FEATURED FIVE: Affordable Hair Products & Tools!

by - March 11, 2020

So, I decided at the beginning of this year that 2020 was going to be the year that I care about my hair. For years now, I've had a sort of pattern that I've pretty consistently maintained - cut my hair shortish (just above my shoulders generally), get annoyed about not being able to put it up, grow it out long, wear it in a messy bun for several months and/or do some serious damage to it with bleach, and then cut it again to start the whole process over. This year, I decided I want to do things differently, actually learn different ways to style my hair and actually employ them, take better care of my hair overall and... yeah, just care about my hair. So I've been trying out a bunch of different products, playing with different styles, and actually really enjoying my hair overall and I wanted to share a handful of affordable products and one tool that I've been trying out recently.

Keep reading for more!

For context, at this point, my hair is pretty long, about as long as I've ever had it and probably about as long as I can handle (it sits just below my shoulder blades) and I've decided that I rather than cutting it all off again, I want to actually maintain the length and start doing something other than the everyday messy bun of yore. Last month I had some layers and what I explained to my hairdresser as "grown out bangs" cut into my hair so that I had some sort of style and I actually think I've probably worn my hair down more already in 2020 than I probably did in all of 2019. I've been curling it a lot more often than I used to, flat ironing it when I want to wear it straight, and trying out different types of braids and updos that I've been learning on Youtube. 

Garnier Whole Blends Conditioning Milk - Restoring Maple Sap
Full disclosure... I bought this because it smelled INCREDIBLE and not because it's the option in the new Garnier Whole Blends Conditioning Milk range that is best suited for my hair, since my hair isn't really brittle and doesn't break. That said, I do think that if I plan on keeping my hair long, I do have to consider keeping it strong as well, so... Justifications? From a practical standpoint, I think this is a nice product. I think it adds some softness to the ends of my hair and it doesn't feel heavy or the least bit greasy even when I apply it to dry hair third day hair, though I do tend to focus it on the bottom half of my hair and not up towards the roots. 

Honestly, I think the bulk of the reason that I keep using this is 100% because it makes my hair smell amazing. Like, it's actually to the point that I'll be sitting at my desk and just tugging my hair in front of my nose to give it a whiff. It's sweet and rich and gorgeous smelling and I want to the the girl who smells that delicious. So do I think this is a must have product? Not really. But if you give it a sniff and you like it, I can tell you 100% that your hair WILL maintain that smell and the little whiffs that you get throughout the day are pretty damn delightful. 

Pantene Pro-V Never Tell Dry Shampoo
When I saw the new range of Pantene styling products that came out in the past couple of months, of course I wanted to try it all, but I decided to start with the dry shampoo because... honestly, I just hate washing my hair and I'm a pretty huge fan of dry shampoo to extend my time between washes, so I go through them and I'm always interested to try out new ones. This one promises to be invisible and particularly good for people with fine hair who want a style refresh - sounded good to me.

Ultimately, I'm not really sure how I feel about this product. I do think it lives up to its promise of being invisible and I think it adds a nice texture to my hair, but I just don't feel like it performs as well as some other dry shampoos in my collection. Now, for someone who uses dry shampoo for second day hair just to keep things a little bit fresher, this might do a good job, but I'll admit full to being someone who uses dry shampoo on third or fourth day hair and this just doesn't cut it for me. I don't think it's bad, it just doesn't get there for me and I have other products that I much prefer to this one. 

Tresemmé Thermal Creations Flat Iron Spray
For a long time, I reached for the original Tresemmé Thermal Creations Heat Protectant, which has long been a lot of people's favorite, but when I saw their new Flat Iron Spray I was pretty interested to try it out so I decided to pick it up. This product promises to both protect your hair from heat while also taming frizz to create a smooth, sleek style. Now, again, I feel like I should admit flat out that this product was probably intended for a hair texture that I don't have and that's probably why it's not the right fit for me. 

I can definitely see how this would really help to create a smoother looking texture for someone who has curly or coarse hair because it almost feels like using a really rich hair oil. Unfortunately, on my hair type this ultimately kind of just makes it look sort of greasy. Like I said above, I have pretty fine hair that's naturally pretty straight (generally I flat iron for smoothness and to get out any kinks that have been created via a messy bun or bedhead) and I think this might be a little bit too much for my hair. However, I can definitely see this being an amazing product for someone with dry hair or natural curls, so I really think this is more an issue of this being the wrong product for me rather than it just not being a good product. 

Mane Club One Hit Wonder 10-in-1 Leave In Spray
Admittedly, this is one of those situations where the branding just really got me when I saw it on the shelf. My local Walmart actually has several products from Mane Club on the shelf now and there was just something about the sort of 90s branding that called to me - it kind of brought me back to flipping through teen fashion magazines as a kid and seeing all of those sort of edgy, playful products marketed back then. I don't know that I'm the target market for this range, but it definitely grabbed me. They also boast a "junk free formula", which for them means it doesn't contain sulfates, phthalates, artifical colours, drying alcohols, gluten, or parabens, and it's also cruelty free. 

This leave in spray promises to condition, detangle, protect from heat up to 230ºC (445ºF), prevent breakage, hydrate, smooth, soften, control frizz, boost shine and strengthen. Like it says... 10-in-1. I actually really, really like this product. It feels pretty lightweight, so I can use it both right after the shower on damp hair as well as on dry hair before I style. It has a really nice scent (one that got me compliments from my boyfriend when he caught of whiff of my hair one night recently), but it isn't overwhelming or something that I really smell throughout the day like the Garnier Hair Milk. I think it really does help to keep my hair a little bit more managable and looking fresh and healthy throughout the day. Honestly, I'm really, really impressed with this product and curious to see if any of the other Mane Club products will be right for my hair.  

Abody Hair Straightener Brush
So, I recently decided that I wanted to try a hair straightening brush. My logic for this was that I've never really loved clamping my hair between two crazy hot plates when I use my flat iron and I wanted to try and see if something like this would be able to give me the same look while hopefully being a little more gentle to my hair. I actually decided to try this after I saw a review of it on Youtube and watched as it did an incredible job of straightening very long, wavy hair to really silky pin straight hair in one pass. I also chose this one because I liked the plastic clamp that holds the hair against the plate a little bit more gently, because the ones without clamps that I'd see looked a little bit awkward as the user got to the end of the hair.

Anyway, in general, this has really replaced my flat iron for me when it comes to straightening my hair. I still reach for the flat iron to curl my hair (I like the look that flat iron curls have) but if I want my hair straight and smooth, this is what I use. It does do a really good job of smoothing out my hair and getting rid of any bedhead or kinks without making my hair look flat, the way that sometimes my flat iron would. This is more of a naturally straight kind of look that really does leave my hair feeling and looking soft, silky and really healthy. Now, obviously, I can't speak to how this will work for curly hair, particularly really tight curls, but I've seen really great results myself and have been reaching for this quite often. It has four heat settings that range from 150-210ºC (302-410ºF), an auto shut off feature, and I'd say it heats up fairly quickly, though not as quickly as the one minute it promised. Overall, I'm really, really happy with this purchase and will definitely keep using it in the future. 

Overall, I have to say, I'm kind of excited to start playing with my hair a little bit more, experimenting with different types of hair products and tools, and learning new ways to style my hair. I honestly don't really feel like any of these products aren't good - they just might not be entirely ideal for my tastes and needs. The products that really stand out for me are the Garnier Conditioning Milk, mostly because I want my hair to smell like that amazing deliciousness full time, and the Mane Club One Hit Wonder, which I think is definitely the product of this bunch that is the most suited to my hair and actually makes a difference for me. And, of course, I am really enjoying the Abody Hair Straightening Brush and I think it's a really, really solid option for every day smoothing for my hair type - and it's a steal at around $30 on Amazon. 

So there you go! Let me know in the comments if you're interested in seeing more hair related content here on the blog because I'm honestly pretty interested in trying out more products and tools in the future!

Thanks for reading!

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