African American girl shows half of her face to show her short afro decorated with gold hair jewelry, with flowered mandala background.

How I Save Money and You Cantu

By Timia Cobb
Web Content Contributor

Hair is a big part of any woman’s life, but for African-American women it’s more than that; it’s a identity and a major part of everyday life. A black woman’s hair requires care, attention and more hair products than any human should ever need. According to research done by Mintel in 2016, “…expenditures by Black consumers on haircare products are about $2.5 billion as Black consumers flock to brands that cater to their specific hair care needs.” Seeing as the “natural hair movement” is still going strong, we can guess that the profit has gone up in the last three years.

Black hair comes in many forms and styles that aren’t cheap to keep up with, especially as a college student. So here are some tips on how to cut down spending on natural hair products, spotting the hair products that are a scam for natural hair and go to hairstyles that can save you some time when getting ready.

Oil and Water

Let’s take a moment to thank mother earth for giving us simple and easy to get essentials for our hair. Pretty much any oil can be used on hair. However, the results you want your hair to show depends on which you use. The best oil I would suggest to use is shea oil, possibly the cheapest and easiest to find when your not close to a beauty supply store. It strengthens your hair and traps moisture, making it perfect those who are looking to fix dry, damaged hair. An oil I would say has the worst effects is coconut oil. It’s amazing for some types of skin but sucks on hair, especially the 4c type. It doesn’t actually do anything but sit on your head and cause hair to become brittle.

Shea oil can range from $1 to $15. The price range is usually caused by the amount of product. Another big help with softening hair is water. I’m not saying to put your hair under a faucet, but acquire a small spray bottle and fill it with water to spray on your hair when you’re ready to style it. You can even mix the water with a little bit of oil to moisturize. Doing this will soften your hair and make it less stiff. However, know your limits. Depending on your hair type too much water might dry your hair out and cause breakage.

Cantu: A Scam

When you go natural there are certain natural hair products that will be repeatedly advertised to you. Cantu is one of those products. Cantu is cheap for natural hair products, but it isn’t the best choice to make. I do believe their wash care products do the job but the leave in conditioner and curling puddings are at the bottom of my list.

I didn’t realize how bad these products were until I started to venture to different brands. Comparing other curling puddings and leave in conditioners to Cantu’s, I saw that Cantu dries out my hair and shrinks my twist outs. I do have 4c hair and that could be why I’m having these results. 4c hair requires more moisture than most and is easily affected by shrinkage. So, if you have another hair type and believe Cantu works fine on your hair then continue to use it but I wouldn’t suggest it for 4c hair.

My overall advice for curl puddings and leave in conditioner is to browse and to see which can benefit your hair the most. The best place to shop for these products is Marshalls, TJ MAXX, Ross or Burlington. Their hair care sections are amazing and the best place to go when you’re on a budget but want authentic products.

Twist Out and Shout

Doing a twist out on your hair is a process. Depending on your hair it can take forever and may never turn out how you wanted it to. Twist outs, however, come in many different styles and are great for a quick protective style. Having to wake up in the morning and realize you have to do your hair is disappointing. If you twist your hair up the night before it can save you time and maybe even let you sleep in longer. If you need help on how to do a twist out and what products you should use when doing one here’s a video from one of my favorite hair YouTubers, The Gloved Natural, on how to get the perfect twist out.

In college, time and money always seems scarce. The struggle of not being able to buy everything you need is real. It’s either you never have enough money or enough time to focus on what you need. However , it doesn’t have to always be that way if you find the right resources that can save you some stress and a couple of dollars too. Being able to take care of your hygiene is a personal need and can affect how good you feel about yourself. Your hair is a part of you that deserves care and attention, so don’t mistreat it.

Featured image by Timia Cobb.

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