Wednesday 17th April 2024

Curly hair: how much does it really need to cost?

Curly Hair

It is an old adage that goes, as so many know, ‘the grass is always greener on the other side.’ And so, I had been trying to tell myself this over and over again, as my horrible unruly mop of hair haunted me throughout the most difficult phases of my childhood. It was always sticking up – never, ever staying down. People would always tell me how ‘lucky’ I was (my grandmother even told me that I would be able to save money, as I wouldn’t ‘need’ a perm). I gritted my teeth throughout these ‘compliments’ in almost the same way as when bullies my own age taunted me for my hair – one even calling me pube head.

Experiment a little to find the products that work for you and your hair type.

As I got older, I learned the miracle of GHDs. Although I still straighten my hair almost – dare I say it – religiously, I have also started trying to save my hair from as much inevitable heat damage as possible by letting it dry naturally. Also, luckily for me, as my hair has grown longer, my curls have fallen, too which makes it easier to straighten – less heat damage, less time spent straightening, less electricity used.

Curly hair is also naturally far more brittle than its straight and wavy counterparts, so I always have to keep it really well conditioned with good quality conditioner which can be pricy! Here’s a quick round up of what I use to keep my hair (and wallet) in shape.

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I used to use Pantene, but lately I’ve discovered the great brand, Alberto Balsam. This costs just £1 for 350ml (or 28.6p per 100ml) which is a lot cheaper than other brands, and it works surprisingly well, with minimal frizz once the hair has dried – with naturally curly hair, there will just about always be frizz! I first heard about Alberto Balsam when it was suggested to me by my hairdresser, who described it as one of her best finds – I couldn’t agree more!


I generally tend to go for the mid-range conditioner, Aussie. Over the past few years their products have got progressively more expensive, so I tend to buy them when they’re on offer. Supermarkets and pharmacies regularly have deals like ‘3 for 2’, or ‘3 for £10’ on Aussie, so keep an eye out.

Heat Protection

Sometimes you can get conditioner with extra heat-protection built in, but I’ve never felt very comfortable with this, so I opt for separate sprays, instead. I have gone through a wide variety of different heat protection products in my time; I’ve tried TRESemmé, Aussie, Frizz Ease, and plethora of others. But, in the end, my favourite (and by far the cheapest) is ASDA basic protection.

It can be far too tempting to just splash out when it comes to hair products. But what happens if you don’t have the budget? My advice is not to despair – don’t take the price tag too seriously and experiment a little to find the products that work for you and your hair type. And, if all else fails, you have your trusty GHDs!

Maddy Sutherland

Maddy is a freelance illustrator who lives in Glasgow. She's recently graduated and is working hard to make ends meet. Self-employed? Read Maddy's experiences here.

  1. With you! I was bullied all through school for having curly hair. I was called “frizzbomb” and told my hair was ridiculous from 11-16. Obsessed with GHDs now. Thanks for this xx

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