“I love getting ready in the morning,” said no one, ever.

It’s no secret that waking up at the crack of dawn for work or school can be tough. Whether you’re a student, an overworked millennial, or a vet, early mornings typically begin with the sweet sound of your hand smashing the snooze button repeatedly until you realize the hour you usually give yourself to get ready each morning has been shaved down to a mere 30 mins—this is when the frantic running around begins. Did you remember to scroll through Instagram, check your emails, or even eat? Poof, there goes another 20 minutes. Add a multi-step beauty routine, and you’ve practically got yourself an olympic sport.

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Carving out time to find an Instagram-worthy outfit, then doing a full face of makeup, is battle in itself. But, there’s nothing more time consuming than a tedious hair routine, especially when there’s no telling if the weather will be on your side that day. Too much water or product when doing a twist-out can ruin your look before you start the take-down process. Straightening your hair each morning can fry your ends and leave you with thin, lifeless strands. And let’s not even talk about how much money goes into building an arsenal of good-hair-day products.

Maybe you’re a pro and have your daily hair regimen down pat, or maybe your still in the trial-and-error phase, crossing your fingers that all your effort will result in picture-perfect hair. In all reality, we’re all just trying to get by and our hair should be the least of our worries each morning. Ahead, ELLE.com asked four women with different hair types to breakdown their morning hair regimen and how much it costs them to look good.


Felicia Harris, 22

Research Analyst

Hair type: 3c-4a, coily
Routine: 1 hour

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Usually, I’ll already be wearing an old flexi-rod set, so there’s already some Eco Styler Gel ($3) in my hair, and some SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($14). I’m probably still in bed contemplating what my hair is going to look like today.

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It all starts at 8:00 AM—I must be at work by 10:00 AM—so I have a solid hour to do a completely different hairstyle than I did yesterday. Once I’m up, I do a quick wash using my Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Clarifying Shampoo ($12). If I run out of shampoo—which, lets face it, happens all the time—I take 1 cup of the Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar ($6), dilute it with 1 cup of water and put it in my spray bottle (I know this sounds smelly but it’s an amazing alternative). I spray it directly on my scalp but not my hair because my scalp is where all the buildup product is. Whenever I use ACV as my surrogate shampoo, I part my hair in sections, wet my hair, then spray the ACV mix throughout my scalp and massage it in for five minutes. Then, I wash it out with cool water and my scalp is clean. Now, I give my hair some extra loving by using the SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Hair Masque ($9) and Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil ($5)—the Walmart brand, obviously. After I wash out the conditioner, my hair is wet and ready to be styled, leaving me with 30 minutes before I’m rushing to get dressed. I think I’ll do a wash-and-go puff. I separate my hair into five sections and get my bathroom counter ready for war:

First, I start off with wet hair and lather in the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, then rake it through my hair. I put some of the Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Twist-defining Custard ($14) on the ends and use my Denman brush to define. I also coil the ends between my fingers for super definition. Once my hair is semi-dry, I take my blow dryer and put it on cool and use my diffuser to stretch these baby curls. Afterwards, I flip my hair downwards and use a piece of my stockings as a scrunchie to tie around my puff. To stretch my curls some more, I take my metal hair pick and fluff my fro. Now, I’m ten minutes late for work because I just had to slay my edges.

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Total: $63


Eboni Lewis, 27

Legal Assistant

Hair type: Coily
Routine: 10 minutes

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Chopping off my hair was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. For some reason, I thought cutting my hair would make my morning routine shorter, but to my surprise, I can’t just wake up and go like I thought. I have low porosity hair, which means my hair has a hard time retaining moisture—it is always dry. Chopping it all off has allowed me to establish a proper routine. At this point, it’s all trial and error.

I usually wake up between 6:45 and 7:00am because I have to be out of my house by 8:00am—it takes me an hour or more to go nine miles (that L.A. traffic life). I loosely follow the LCO (liquid, cream, oil) method. I start off with a quick deep condition while I shower using Trader Joe’s Shea Butter & Coconut Oil Hair Mask ($4) and my hair loves it . I let my hair air dry while I pick out my outfit for the day. Once I am all moisturized and dressed, I spritz my hair with rose water and add a little bit of Twisted Sista’s Intensive Leave-In Conditioner ($16). I then apply Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Leave-In Milk ($12), it smells so yummy. I seal the liquid and cream in my hair with a mix of Jamaican Black Castor Oil ($15) & Jojoba Oil ($14). I found that my hair would get dry by the end of the day, so I top it all off with Tgin’s Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer ($15). My hair is so short that there really isn’t much else to do with it. At some point, I would like to try finger waves or something heatless to spice things up a bit.

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Total: $59


Edie Lotus, 24

Freelance Publicist

Hair type: Naturally-straight, color-dyed hair.
Routine: 15 minutes

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Disclaimer: I am not a morning person, so the later I can sleep in the better. Typically, this means that I wash, dry, and/or curl my hair the night before to cut down on time in the AM. I prefer to wear my hair down in loose waves or in a tight, low pony which takes me about 10-15 minutes to get it just right.

As for hair products, I’ve been using some of the same staples since I was in high school—plus the recent addition of OUAI Leave-In Conditioner ($26) and OUAI Hair Oil ($28) —and haven’t seen a split end since. I use Bed Head After Party ($23) before I use hot styling tools, then finish off the look with OUAI Hair Oil and Aussie Mega Flexible Hold Hairspray ($4), which keeps my waves alive throughout my morning commute without getting all crunchy or poofy. If I’m in-between hair washes, Batiste Dry Shampoo is my holy grail. I’ve been trying to go silver, so I like to use the original clean & classic spray because it helps to add the appearance of ashy tones!

Total cost: $81


Kayla Matthews, 23

Environmental Technician

Hair type: 3C
Routine: 30 minutes

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I try and keep my morning routine short and simple. I wear a “pineapple” ponytail to bed underneath my satin scarf, so the first thing I do in the morning is give my hair that much needed H2O. I use Salon Cares 360 Mist Sprayer ($11) to dampen my hair, then I apply Mielle Organics White Peony Leave‑In Conditioner ($13), followed by Mielle Organics Avocado Hair Milk ($13). Once the products are applied, my hair is all moisturized and slightly damp. So, I throw my hair back into the pineapple ponytail and continue with my morning routine—brushing my teeth, washing my face and/or apply makeup.

Once I’m finished getting ready and the product has sat in my hair for a decent amount of time, I’ll either put my hair in a simple bun or take the ponytail down and let my curls out. If I feel like I need a little extra curl defintion, I’ll add SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($14) and scrunch it. On bad hair days, I’ll do the same routine but instead, put my hair in a smooth bun with a few Bobby pins in the back. And I can’t forget my edges! I use Camryn’s BFF Gentle Edges Brush ($3) and The Mane Choice’s Growth Stimulating Edge Control ($10) to slick down my hairs.

Total: $64



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