The most cost-effective way to buy good-quality name-brand hair conditioners is to collect hair product coupons from the Sunday newspaper inserts and then wait for the brands you prefer to go on sale, so you can match up coupons with sales.
With all of that said, no article on hair care would be complete without a homemade solution or two.
DIY CONDITIONER. Many readers, including a couple of hair professionals I know, insist that the best way to deeply condition your hair is to put a liberal amount of regular (not low-fat) mayonnaise on it, and then put on a shower cap and spend an hour in the sun. Then wash out completely. I have yet to try this myself.
DIY HAIR RID. While shampoo will not build up on your hair, conditioner and other styling products will. You can purchase pricey clarifying products to remove this build-up, or simply use a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in your palm with your favorite shampoo every few weeks. Shampoo as usual, and rinse thoroughly. The baking soda helps remove the build-up to give you naturally clean hair. Follow with your conditioner of choice. For links to the products mentioned above, visit www.everydaycheapskate.com/inexpensiveconditioner.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at firstname.lastname@example.org, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.