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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ohmashoes

Pro­tect your hair from dry­ness and frizz

SATIN LINED BEANIE for ONLY $19.99

Order from eBay at http://www.ebay.com/itm/181970037965? or on Ama­zon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A1L8Z7M

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.

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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.

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

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 :)

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 »
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

miamimi

I am a pro­duct junkie but with stan­dards LOL. Like you I allot about 20–30 dol­lars as pro­duct mon­ey. Some­times I use it to replace prod­ucts I used and like, some­times I buy a new pro­duct i want to try. If the prod­ucts don’t work for me I give them to my cousins or I have a pro­duct boot give away in which I invite local nat­u­ral hair mem­bers to take what they want. Also regard­ing new prod­ucts I do my research first. But some peo­ple love shoes, some live jew­el­ry, some love coach bags.…i love prod­ucts.

Thegoodbadugly
I’m a PJ because of an obses­sion that devel­oped of only want­i­ng to use organ­ic and “nat­u­ral” prod­ucts when I devel­oped allergies, ‘dis­cov­ered’ that oth­er nat­u­ral­is­tas were able to accom­plish and main­tain healthy hair by mix­ing and spritz­ing DIY con­coc­tions, and my hair wasn’t respond­ing favor­ably to my cur­rent sta­ples. No bud­get — I would pay $30 for 4 oz of 1 pro­duct. Avoid­ed main­stream prod­ucts for a long time and final­ly in a moment of des­per­a­tion (and decreased sen­si­tiv­i­ties) bought sev­er­al As I Am prod­ucts and had a big “Ahh­hh” moment. I am now very relieved to have some­thing… Read more »
Monica
Seri­ous­ly? Girl, no tea, no shade but African Amer­i­cans spent $507 bil­lion in 2009 on hair care and per­son­al groom­ing items, accord­ing to an annu­al report pub­lished by Tar­get Mar­ket News. How much of that is going back into our com­mu­ni­ties. We are quick to point to the wealth gap, but fail to acknowl­edge most of our wealth is (lit­er­al­ly) on our heads. You said that you spend about $360 a year on hair prod­ucts. It doesn’t seem like a lot of mon­ey. What if you used that mon­ey to set up an affil­i­ate web­site and set up a Google… Read more »
Christina Patrice

Hi Mon­i­ca, I’m not sure what you mean by this. Are you sug­gest­ing that mon­ey spent on prod­ucts be oth­er­wise invest­ed?

Monica

Yes Christi­na, that’s exact­ly what I mean. 

It’s your mon­ey and your deci­sion how­ev­er, I think we all should take a look at how we feed into the vicious cycle of eco­nom­ic dis­par­i­ty. We all need food, shel­ter, and cloth­ing. What need is filled by the rows and rows of black care prod­ucts pre­vi­ous­ly and nat­u­ral black hair care prod­ucts now? Is there a real need or was it man­u­fac­tured prof­it off our inse­cu­ri­ties? Could that eco­nom­ic pow­er be used else­where?

miamimi

what if we have the mon­ey to buy prod­ucts AND donate? would that also be a prob­lem? i bud­get 30 dol­lars month­ly as mad mon­ey. If it works in your bud­get then fine, If you are pay­ing Carol’s Daugh­ter before pay­ing bills then not fine.

Miss Elisa K.
Dur­ing my research of nat­u­ral hair, I thought I may not have a choice but to be a pro­duct junkie if I want­ed my styles to turn out “right.” But after a year of rock­ing my nat­u­ral hair and try­ing many prod­ucts and many meth­ods, the only thing that works best on my hair is a sul­fate free sham­poo and con­di­tion­er (Shea Mois­ture or any brand on sale), I mix my own pre-poo with any thick con­di­tion­er (Suave Humec­tant) and my own spe­cial ingre­di­ents, apple cider vine­gar cleans­ing rin­se, a spray mix of water, biot­in, and Aphogee leave-in, any oil… Read more »
cacey

i have my moments ;)

Jeanetta

I am a PJ when it comes to oils, espe­cial­ly essen­tial oils. I have my sta­ples (Gar­nier con­di­tion­er, ACV, bak­ing soda, aloe vera gel) but I am always exper­i­ment­ing with essen­tial oils! I have about 20 dif­fer­ent ones in my fridge now and there are so many more I want to try! My 4c hair LOVES them.

Lola

I was nev­er a pro­duct junkie; I love going into hair aisle and look­ing at prod­ucts, but I nev­er buy because I’m cheap and I also like to keep it sim­ple!

Curly Queen

I am a pj and I’m not about to give up my habit any time soon but I have made some adjust­ments to my buy­ing. I’m now focused on my small­er com­pa­nies and unique prod­ucts. I already have a sham­poo, con­di­tion­er and leave-in that I love so I’m no longer search­ing. I do hate the pro­duct pile up and the thought of prod­ucts going bad so I try and give away prod­ucts when­ev­er I can. I even had a give­away on my FB page and I still have pro­duct left!

TINA SMITH

I WAS A PJ BEFORE GOING NATURAL. BUT THERE SEEMS TO BE MORE INTERESTING PRODUCTS FOR NATURAL HAIR. I HAVE WAY TOO MUCH STUFF AND BEING THAT I HAVE MY STAPLES IT WASTEFUL AND POINTLESS FOR ME BUT VERY HARD TO STOP LOL. I JUST SOLD SOME ITEMS TO A FRIEND, ALSO GIVE STUFF TO MY FIANCE TO USE. I REALLY NEED TO STOP LOL

Pynkstarr

I am not a pro­duct junkie but not because I don’t like explor­ing new things but because I am unem­ployed. So when­ev­er I have mon­ey I do try and buy some­thing I’ve nev­er tried before.…but because I rarely have extra mon­ey Im able to use the entire pro­duct. Not real­ly sure if this clas­si­fies as a junkie but I real­ly love New prod­ucts. Thanks for this post.

JENNID

Want to know some­thing the DIY men­tal­i­ty is what cured my pro­duct junky stage. When I found out they I could just buy those great ingre­di­ents I was look­ing for in com­mer­cial and nat­u­ral lines in bulk I was set! I mean a pound of shea but­ter some oils etc goes a long way. The actu­al time it takes to make the­se prod­ucts is laugh­able because if your mak­ing small batch­es it real­ly doest take that long. Plus I can make an ok com­mer­cial pro­duct 10x bet­ter by using some oils and aloe to give them a boost.

Aisha

I became a pro­duct junkie as well when I start­ed my nat­u­ral jour­ney. I believed I saved mon­ey since I dis­con­tin­ued my biweek­ly vis­its to the salon. It cost me between $40-$100.00 a vis­it depend­ing on what I was hav­ing done. So, the amount of mon­ey I spend on prod­ucts are small in com­par­ison to going to hair­styl­ists on a reg­u­lar basis.

Toni

I love try­ing new things, but oth­er than the expense, I absolute­ly HATE the pile up of used-once prod­ucts. I feel bad about throw­ing them out, but have no use for them. There should be pro­duct junkie swap par­ties.

Cece Danielle

While I was tran­si­tion­ing, I was a pro­duct junkie until I got tired of buy­ing so many prod­ucts and have them not give me the desired results. So now I only buy things when I’m run­ning low on them. If I do buy a new pro­duct I watch count­less videos on youtube of wom­en with my own tex­ture using them. I can’t afford to spend my mon­ey on every pro­duct I see, I’m a col­lege stu­dent.

Aree
I am not a pro­duct junkie. I actu­al­ly used more prod­ucts when relaxed then I do now lol. After 2 years I learned what works for my hair. I make all my hair prod­ucts. I find com­pa­nies always end up chang­ing some­thing in their prod­ucts to either save mon­ey or what­ev­er. When that hap­pens then I have to look for a dif­fer­ent pro­duct which a store close to me might not have. So.…I make my own. Also my duaghter has sen­si­tive skin. So it’s eas­ier mak­ing my own so I know all that’s in it. I will say though, that I… Read more »
BrinkyDinks

I tend to turn into a pj when I go back home to The States to vis­it. Amer­i­can prod­ucts can be quite pricey in the UK. So I try to stock up on sta­ples and prod­ucts I might want to try regard­less of sale. Once had Oyin’s Hair Dew expressed shipped to me so I got it in time before I left back to Europe. The ship­ping was near­ly dou­ble the price of the pro­duct but when con­vert­ed over was still cheap­er than buy­ing the pro­duct online in the UK. -_–

Dotty
Yes we in the UK are real­ly not able to expe­ri­ence nat­u­ral prod­ucts with­out prepar­ing to spend to pay the costs the importers pay on ship­ping from the US. I’ve always thought that if I go to NYC, I am mak­ing it a point to go to Ricky’s. Qhemet is my favourite brand but the only place that does the Bur­dock Root and Moringa charges about $28.40 for each item. I see my hair prod­ucts as a wor­thy invest­ment. I have tred many brands and Oyin and Qhemet have items that work best for my dense 4c. When Sheamois­ture arrived… Read more »
BrinkyDinks

Have you tried Curl Junkie? British Curlies have stopped stock­ing it (typ­i­cal!) but the deep con­di­tion­ers (con­di­tion­ers in gen­er­al) are real­ly good. Very mois­tur­iz­ing and tons of slip. Again they cost an arm and a leg. I’m not real­ly into Shea Mois­ture like you I know what works and doesn’t work for my hair. NYC is my home­town. I wouldn’t rec­om­mend get­ting prod­ucts from Ricky’s. They tend to add extra $$$ to every­thing. Eco­der­mis and Wolf­ber­ry is good for prod­ucts, and I prefer to sup­port small busi­ness­es.

ayisha

Hi Ladies,
I am a pro­duct junkie, which i con­sid­er more of a hob­by and some­thing i love to do. I am nat­u­ral, live in Zurich and i nev­er go to the saloon which could eas­i­ly cost me about 150$ a mon­th, Yes it is that expen­sive.…. Instead ‚i do my own hair and i love try­ing new prod­ucts based on cer­tain ingre­di­ents . It makes me hap­py and i can afford it as a treat with­out break­ing the bank.

neochasez

Sprich­st du Deutsch? I’m in Ger­many… :)

I’d love to be a pro­duct junkie, but I’m not about to pay ridicu­lous prices to import hair goods, though I do buy prod­ucts en masse when­ev­er I’m in the US. I also have luck with leave-in con­di­tion­ers at my local TK Maxx (Germany’s ver­sion of TJ Maxx). But I’ve come to real­ly enjoy mak­ing my own prod­ucts because it ful­fills the cre­ative side in me, while sav­ing mon­ey.

Nancy

I should say that when I am back home (Flori­da) I go a lit­tle cra­zier cause there is so much stuff!!

Nancy

Total pj & ok with it. I only pur­chase new prod­ucts when I’m pick­ing up my sta­ples, so i spend about £50 every few months. Like you, I have no-no ingre­di­ents, so will avoid cer­tain prod­ucts no mat­ter the claims. I keep a list. I try 1 new thing every few months & If I like it, it becomes a sta­ple.

TWA4now
I use run out and buy what­ev­er most YouTu­bers were using but now I don’t. I real­ized all too soon that pro­duct or even hair­style was NOT going to give me dupli­cate results. Wow, I too, I have learned to tone down the PJ in me. I love try­ing out prod­ucts… recent­ly Miss Jessy’s prod­ucts (it did NOT work for me, but I would’ve known unless I tried it:)). I love Jane Carter and Qhemet Bio­log­ics prod­ucts! As we speak, I want to try a few more. I do try bud­get. $20-$30 is about right for me too. Try it… Read more »
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