The Most Affordable Natural Curly Hair Routine — Using Only Products You Can Find at Walmart

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This may not seem like something worth bragging about, but in the years since I’ve made the transition to natural hair I’ve finally managed to create a simple and affordable natural curly hair routine. It took me seven long years, hundreds of dollars of products, and lots of trial and error to figure it out — so yeah, I’m proud of it, okay? It’s a far cry from the 20-year-old me who spent hours at the beauty supply store combing through gels, puddings, and mists, trying to decide between a curling cream and a curling custard. Now when I need to restock my curly hair products, it’s much simpler process: I make a quick stop to pick up the best affordable natural hair products at Walmart.

But before I could even shop popular natural hair brands at Walmart and come up with my go-to curly hair routine, I had to figure out what my hair needed, and in what order. For my curls, detangling has to be the first step. There are so many ways to detangle curly hair, but I knew I had to start with a pre-shampoo treatment. Then I knew I would need a staple shampoo and conditioner. More than anything, these needed to be non-stripping and hydrating — that means sulfate-free shampoo and nourishing conditioner with natural ingredients like jojoba and coconut oils. I figured out my entire routine this way and came up with a nine-step, nine-product, budget-friendly curly hair routine with one hard rule: no product could be over $15.

It’s a bit of a serious approach to hair, but trust me, shopping products for natural hair can get very overwhelming very quickly. If you’ve ever made it home with a heavy bag of expensive hair products you have no idea how to use, you know my pain — though with my tried-and-true curly hair routine, my hope is that you'll never have to again.

A Pre-Shampoo Detangling Treatment That Will Make Wash Day Faster

Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment

$10

Walmart

Tangles are the curse of all those with curly hair. It also makes wash day an absolute pain. Detangling hair while washing can cause major breakage, not to mention make the whole process take even longer. Instead, use a rich treatment like this one with olive, avocado, and sweet almond oils on wet hair, distribute evenly, and work through with a wide-tooth comb. It’ll melt tangles away and nourish hair at the same time.

A Sulfate-Free Shampoo That Won’t Strip Hair’s Natural Oils

Carol's Daughter Coco Crème Sulfate-Free Shampoo

$10

Walmart

Curly hair loves natural oils. Unfortunately, most shampoos are made to remove oil from hair — especially those with sulfates. That’s why Carol’s Daughter Coco Crème Shampoo is a must-have. This creamy formula is sulfate and paraben-free, and is made with mango seed butter and coconut oil to replenish hair as it cleanses.

A Curly-Girl Holy Grail Conditioner—That Costs Less Than Your Coffee

Aussie Miracle Curls Conditioner

$4

Walmart

When I first went natural I went through conditioner like it was water, so I knew I needed a cheap option that I could keep on hand without breaking the bank. Just about everyone in the natural hair community swore by Aussie, including one of the most popular natural hair bloggers, CurlyNikki. Why? One word: slip. Slip refers to how slippery a conditioner can make your hair during washing and leads to extra hydration — plus a smoother, easier process for detangling. Because of the coconut and jojoba oils found in this conditioner, it’s high on the slip-scale. For under $5, it’s a must-have.

A Hair Butter You Can Use as a Deep Conditioner or a or a Leave-In Treatment

OGX Quenching Coconut Curls Curling Hair Butter

$7

Walmart

There’s nothing curly hair needs more than moisture and this hair butter is basically a moisture bomb. With shea butter, honey, and coconut oil – one of the few oils that penetrates the curly hair shaft — this butter acts as a leave-in or deep conditioner. I’m partial to using it as a deep conditioner. After shampooing, take a handful and run it through your curls. Put on your shower cap and let the steam from your shower help the ingredients melt into your hair. After your rinse, you’ll be left with soft, shiny, nourished curls.

A Detangling Milk That Prevents Knots and Preps Curls

Pantene Pro-V Gold Series Leave-On Detangling Milk Treatment

$8

Walmart

The best defense against tangles is a good offense. That means you shouldn’t wait for hair to tangle up before detangling. Freshly washed hair is usually the least tangled, so take this opportunity to use a detangling milk. Right after washing and conditioning, use a detangling milk like this one with argan oil to smooth the hair cuticle and soften curls for better manageability. A plus is that it preps hair for the next step — styling.

Style and Hydrate Natural Hair With This Multi-Benefit Moisturizer

Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Curl Milk

$7

Walmart

By now I’ve said it a lot — hydrating your curls is important! But it’s especially important when it comes to styling. During this step, you’re setting your curls up for success in the days to come. That means you want to make sure you have a product that will give you smooth, hydrated curls that can stand up against frizz. Because aloe vera juice (not water) is the base for this curling milk, its creamy texture coats curls while taming and moisturizing them at the same time for controlled styling.

Set Your Curly Style With a Defining Jelly That Fights Frizz

As I Am Curling Jelly

$11

Walmart

You know that moment when you pull one single perfect curl and it bounces back into place? This is the product that makes that happen. Friction is the enemy of curls, and no matter how hydrated your hair is, it will become a frizzy, puffy mess without something to define each springy curl. This jelly gives hold without crunch thanks to a combination of aloe vera, vitamin E, and pectin.

Seal and Protect Your Natural Curls With Black Castor Oil

Shea Moisture 100% Pure Jamaican Black Castor Oil

$5

Walmart

Curly girls have been using oils to add shine and moisture to the their hair for forever, but knowing which ones to use is key. Lighter oils like coconut oil have small enough molecules to penetrate the hair shaft — these add moisture. Black castor oil, though, is entirely different. Because of its heavier texture, it sits on top of your curls creating a shiny coating that seals your hair’s cuticle and protects it from natural aggressors. A plus is you can use it on your body, too.

Keep Your Curls Bouncy With this Anti-Shrinkage Refresher Spray

Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage Curl Refresher Spray

$8

Walmart

Shrinkage is exactly what it sounds like: when your curls shrink up in size. And it happens naturally over time until you re-wash your hair. That is, if you don’t refresh your curls. To keep your hair looking as bouncy and shiny as it did when you first washed it, a refreshing spray like this one with mango oil and a few silicones (not all silicones are bad for curly hair — some seal in the good stuff!) will add just enough moisture and shine to keep frizz and puffiness at bay.

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