Cheap and Surprising Products to Rescue Your Damaged Hair and Which Products Fall Short

Everyone knows about putting mayonnaise and egg whites on hair as a way of adding shine and hopefully getting the hair to be soft and strong again, but both seem kind of stinky to be honest. Getting your hair trimmed regularly is also a wise choice to keep split ends from moving higher and higher up your hair, but what do you do in between?

I dye my hair. A lot. In fact, I’ve been dying it (at home, never at a salon, so yeah) since I was 15, so I’ve accumulated a lot of damage. Plus, I am growing it out so I can have super-long hair, which means I am keeping all this damaged hair. I am trying to avoid getting my hair cut until I get it to the desired length. I guess I should say that I’ve also bleached my hair twice in the past year. Yeah, ouch. So how do I keep my hair from breaking off? I’ll tell you!

Here are some products under $5 that I have used on my own hair to rescue it from all the awful things I put it through.

What Works

1. Dove Intense Damage Therapy Conditioner : Under $4

I sometimes buy the shampoo as well when I’ve got extra money, but it doesn’t seem to really do a whole lot on its own. I have been using this conditioner for over a year. To get real results with ANY conditioner, you need to let it sit in your hair for a good 10 to 15 minutes. So, I recommend washing your hair first, leaving the conditioner in while you go about your other shower-y things like shaving and body washing. I will leave it on extra long after dying my hair. It’s amazing. It keeps my hair from being totally fried, but I will say that it doesn’t solve 100% of the problem. My hair will still have some split ends and break off at the tips occasionally, but consider the fact that I have been dying my hair for 7 years straight, including many bleachings. This product takes away the dry straw-like feeling after you dye your hair, leaving it feeling soft, silky, and easy to brush out. It’s one of the best conditioners I’ve found.

2. Aussie’s 3 Minute Miracle : Under $4

I absolutely love this deep conditioner. It may actually be better than #1. I leave it on longer than 3 minutes, but even with just that amount of time, it leaves my hair so soft and nice. After the last time I bleached my hair, I immediately dyed it black the very next day because the bleach didn’t turn out very well. So my hair was hurtin’. I used a lot of this product and my hair went back to feeling soft again. I highly recommend it.

3. Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk : $4

I used to use the Sunsilk Hairapy TLC-something-something equivalent of this product (which was way better and all-around amazing) not only for it’s smoothing properties but also as a detangler, however Sunsilk discontinued many of its products, so I had to scramble for a replacement. I bought this hoping it would be the same. It definitely tames flyaways and makes my hair soft and silky and doesn’t feel like it’s greasy or coating my hair, however, it doesn’t do much in the way of detangling. My hair is just as hard to brush out after applying it. But my point is, when you have damaged hair, you get a lot of different length hairs poking out and sticking out everywhere, making you’re hair look frizzy. Or sometimes you’re hair just gets frizzy when it’s damaged. This works to keep your hair sleek and soft way better than the Frizz-Ease products, which made my hair feel greasy and oily.

4. Softee Hair Food with Vitamin E : $1 for a 3.5 oz tub (At Dollar Tree)

This is a product that can be found in the African American section of the hair products aisle. I would recommend it for any hair type as a special treatment. Products marketed for African American hair are designed to treat the problems of delicate, chemically treated, and damaged hair, so it’s really a great section to buy from. It contains Vitamin E, Wheat Germ oil, Lanolin, Rosehips, Wild Cherry Bark, and other natural herbs. It really is food for your hair!

Now, to use this, you will need a shower cap and a nice warm towel to wrap your head. While in the shower, after shampooing and conditioning my hair, I squeeze out all the excess water from my hair. Concentrating mainly on the length of my hair rather than the scalp, I apply it generously to my hair. Leave it in, hop out of the shower and put a shower cap on over your hair. Wrap your head with a towel (preferably one soaked in hot water, as heat helps the nutrients sink in to your hair) and allow at least 30 minutes for the product to work. I’ve left it in for 3 hours  before. It’s amazing. Now, it will say that it does leave your hair a little oily, so I recommend shampooing twice when rinsing it out, but that is part of the magic of the product. Your hair will be soft and very shiny. I literally could not find any split ends after using this product, and I currently have black hair, so split ends are pretty obvious. My hair feels thicker and stronger after using this product. Even in such a small tub, you can get five or six uses out of it. I do it every few weeks, alternating with other special treatments I do for my hair.

5. Softee Cholesterol Plus Jojoba : $1 for a 6 oz tub (Also can be found at Dollar Tree)

This is another product from the African American hair care section. The name “Cholesterol” might be off-putting, but believe me, it’s awesome and it smells good. It is less greasy than the Softee Hair Food, but you will still want to shampoo after using. The label on the product says to pretty much use it like conditioner, but I follow the same steps I listed for Softee Hair Food. Apply to wet hair, leave it in, use a shower cap, wrap with a hot towel, and wait at least thirty minutes. I decided to be daring with this product and leave it in over night. It worked amazingly, getting rid of split ends and the brittle feeling to my hair, and adding a lot of shine. My hair felt stronger and thicker after using it. I recommend using this every month or as needed. I’ve talked to a lot of women who swear by it. I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on how shiny my hair is since trying Softee products.

6. Lusti Organics Olive Oil Hair Mayonnaise : $1 for 10 0z (Dollar Tree)

This product comes in a larger quantity but is slightly less in quality than the Softee products. It has ingredients from both of the Softee products, and also herbal ingredients like aloe vera, silk amino acids, and Vitamin A. It seems to be less greasy than both the Softee products, but still a bit oily. So with the quantity, quality, and comprehensive ingredients in mind I’d say it is definately worth using as a quick, in-the-shower treatment in between longer special treatments. It leave it on for about 5 minutes and then shampoo and condition your hair.

What Doesn’t Work

1. Garnier Fructis  Sleek & Shine Leave-in Conditioning Cream : $4

I’m sure it probably does good for damaged hair, but it just leaves my hair feeling dirty, like I haven’t washed it in a long time. I can’t stand the feeling of dirty hair, so now I have a big huge container of this stuff sitting around. If I do use the rest of it, I’ll use it as conditioner in the shower and rinse it out. This might work best as a special treatment with the whole shower cap and towel combo, but I have yet to try it. Come to think of it, I think I will. However, if you haven’t already bought this product, try one of the other products I have listed above.

2. Aussie Hair Insurance Leave-In Conditioner (Spray On) : $3

This product has some good sounding ingredients (like aloe leaf juice) but I have been using it for a few months (still on the same bottle) and I haven’t seen any overwhelming results from it. However, I have continued using it after getting out of the shower and towel drying my hair, because it smells really good. So, rather than just waste my money, I use it as hair perfume. And if it is working even a little bit, well hey, that’s cool. If your money is tight, I’d pass on this product. Will I buy it again? Maybe. Because it smells so good.

Alright, hope this helps you repair your own hair! Don’t be afraid to try new products if they are cheap. Cheap doesn’t always mean low quality! What hair products do you swear by?


16 thoughts on “Cheap and Surprising Products to Rescue Your Damaged Hair and Which Products Fall Short

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  12. I swear by using water, olive oil and carrot oil mixed in a spray bottle. I use that one my hair when it is curly and it leaves it feeling conditioned. I swear by pure coconut oil as well. I just bought this Lusti today and I am excited to use it on my next hair wash. Last but not least, I love my Freeman Mango and Papaya 3 minute Moisture Conditioner, but Ieave it one for 20 minutes to and hour and then I rinse it out. I use that with my Shea Cashmere V05 shampoo and I am in love. Some cheap products work despite all the hype of them being bad. I have mango butter by Softee so I plan on using the same method as you did with the hair food to see how it reacts when I straighten it. Oh, and Suave Pomegranate conditioner as a cowash…it smells amazing.

  13. Hi there, stumbled upon this while looking up Skull Guy. Another big tip: Don’t brush your hair wet. It stretches the hair, often to the snapping point. Avoid using metal in your hair. When you dye your hair, avoid products that contain mineral salts (Manic Panic used to have it, Punky Color did not or something like that). When bleaching hair, do the roots LAST. If you don’t need to, don’t wash your hair every single day. Oh yeah, eat well. Drive on!

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