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Five ways to save money on drugstore hair care

Looking for ways to save money on great hair at the drugstore? Here are five tips for your tips:

1 Do save on a sulfate-free shampoo. You can pay up to $30 for a bottle of department store shampoo, but don't be surprised if it's full of sulfates. Yup, sulfates, chemicals that have been linked to hair loss and sensitivity reactions. So, instead of paying top dollar for a shampoo whose price may be based on a designer name or marketing dollars spent, opt for an affordable alternative at the drugstore. I like Organix, sold for about $6 at local drugstores. The collection is housed in eco-friendly bottles and is sulfate-free.

2 Don't overhaul your look. Coloring your hair from the drugstore aisles can be a cost-saver or a complete disaster. My advice is feel free to go a shade or two lighter or darker, but don't attempt anything more dramatic without a professional's help. And if you do decide to tweak your own color, don't go by the picture on the box. Since color reacts differently to hair texture and health — the reason you really need a professional! — the best indicator of the colors you'll end up with is the color description, such as "light blonde" or "golden brown."

3 Do deep condition. Unlike hair-styling products, your conditioner just gets washed down the drain after a few minutes, which is why it may be worth saving your hard-earned cash and opting for a drugstore deep conditioner. And for about $8, you can pick up Burt's Bees Shea and Grapefruit Deep Conditioner. In just 2 minutes, shea butter plus essentials oils, including grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime and tangerine, leave hair soft, shiny and PH balanced. Plus, this product is free of sulfates, parabens and other harmful chemicals.

4 Don't retexturize. There are certain things I encourage you to save money on. Others, like completely changing the texture of your hair, should only be done by a professional. I've gotten emails from readers who have broken hair, destroyed hair, discolored hair and more all because they tried to go straight or get curly on a dime. Don't do it!

5 Do save on blow driers. If you use a flat iron, invest in a quality brand. But when it comes to blow driers, I found that drugstores serve up some of the most affordable — and effective — options. My hands-down favorite after testing more than a dozen drugstore brands is the Revlon RV544 Tourmaline Ionic hair dryer, which sells for less than $20 at Walmart. This product dries hair faster and causes less damage than other driers.

— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet Up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.

Five ways to save money on drugstore hair care 05/26/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:02pm]
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