Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tips on Curbing Product-Junky-ism

A lot of folks who are "going natural" or just discovering how to care properly care for their hair succumb to being a product junky, where you buy a ton of products to try out. Some might be looking for their "holy grail"--the product that will solve all your curly hair problems. Trying products is obviously a good way to figure out what your hair likes in combination with various techniques. But how can we try products without going flat-broke, overcrowding our cabinets (and perhaps irritating those you live with)? As a former product junky--who was in college at the time I started figuring my hair out--here are some things to keep in mind.

Shopping List: Keep in mind that all these shampoos you are buying don't get used at the same time! You only need one at a time. Might I suggest this list when buying products: 1 shampoo/cleanser, 2 conditioners (detangle, leave-in, deep conditioner), 2 stylers (mousse, gel, "butter") and an oil. I'm just suggesting the maximum of what you could buy, get less if you need to. And this gives you lee-way to play with the combinations of these products (i.e. Conditioner A isn't a good mix with styler Y but great with styler X). Which brings me to my next point...

Use the Products Properly: When using a product, I think it's crucial to use it as directed to achieve the best results as you most likely will be able to judge it better. Also, try the product more then once to get a feel for it. I know that products like Kinky Curly Curling Custard (KCCC) can be difficult to apply because of how it reacts with certain products. It may keep you occupied from buying another product *wink*

Don't Jump On Bandwagons: or rather, be selective as to what advice to follow. Do not continue to use a product that isn't working for your hair just because your "natural hair guru" says it's the best thing ever. Don't follow methods that don't work for you because a natural says that's how it's SUPPOSED to be. Different naturals have different hair and you may or may not get the exact same results. I find it true that you should probably look to those who have a similar "hair type" you have, but you may be like me where you have only come across one other natural who has similar hair to yours (which in my case is a natural at the LITK blog, and who happens to now be free-form locking their hair). Sometimes you can follow the techniques of others who don't have your type of hair but adjust it to your needs.

Learn About ingredients: I've read somewhere that the first five ingredients in a product are used in the highest quantity. So if you like coconut oil, and a product claims to be "fortified" or whatever with it and it's way down there on the ingredient's list, it's probably not worth it. Especially if the product is expensive. It might be best to keep it moving.

Access What Your Hair Needs: Dealing with dryness? Need a good cleanser? Want to do a roller-set or twist out? Buy products that address the issue at hand! If you want a deep conditioner, then search for one and try not to be side-tracked into getting a gel. Trust, it helps it the long run. Focusing on a certain aspect of your hair will keep you pre-occupied.

As a former product junkie myself, I know all too well about the temptations. At this point, I no longer buy products on impulse and it takes me a long time to actually give it a try (see SheaMoisture products). I only shop when I know I need something and if I want to experiment with a style. Hope this was somewhat helpful!

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