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By NICKY CHAMP

Since the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize last year and is already undertaking the quest for world peace, I’ll tackle that other vastly important issue; how to find decent and inexpensive hair products.

I know, I know it’s a completely selfless task and it has nothing to do with the fact that when life is overwhelming me I like to go on budget beauty blowout at the nearest Priceline/chemist/supermarket and this isn’t my way of validating it AT ALL.

Personal crises aside, while it’s nice to splurge every now and then on Dior nail polishes, creamy YSL lipsticks, Bobbi Brown nude eye palettes (I could go on and on), it is possible to get great, effective beauty products with change from a red lobster. These are the seven best hair products on our radar right now.

1. Kevin Murphy Wave Clips.

Screen Shot 2013 04 24 at 4.24.32 PM NICKY: 7 genius hair products under $20 each.If you’ve never quite mastered the art of curling your hair with a straightener or have no patience for hot rollers, I’d like to introduce you to the fool-proof Wave Clip.

It looks like a medieval torture device but I promise you it’s much more fun. Um, not that guillotines were ever fun or anything but you get the drift.

To use: clip them into the middle-to-end section of your hair, give it a quick blow dry on hot, finish with a blast of cool air and the result is that subtle, soft wave like the one Alexa Chung often sports.

There’s a video tutorial by Kevin Murphy here, and although it’s a bit tedious it will give you the gist of how to use them if you’re considering buying them. I have shoulder-length fine hair and I find four are enough but if your hair is any longer you’ll need 6-8 clips.

BUY NOW: Kevin Murphy Wave Clip $5.95

2. Toni & Guy Sculpting Powder.

Got lank, flat, dull hair? Give this sculpting powder from Toni & Guy a red hot go. Unlike the name suggests it’s actually a great thickening product for thin hair. Its feather-light formulation is in an easy-to-use shaker that imparts volume and has an impressive lasting power. If you’re a fan of Aveda’s Pure Abundance Hair Potion or dry shampoo for that matter, you’ll love this.

Toni & Guy Sculpting Powder $15.95 available in Woolworths, Coles, Priceline and Big W.Screen Shot 2013 04 25 at 11.09.20 PM NICKY: 7 genius hair products under $20 each.

3. O&M Frizzy Logic Shine Serum.

The curly-haired among us will appreciate this little life-changing number from natural haircare brand O&M. It tames those pesky flyaways, is great for controlling static and will tame even the wildest of frizzes.

Okay, so I may have cheated with this one by putting in the travel size version to get it under twenty bickies BUT I promise you only need a dot so technically it lasts for ages.

BUY NOW: O&M Frizzy Logic Shine Serum $9.95

18 jpg 4fa23d138d NICKY: 7 genius hair products under $20 each.4. L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil.

This hair oil is fast on its way to gaining cult status. It can be used everyday as a shine serum, before straightening or weekly as a deep conditioning treatment. It’s non-sticky, weightless and fantastic for split ends and dry or brittle colour damaged hair – I can’t recommend this one highly enough. GO.

BUY NOW: L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil $19.95

5. Root Color Touch-Up.

This nifty little product is great to use in between salon visits if you colour your hair. It’s a brush-on natural mineral powder than temporarily (it washes out) covers up roots and grey hair. It’s also a good one for covering up thinning hair and patchy bald spots. This one’s a game-changer.

BUY NOW: Jonathan Product Awake Root Color Touch-Up $19

Also if you like the idea of this product and are willing to put in a bit more cash, Keratin Complex Sparkle + Shine Highlighting Powder is a good one for adding shine and imparting colour. It’s available at local salons or online here.

6. Kusco Murphy Dry Hair Leave In.

1 cherry large NICKY: 7 genius hair products under $20 each.

So say you’ve been going a little bit crazy with bleaching/colouring/tinting your hair and your dry, fragile and thirsty strands are threatening to stage a moisture invention if you don’t do something soon. Well THIS is the product they’d pick. It’s also really low maintenance – spray it in and, wait for it… leave it. Easy as.

It’s also a great detangling product for those who often swim in saltwater or chlorinated pools.

BUY NOW: Kusco Murphy Dry Hair Leave In $19.95

7. Batiste Cherry Dry Shampoo.

As if I could leave dry shampoo off this list, I don’t know what I would do without the stuff. Well, I’d probably just wash my hair more but since I hate doing that, I nearly always have a purse-sized can of it on hand.

I find Batiste has the best scent overall with none of that yucky chemical pong. I’m really into their new Cherry scented version (and I usually hate cherry scented stuff, a hangover from having to swallow cherry flavoured medicine as a kid). It’s not widely available just yet but the Blush scented version is just as good.

BUY NOW: Batiste Dry Shampoo $9.99

And if you need some hairspiration (see what I did there?) to go along with all these new fangled prodz, go ahead and click through our top hair trends for 2013 gallery below.

Bobs: Karlie Kloss

 What are your go-to cheap hair products that work? What other products would you add to this list? 

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