When I decided to stop chemically processing my hair 2 years ago, I ran through a good amount of products searching for “THE ONE” that would make my hair act right. Woe to the newly natural diva that is trying to find just the right product combination that makes her hair smell like roses, shine like glitter, render her tresses soft as cotton whilst giving her 4-day hair. It’s hard, I tell you. Very, very hard.
Enter the PJs…product junkie-ism.
When I finally found my most acceptable hair care combo, I took stock of what was on my shelves. I counted more than 50 products.
To find what products work for you, you do have to try a lot of stuff. But once you’ve settled on your go-tos, it’s time to reform the product junkie that you have become.
Since I haven’t met a beauty supply store or product aisle that I didn’t
like love, I’ve devised 10 simple rules for purchasing hair products on a whim.
- Set a time limit. It is easier to exercise restraint when you know that you only have 10-20 minutes to browse. The longer you wander, the more prone you are to dropping items in your basket.
- Always enter the store with a budget in mind and stick to it. This is easier said than done, but try. My rule: I don’t pay more than $2 per ounce for any hair product. If it’s an accessory, I don’t spend more than $10. I will modify this rule and reward myself if I have exercised restraint on previous trips or if I have mad money. Example: I had $40 to pay for my boys’ haircuts last week but they had their own money and paid for it themselves. So…I purchased Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding on a whim since I had the extra cash. Did I love it? Yes…and no. Details later.
- Don’t browse for products when you are out of your normal go-to stuff. If your standard products aren’t stocked on your shelf at home, you’ll get amnesia and rationalize why you NEED to try that new deep conditioner when you know good and well that your standard does the trick. You know the saying, “Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry?” Same rationale.
- Always visit the clearance or discontinued section, if one is available. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what you find most times and can end up getting more bang for your buck.
- Don’t discount the “cheapie” drug store brands or shy away from “cones” and other “bad” ingredients. My hair loves some of the “no-no” ingredients that a lot of naturals say you should ban. Conversely, I’ve purchased some all natural stuff that did nothing for me. Do you.
- Don’t purchase products that have ingredients that your hair does not like no matter what kind of recommendations you get from your girlfriends, message boards, you.tube videos, commercials or print ads. What’s my “no-no” ingredient you ask? Protein. My hair was feeling dry and wiry for quite some time and I couldn’t figure out why. I started reading the labels of all my “natural” products and quickly found a common denominator…protein. No matter how high or low on the product list if I see it listed, I don’t buy it. I tested my rule and bought something anyway because protein was daggone near the end of the list and I still got the dry, wiry hair.
- Do your research prior to entering the store. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed by all of those choices. Browse and have fun, but having a little knowledge on some brands will assist you into easily picking them or passing them up. If you’re a stickler about 100% natural products, why are you looking at other stuff?
- Exercise buyer’s remorse BEFORE you buy. If you put a lot of stuff in your basket, 5 minutes before your allotted time is up, think rationally and start weeding things out. I’m generally an impulse shopper. I love throwing things in the basket. But take stock of everything you put in your basket right before you head to check out and consider the cost. Do you really need yet another decorative flower…in black?
- Don’t use a shopping basket. This limits how much you can carry and ultimately, limits how much you buy.
- Take a small child or pesky teenager along with you. If I’m at a store with my teenage boys or with my hungry niece, the minute they see me v-lining for the product aisle eyes begin to roll and deep sighs commence. Those gestures alone let me know that they’ll be nagging and complaining while I browse yet AGAIN and is usually the one thing that will make me scrap my plans and move on.
I sooo needed this article! I just BCed about a month and a half ago, and I was buying a product daily after watching youtube :). I just pinky sweared with my husband that I would not purchase another product until I ran out of what I had. Sigh…tear…
These are definitely great tips! I usually go into a store knowing which products I want and what I am willing to spend that day. I also learned since I have gone completely natural to use up products before I buy new products. I haven't done it too much lately because I notice some products don't work the way I would like them to but it's all an experience.
These are great tips! I think I read that someone is printing this out and keeping it in their wallet. "I'm right behind you at the printer!" Boy, I could have used this when I first BC'd… well, who am I kidding (SMH @ myself); I need this now! It seems like the products are calling my name when I'm in the hair aisles especially conditioners (y'all should see my "Product Rehab" video; SMH @ myself even more). It goes something like this:
Hair product display – BargainClipper … Oh, BargainClipper!
Me – Yes?
Product – You want to buy me…
Me – I'm trying to save my money.
Second product – No, try me; I have a free sample…
Me – Oh, I've been wanting to try that for a little while now…
Third product – But I have 50 percent more…
See, I deal with this on a regular basis in the stores LOL! So now, I've committed myself to using up what I have in my possession. My hair will either love it or I'm giving it to my sister or donating it to a women's shelter. Someone is going to benefit from this "product junk… enthusiast". Now, that I know better, I will do better, but I'll probably break out in a sweat when I see something new that I have a coupon for LOL.
I can so relate to this! I'm a product junkie and need help. 🙂 Just the other day when I styled my hair and used like 4 products after washing (and noticed some major frizz), I realized that I need to go back to my ground zero! It's hard however trying to find the perfect product, so its easy to get drawn in. I've realized that keeping it simple is the best policy! Oh… and I love Ayurvedic products as well… those are my staples and I've experience lots of growth and volume since using them.
My hair HATES cones and mineral oils, so that limits what I can buy at the drug store (besides some conditioners).
I try to do a 30 day buying freeze from time to time. I play a little game with myself to only buy when I run out of something for 30 days. It worked and I was able to eliminate a lot off my shelves.
I agree with rule #5 completely. All natural products are not always the best products for your hair. Also, I used to be a brand snob when it came to hair products, but I've learn recently that I was missing out on some good stuff in the drugstore! In addition, I use shampoos sodium laureth sulfate and conditioners with cones and my hair looks perfectly fine! Therefore, I wouldn't take anyone's personal opinions as the gospel!
love this! I was a product junkie for a long long time. Setting a budget became necessary, especially since one of the reasons I went natural was to cut the costs. Love this post!!
My personal rule is that if I have brand new bottles of product that I haven't opened and tried then I can't buy anything new. For me its easier because I will become overwhelmed with which new product to try first. If I see something I'm interested in I will take a mental note and do my research before I buy it
one rule i try to apply is if it's something i buy online, or even a store, wait a day or 2. do you still want it? sometimes the answer is no. i almost always force myself to wait a day or 2 or 3 when i hear about a "great" new line/product. also i decided this year to create my own "top 10 list" these are the top 10 or so products i like for my hair from cowashing to conditioning to styling. i figure once i get my top 10 list of things i really love then i will have to compare every potential new product to a similiarly functioning product on my list. if i don't think it would perform and/or smell better, why buy it? it makes other products seem much less appealing.
#9 definitely works. it only took me one time in Whole Foods to carry more products than my arms could hold. after constantly dropping bottles and getting disapproving stares from the normally chipper sales staff, i know not to grab more than i can carry in my two hands… which usually equals two bottles and a jar of product.
Thank you for this post! Very much needed to get my pj'sim under control. I found that wearing a protective style, like kinky twists, requires few products for upkeep. Hence, I have no need to buy any "curl defining" creams, and other things. Just gotta watch my hairline.
only buy things to replace something you're willing to get rid of or fills a need. a true need. this applies to my clothes shopping as well (sadly, not to the shoes but i'm a work in progress).
Buy in BULK! If you have your staples on deck, you won't feel as tempted to make random runs to the drug store (which inevitably result in the purchase of things you don't need) to re-stock…
Great list. I'm sure it's been said many times but a little more self acceptance when it comes to one's own hair goes a long way toward taming the product junkie monster.
I love these rules. Especially number 2! I too won't spend more than $2/ounce for any product. I did my big chop early this month, but for years have been using olive oil & shea butter on my head, which is cheap and has always worked great. So when I started looking into going natural early this year, and came across a lot of the natural products I couldn't believe the prices. Still can't for some stuff. I think that in and of itself has helped me stay away from being a junkie…for now. lol
My rule of thumb when trying new products is to try the new product soley to make sure I get a good indication as to whether or not my hair responds well to the product or not. I mean how can you really judge if a product isnt working when your using 5 different ones at the same time? Once the product is all gone then, I go on to soemthing else if my hair wasn't impressed. 🙂 Saves me money for sure! *trying out the Shea Moisture line*
Great article! I agree with Kingsmomma…I don't buy something new until I've used what I have. I also am a big believer in buying sample sizes to see if I like the products first. That has saved me a lot of money. ~KF519
Great advise, especially about buying new stuff when your old standbys are out. It does cloud your judgment and make the other stuff look good!
With all of the resources out there, I definitely went nuts after my BC in September. Now that I have a couple of different types of conditioners, leave-ins, stylers and sealants, I have to pump the brakes. No new products for 30 days. My hair needs a minute to figure out what it likes.
I think you should look into the overall benefit or non-benefit of anything in a product before you discount them. What we put in our hair also goes into our bodies and may or may not have long term, negative effects. Everyone SHOULD consider and research products from THAT aspect.
Aside from that- I think those are rules to consider. Hopefully the pj goes away after you start getting to know your hair. I know for me it has.
I limit myself to trying new products only when like products are Empty. I know what my hair loves and will always restock those products but when I want to try something I make myself wait until that same category is empty i:E styler for styler or leave in for leave in. I also set a monthly budget for hair products and limit my self to 3 hair purchases if needed.
The biggest help for me though has been making sure my trial product stock is completely empty before trying something new
"Don’t discount the “cheapie” drug store brands or shy away from “cones” and other “bad” ingredients. My hair loves some of the “no-no” ingredients that a lot of naturals say you should ban. Conversely, I’ve purchased some all natural stuff that did nothing for me. Do you."
I am three months into TWA and I'm greatful that I totally ignored the all natural-natural journey. Cones are my friend.
Great Article it is a jungle out there but it is wonderful that we have so many products to choose from I am grateful for that. Most people cannot go wrong with Ayurvedic products for moisture and growth. Results come fast! Word to the wise.