And when you read the various blogs and forums and articles touting the latest product or the must have staple that you can't get your hands on, especially for those that live outside of the bigger cities, it's incredibly depressing.
Thus, I have made a list of some much lauded products (one of which I currently own) and posted them alongside their cheaper or easier to access alternatives, for the girls who don't live in London or have access to a debit card that allows them to buy things off the internet.
So if you're in an area where you are outnumbered by cattle or sheep...
If you're waiting for your next birthday so your national minimum wage will go up or you can finally get a debit card...
If playing 'Spot the Brown Person' is a genuinely difficult game to play in your current location...
Then this list is almost definitely for you!
The Must-Have Sound: A Micro Fibre Towel.
Used for: Absorbing water efficiently from your hair without causing too much damage to the hair strands.
I've seen some targeted specifically for hair needs run about £10.
Buy it cheaper: I got mine from Home Bargains (if you have one near you), though you can also usually find micro fibre cloths in the supermarket for reasonable prices.
The Alternative Track: An old cotton T-shirt or top usually works just as well - Cost: Free, or charity shop it.
The Must Have Sound: A Seamless Comb/Jilbere Shower Comb.
Used for: Detangling the hair easily in the shower with minimal hair loss and breakage. The Hercules Range usually run about £12 for each comb.
The Alternative Track: The Boots Shower Comb - it's not seamless but (in my opinion) with enough conditioner it does a decent job of the detangling business. If you don't have a Boots, your local Beauty Supply Store should have some variation of it - Cost: £1.99.
The Must Have Sound: Kinky Curly Curling Custard
Used for : Moisturised and well defined curls. Costs upwards of £15 for a 8oz container.
The Alternative Track(s): The Faerie swears by her Umberto Gianni's Scrunching Curl Friends - Cost: £4.79
A lot of people seem to really like Eco-Styler Gel, which you can get from Paks in London - Cost: £2.49
Make Your Own: Flaxseed/Linseed Gel - I would advise you half the amount though, that tutorial makes loads! However, flaxseed gel also freezes quite well. The seeds are available from Hollands and Barretts and Julian Graves - Cost: £3.69 for 500g (would make over 2 litres of gel).
For more options and reviews concerning gel, read here and here.
The Must Have Sound: Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner
Used for: Easy and lightweight moisturising and costs between £6-£8 for 250ml
The Alternative Track - I've got my lot here and the first two ingredients at the back are water and aloe vera juice. At the time of publishing, aloe vera juice is currently on sale at Hollands and Barretts for £3. You could easily mix up your own for half the price. If your hair hates it, you've saved yourself £3. If it loves it, you've saved yourself £3. And when I finish my other container, this is what I will be doing.
The Must Have Sound: Semi Exotic Oils and other edible stuffs.
Used for: Sealing, moisturising, pre-poo, deep conditioning, rinsing etc.
These are not just oils. These are cold pressed, organic, virgin fair trade oils that can cost a bomb if you're buying more than one.
The Alternative Track: Your supermarket or local Indian/Asian food mart.
I've found coconut oil, castor Oil, mustard oil, jasmine and amla oil in my local Indian stores.
If they're not available, your big supermarket will usually have some. I got my grape seed oil from Sainsburys at a far cheaper price than in my local health food store because its food grade, not cosmetic. The only difference I saw on the back was that the food grade didn't have Vitamin E added to it. They also sell avocado oil. If you want leaves or flowers, you can usually use tea bags instead. In that case, it's useful knowing the other names of things, such as how sorrel and hibiscus are usually one and the same.
Any other suggestions [or corrections] would be greatly appreciated!