It wasn’t until I was in college that I started using salon quality hair products. As college students, we try to be as cheap as possible because we have no money. Once I tried higher quality products, there was no turning back. My hair was actually growing and had never been healthier. For me, the extra dollars spent on better products was worth it because I looked better which made me feel better. Before you read my current favorites, I will say that my hair is in between fine and normal. Although my hair is on the thinner side, I have a lot of hair. My hair also has some small wave to it. Here are some of my current favorites:
I am still currently training my hair to go longer in between washes. My hair used to be quite oily. I would wash my hair every morning and by the evening it would be greasy and look like I haven’t washed it in a few days. This could’ve been because I was using cheap shampoo. I switched to Kenra Professional Color Maintenance Shampoo in 2017 and always find myself going back to this when I try out a different shampoo. This shampoo is currently on sale at Ulta for $25 online! Having color treated hair, I noticed this shampoo helps my color last longer which helps save money in the long run from visiting the hair salon as often.
My natural hair is a very dark brown, almost black color. Since I have blonde highlights, my hair stylist suggested using a purple shampoo once a week to help with any brassiness. I did some research and asked my blonde friends what purple shampoo they use or really like. I decided to try out Amika’s Bust Your Brass Blonde Purple Shampoo for $20 at Sephora. I’m still on my first bottle, but I have no complaints. It has helped keep the brassiness out of my highlights and I even think it helps with my oily roots. I will definitely be purchasing this again once it runs out. Plus, the name of this shampoo is cute! Another purple shampoo that I have tried out is the Kenra Professional Brightening Shampoo. This shampoo is also on sale for $25 online only at Ulta. This still helps keep the brassy tones out of my hair, but not as well as Amika.
As for conditioner, my favorite is the Kenra Professional Color Maintenance Conditioner. This is on sale at Ulta for $25 online for the larger size. Whether I use Kenra or Amika shampoo, I always use this conditioner. It leaves my hair silky smooth and doesn’t feel like a leave-in conditioner is necessary. I always leave my conditioner in for a few minutes. During this time, I’ll typically wash my body or shave my legs.
Even though my conditioner leaves my hair smooth and tangle free, I still like to use a leave-in conditioner for the other benefits like heat protectant, shine, and strength. I am currently using Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray. I’ve really been liking this leave-in because it is super lightweight, and it doesn’t leave my roots oily. I got this one from Ulta for $29. My other go to leave-in conditioner is the Keracolor Purify Plus Lite. I love this leave-in for how lightweight it is. My hair naturally doesn’t have much volume to it and this product helps give it a little. Plus, this one locks in color and can be used on “2nd day hair” to help refresh and restyle. This product is a little cheaper than the Living Proof. It is at Ulta for $20. I prefer the leave-in sprays over creams because they don’t weigh down my hair as much.
I like to keep my hair routine fairly simple. Since I have pretty oily roots, I always stayed away from hair oils because I didn’t want to add any more oil to my hair. Last year I decided to try a hair oil because my ends were starting to look a little dry. Once my hair is damp, or on second- or third-day hair, I add a dime size of Moroccanoil Treatment. I bought the mini version (for $15) since I was trying out hair oils for the first time. It’s been a year and I am still using the mini version. This stuff lasts forever so it is worth the price!
I have tried what feels like every dry shampoo out there. I’ve even tried making my own homemade dry shampoo. Having super dark roots, I thought that maybe I just couldn’t use dry shampoo because they always turned my roots a white or greyish color. I have found a few dry shampoos that work well with dark hair and don’t leave your scalp feeling super itchy or irritated. My current favorite right now is the Verb Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair for $18. This product takes away any grease or oils, adds volume, and doesn’t leave my scalp itchy. Since using this dry shampoo, I’ve been able to go three days without feeling like I need to wash my hair.
During Covid I became really interested into taking care of my hair and skin. While researching hair products, I came across the brand OLAPLEX. I decided to try out their No.3 Hair Perfector. I. Love. It. I try to use this product once a week or every other week. It is worth the $28. First, I will get my hair damp by using this spray bottle I found on Amazon for $9. Once my hair is damp, I put a generous amount of the Hair Perfector on my roots down to the ends. It says to leave the mask on for at least ten minutes. Depending on how much time I have, I try to keep it on for around thirty to forty-five minutes. I will either put my hair into a super loose bun on the top of my head or use a hair clip. These hair clips are on Amazon for a pack of 4 under $12. Since I leave this mask on for a while, I only do it on the weekends. While I have it in my hair, this is when I typically make and eat breakfast.
Other Must Haves
In addition to my main favorite hair products, I feel like I can’t leave these items out. First, is the Wet Brush. The Wet Brush on Ulta comes in multiple colors for $14. I started using this brand of hairbrush probably in junior high and haven’t used a different brand since. When I shampoo my hair, I use this hair shampoo brush. It feels amazing and I’ve noticed my hair is cleaner and has more volume after I use it. This one is $8 on Amazon. I try my hardest not to use heat on my hair. I let it air dry as much as possible and only use heat on the weekends. Whenever I do use heat on my hair, I always make sure to use a heat protectant. This one is $29 for the full size, and it allows you to get a free gift with purchase! When I want to add a little more volume to my hair, I always use Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast. I spray this on my dry roots, and it adds instant volume. You can find this on Sephora for $30 for the full size. I’ve even noticed it helps with oily roots! And lastly whenever I style my hair, I always finish it with Living Proof Flex Hairspray ($27). This hairspray never leaves my hair feeling or looking crunchy no matter much I use!