My Frugal DIY Hair Routine

Gentle Readers,

You know that I have a frugal face-routine, and you will not be surprised to learn that my hair routine is similarly personally tailored and low-cost. I spend less than $2 a year on the products I need to look fantastic.

I have a very short hair-cut and was frustrated at the amount of money I was spending on shampoo and conditioner and products. It felt wasteful. It was also just silly since none of the products did precisely what I wanted.

I have very clear vanity needs. I want to look a very particular way. I like that women stop me on the street to tell me how much they love my hairstyle. I even had a woman at my podiatrist’s office ask to take photos of my hair, because she is a stylist and wanted to try and replicate it.

Everything that touches my head is created by me.

I ditched traditional shampoo and conditioner nearly two years ago. I read around and asked my friends, and learned about the No Poo movement (a horrible name).  I thought it was worth a shot since the ingredients were simple and were things I had around my house. I was also intrigued at the idea of washing my hair once a week. Shorter showers means less water waste and more time sleeping in.

On Sundays, I wash my hair.

I have a little container I bought at CVS that holds some baking soda and water. I use a squeeze bottle with a lid that closes so it does not dry out. That’s all you need. I personally add tea tree oil,  which is good for my scalp since my hair is so thick. I don’t like the smell of tea tree, so I add in some mint oil  to have a smell I like that adds a little scalp tingle.  I pour some into my hand and scrub it into my scalp. I leave it in until I feel the tingle and then rinse it out. After that, I use a bottle that is 1/4 apple cider vinegar and 3/4 water as conditioner.  I make sure to rinse thoroughly because I don’t want to smell like a salad. Once I’m out of the shower, I warm a tiny bit of coconut oil in my hands and put it through my hair as a deeper conditioner. That’s it. My hair is clean for a week!

I like my pomade to have a little bit of shine, but mainly I want it to just let my hair’s glory come through.  My current favorite version is easy to make and much cheaper than buying a product that someone else made for me.

I use a glass bowl and a pot as a make-do double-boiler. In the glass bowl I put some Shea butter or coconut oil and then half as much Beeswax.  It melts quickly on a low heat. I stir it and watch carefully to prevent burning. Once it is all melted down, I put on my potholders and carefully transfer into a little metal one ounce container. I let it sit with the lid off until it solidifies. That’s it. My pomade is ready for 8-12 months. You only need a little when your hair is short.

The shea butter version feels a little greasier, but is nice in the winter when my hair just wants a little more love. The coconut version is my go to in the summer when looking crisp is my greater goal.

Sometimes I add an essential oil for a little scent, but not much, because I don’t want to cause anyone to have an allergic reaction around me. I try to have so little in that only someone who actively tried to smell my hair would know.

Do you make any of your own hair products? Share your recipes below.


Author: ZJ Thorne

Lesbian on the path to Financial Freedom

  • Holly Johnson

    I don’t make my own hair products, but I do use cheap stuff. The lady who cuts my hair always give me a hard time about it. Most of the time, I use my kid’s 3 in 1 hair and body wash stuff. It smells good! =)

    • I use the shampoo sitting around for my girlfriend as shaving cream. Whatever works for multiple things.

  • Mrs. Groovy

    I must try your pomade recipe! And thanks for explaining how to do it without a real double boiler because I don’t have one. I buy several product lines that are good and inexpensive – Suave and Garnier to name a few. And I also shop products for black women as they work wonderfully on thick, heavy hair like mine. And they’re also inexpensive. I just bought a little tin of hair “wax” in Walmart for maybe two bucks.

    • Nice! Suave made my hair feel strange.

  • The No Poo movement made me laugh! 🙂

    I’m still a daily shampooer, but my hair gets pretty greasy if I don’t. I don’t make my own shampoo, but I do run it on the cheap (which I think is less expensive for “men’s shampoo” for some reason anyway). And I’m also the guy that always takes home the bottles when I stay at hotels. If it lathers, I’m going to go with that it’s cleaning my hair! 🙂

    — Jim

    • Many folks who had greasy hair discovered that it stopped being greasy with homemade shampoo.

      Stuff for men is cheaper. I just don’t like the smell.

  • I should experiment with this! I just lopped off about 8 inches of hair, and I love it. Part of me thinks I made myself look older, but I don’t care. AT ALL. My hair is just above my shoulders, and it dries so quickly. This seems like a good next step!

    • I wash my hair once a week. It saves so much time and my hair looks incredible. I also tailor it specifically to my hair and scalp. It’s perfect. You should give it a shot.