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OPINION: Maintaining your curls on a college budget

Curls as a little kid, before any routine (2008).

In the United States, and especially in Utah, having curly hair is not the norm. Growing up as someone who is mixed-race and living in a predominantly white area meant that I didn’t really know anyone with hair that looked like mine. I’ve had curly hair since the day I was born, but was unaware of the unique ways to manage it until 2019. No, I didn’t think I had straight or wavy hair, I just didn’t realize that curly hair required a different care routine than straight hair.

Now that I am older and living as an on-campus, out-of-state student, I’ve had to readjust the curly hair routine that I used as a high schooler who had the privilege of having my parents buy my hair products for me because maintaining curly hair is expensive.

Here are some products that I use to control my curls while on a college budget:

Disclaimer: I have 3C hair and this is the routine that has worked for me.

The first part in any curly hair wash day is the shampoo and conditioner. I tend to wash my hair two to three times per week, depending on the weather, the week’s festivities and what physical activity I have done. I use Hask’s Curl Care shampoo and conditioner ($5.27 per 12 oz bottle at Walmart) to achieve moisturized but clean curls.

During the conditioning process, which usually takes about five to 10 minutes depending on how much moisture my hair needs, I brush my curls out with my trusty Swissco detangling brush ($8 on their website) to detangle with minimal damage. It’s important with curly hair to only brush your hair when it’s wet to minimize damage and frizz. If it’s not a wash day, then I just detangle my curls while I’m in the shower.

After my hair is free of all tangles, I put in some Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($8.68 for 12 oz on Amazon) to prevent frizz for the rest of my day.

There are a few options for styling curly hair. If I am going to leave my hair down and free of all accessories, I will use some Eco hair gel ($4.19 for 16 oz at Target) to ensure my hair stays in place. If I am adding a headband, claw clip or ribbon to my hair I will leave the hair as it is.

Curly hair can be put in a slick back bun or braid as well. All you need is a hair tie, some gel and a good brush to achieve that slick-back look.

If you are someone who showers at night and wants to keep your curls looking good overnight or just don’t feel like washing your hair in the morning, invest in a silk bonnet to wear as you sleep and a silk pillowcase as a backup if you are an active sleeper.

Maintaining curly hair can be expensive, but these products are priced at just the point to support the budget of a college kid.

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Brisa Odenthal, News editor

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