This ain’t even the half of it…

Many moons ago, okay… many months ago, I referred to myself as a “recov­er­ing pro­duct junkie”. I would stick only to sta­ples and neces­si­ties (reg­u­lar and deep con­di­tion­er, coconut oil, hen­na, DIY fluffy styling cream, detan­gler, and the occa­sion­al sham­poo). My reg­i­men was lack­lus­ter, but it worked well enough. But the longer I did it, the more unhap­py I was. Not with my hair — I love my curls and coils (and even my heat dam­age), but with the prod­ucts I was using. My reg­i­men had no piz­zaz, no spice, no sparkle. I would wist­ful­ly look down the aisle at Tar­get and Sallys, pick­ing up eye-catch­ing con­tain­ers then putting them down, try­ing to con­vince myself they weren’t nec­es­sary. Slow­ly but sure­ly, I began mak­ing excep­tions for myself.

Come ON Christi­na! It’s on sale!”

One new pro­duct can’t hurt…”

You’ve heard SO many good things about this brand. Come on, just try it.”

If you don’t like it, you can always return it.”

One day while orga­niz­ing my prod­ucts in a draw­er, I real­ized I had gone into full relapse. Not only did I have tons of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts, but I also had mul­ti­ples of them. Oh. I’m a pro­duct junkie and suck­er for a sale. On that very day, I decid­ed to embrace who I am and stop pre­tend­ing to recov­er from my acute case of pro­duct junkie-ism. But before I fell into a pro­duct pur­chas­ing free-for all, I set some rules for myself. We’ll get into those a lit­tle lat­er.

For those that may not be aware, a pro­duct junkie is defined (loose­ly) as a per­son who exces­sive­ly and com­pul­sive­ly pur­chas­es hair­care prod­ucts with a gen­er­al dis­re­gard for neces­si­ty. I’m sure there are sev­er­al caveats and inclu­sions to that def­i­n­i­tion, but as a gen­er­al set of pera­maters, a pro­duct junkie just…buys stuff. There are some def­i­nite ben­e­fits to being a pro­duct junkie, although the syn­drome has large­ly been labeled neg­a­tive. Let’s explore the sun­ny and not-so-sun­ny parts of being a pro­duct junkie, from my per­spec­tive:

The Good

1. Explor­ing prod­ucts. The thrill of “the hunt” is real!
2. Sup­port­ing small busi­ness­es. There are some good peo­ple out there mak­ing amaz­ing prod­ucts.
3. There’s always some­thing new — a new pro­duct, a new ingre­di­ent, a new for­mu­la.*
4. DIY isn’t for every­one. Been there, tried that. I’d rather leave mix­ing to the experts.

The Bad

1. Being a pro­duct junkie can get expen­sive.
2. Pro­duct waste. Prod­ucts do have expi­ra­tion dates, and you may end up throw­ing some out from hav­ing held on to them too long.
3. There’s always some­thing new — a new pro­duct, a new ingre­di­ent, a new for­mu­la.*

At the end of the day, I chose to embrace who I am in my nat­u­ral jour­ney and what I like. There’s so much pres­sure to cre­ate a reg­i­men, have sta­ples, and holy grail prod­ucts. I’m not that kind of per­son, and nev­er will be. I thrive under the free­dom to express myself — whether it be in writ­ing, debates, design­ing, styling my hair, or buy­ing prod­ucts. When it comes to my nat­u­ral jour­ney, one of the things that excites me the most is prod­ucts. I love the thrill of the chase — research­ing the pro­duct, scop­ing out reviews (regard­less of whether I trust them or not), exam­in­ing the pro­duct in-store or online, and decod­ing ingre­di­ents. Say what you will, but that actu­al­ly gets me pumped! I love the feel­ing of com­ing home to a pack­age of hair prod­ucts (even though I know exact­ly what’s in the box). I love that moment of tri­umph when two amaz­ing prod­ucts mix well togeth­er and give me the best wash n’ go I’ve ever seen in my life (until two more amaz­ing prod­ucts mix, and then anoth­er two, and then…you get the point). I even love the explo­ration process of prod­ucts that don’t work out so well, because I am often able to provide hon­est and con­struc­tive feed­back to the busi­ness­es them­selves, and to won­der­ing tran­si­tion­ers and nat­u­rals.

All in all, being a pro­duct junkie doesn’t have to be a ter­ri­ble, life-ruin­ing spi­ral into an abyss of pomades, con­di­tion­ers, curl creams, and refresh­er sprays. There are log­i­cal and very doable steps every pro­duct junkie can take to explore prod­ucts with­out falling into finan­cial ruin. Ear­lier in this piece, I men­tioned some gen­er­al para­me­ters that I set for myself in order to pre­vent a per­son­al reces­sion. Here are the rules I lay out for myself:

1. No more “because so-and-so said” or “they used this in their tuto­ri­al” pur­chas­es. If I have a pro­duct sim­i­lar to what a YouTu­ber used to cre­ate a cer­tain style, I will just use what I have. I refuse to (any longer) rush out to buy a speci­fic mois­tur­iz­er or speci­fic styling pro­duct.

2. Set a bud­get. Each mon­th, I have $20 — $30 set aside to sup­port my pro­duct junkie dal­liances. To some, this may be too much. To oth­ers, not enough. For me, it is just right and a rea­son­able amount of mon­ey to spend on new prod­ucts every mon­th. Since I aim for qual­i­ty and not quan­ti­ty, this amounts to 1 — 2 prod­ucts (may­be 3 — 4 if there’s a sale!) a mon­th. Not a huge over­load, and doesn’t leave me need­ing to purge my stash to make room for oth­er prod­ucts. For me, $20 — $30 means I will skip buy­ing my lunch out 2 or 3 times in a mon­th, or pass up Cof­fee Bean about 4 times.

3. Have stan­dards.  There are cer­tain ingre­di­ents in prod­ucts that are deal­break­ers for me, so I don’t both­er wast­ing my mon­ey if the pro­duct I’m eye­balling con­tains them. Plain and sim­ple.

Are you a pro­duct junkie? Why  or why not? Sound off — all opin­ions and views are wel­come! Just keep in mind that we are all indi­vid­u­als, and must do what works for us. This arti­cle is cer­tain­ly about how I own my pro­duct junkie-ism, but I would love to start a col­lec­tive dis­cus­sion about how every­one either takes own­er­ship of or aban­doned pro­duct junkie ten­den­cies!

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and liv­ing in Los Ange­les, Christi­na is BGLH’s res­i­dent tran­si­tion­ing expert and pro­duct junkie. In addi­tion to lov­ing all things hair, she is a fit­ness novice and advo­cate of wear­ing san­dals year-round. For more infor­ma­tion on tran­si­tion­ing, nat­u­ral hair, and her own hair jour­ney, vis­it maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pic­tures fol­low Christi­na on Insta­gram @maneobjective.

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41 Comments on "I’m a Natural Hair Product Junkie… And I’m Not Trying to Change"

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themanecaptain

I don’t run out to buy prod­ucts any­more most­ly because I live in Canada where a major­i­ty of those prod­ucts are unavail­able or out of reach. I’m actu­al­ly try­ing to fin­ish up the prod­ucts that I have now and i plan to start try­ing Black­owned nat­u­ral hair care line
themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

Mimi
I am a recov­er­ing pro­duct junkie, and I too see noth­ing wrong with that. My love for prod­ucts start­ed because I was put on to nat­u­ral alter­na­tives when I start­ed my loc jour­ney. I want­ed healthy locs and after research­ing on a few blogs, it seemed like pro­duct choic­es were espe­cial­ly impor­tant for main­tain­ing strong locs. From there, I was hooked. But, with that said, I do have sta­ples in all cat­e­gories except for a nice lock­ing gel (I am open to sug­ges­tions of course, lol). I have also got­ten very par­tic­u­lar with the prod­ucts I exper­i­ment with as there… Read more »
My Baby Girls Curls

Per­fect Arti­cle. Sounds like me, lol, even though I am try­ing to find HG’s for my daugh­ters’. I just did a post of all the dif­fer­ent pro­duct brands I have tried http://mybabygirlscurls.blogspot.com/2013/09/hair-productsthe-struggle.html . The good news for me is that I do a pret­ty good job sell­ing what I don’t want/use and then spend the mon­ey right back on oth­er prod­ucts :)

monique

I am a pro­duct junkie and I am bummed that prod­ucts have expi­ra­tion dates. Yes I know things can’t last forever, but I guess I imag­ined every­thing hav­ing at least a 3-yr span. I have enough prod­ucts to stock a small store lol

Nitalya

They should have a PJ con­ven­tion where with all the prod­ucts you have you exchange them if they dont nec­es­sar­i­ly work for your hair or you want to get rid of because of excess clut­ter.

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Napturally Kia

i love shop­ping for hair prod­ucts. i try to lim­it myself to just my curl­box & curlk­it sub­scrip­tions. if i absolute­ly feel the need to pur­chase out­side of that, it’s a $25 lim­it @ Sally’s (do this to get the 15% off coupon for the next mon­th). I’ll buy at least one sta­ple & 2 new prod­ucts to try.
OR if there’s an awe­some BOGO sale on Shea Mois­ture @ the drug­store.

ohmashoes

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