson. Give his DIY recipe a try: "Mix equal parts of coconut oil and honey. The amount should depend on the amount of hair you have but I would say you don't need more than 1/4 cup in total. Apply to dry hair, and leave it on for 20 minutes. Wash it out with shampoo and condition as usual."
Don't have honey on hand? Not to worry—you can also the coconut oil on its own, says Leo Izquierdo, owner of IGK salon in Miami. "Work a small amount through hair, using more on ends, and let it sit for a few minutes while you shower," he advises. "The steam will activate the mask and really allow it to penetrate deep into your hair. Wash out with a gentle shampoo and conditioner and your hair will be visibly softer and shinier."
Johnson's Baby Shampoo ($5)
"Most people use way too much shampoo, and shampoo too often," notes Corey Tuttle, Honey hairstylist, adding that a less expensive baby shampoo (which is ultra gentle on your strands) often works even better than the premium stuff. "Don't shampoo every day, and when you do wash your hair, try to use only a dime size amount. The same can be said for using conditioner—unless of course, you have double the amount of hair than most." (In that case, might we refer you back to our second tip?)
Kiehl's Creme de Corps ($30)
"If you're running low on products and don't have the cash to buy any, try using things you have around the house to give your hair a quick fix. You can use body lotion for so many things," says Daven Mayeda, a hairstylist with Honey Artists. "Putting it in as a grooming cream and let your hair air dry will calm down frizz and give separation. You can use it on dry hair as well to tame frizziness. It works great on curly hair to add definition when air drying!"
Goody Ouchless Ribbon Elastics ($11)
"A great styling tip that requires very little effort: Put your wet hair into two twisted buns and allow it to dry in the buns completely," Olson says. "This may take several hours if your hair is thick. But if you can be patient, the results will offer the perfect natural beach wave." Our bonus tip: Stick with hair elastics that won't leave a tell-tale dent.
Invisibobble Traceless Hair Ring ($8)
"You can save your hair from heat styling and get perfect piecey texture by braiding it overnight," notes Aaron Grenia, the owner of IGK salon in NYC. "The braids will give you that undone texture and perfect waves. Warm a small amount of coconut oil in your hands and apply to clean, air-dried hair. Part hair and work two pigtail braids on each side. Lightly add more coconut oil in the morning to separate and really showcase the texture."
Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ($1)
"Your hair will look shinier and bouncier if you remove all traces of styling products and conditioner every six weeks or so," says Tuttle. "Simply mix a tablespoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and work it into your hair. Rub it in well all along the hair strands, and then rinse thoroughly." Done and done.