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.

Leave a Reply

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

Notify of
avatar
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.

trackback

[…] 1. That you will become a “Product Junky.” […]

trackback

[…] 1. That you will become a “Product Junky.” […]

trackback

[…] “Product Junky.” […]

trackback

[…] “Product Junky.” […]

trackback

[…] That you will become a “Product Junky.” […]

trackback

[…] That you will become a “Product Junky.” […]

trackback

[…] That you will become a “Product Junky.” […]

trackback

[…] “Product Junky.” […]

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.

Frecklefaced

What EO’s do you like for your hair especially? I’m loving geranium for everything. Citronellaand Eucalyptus for bug repellent and lavender for itch relief if I get bit.

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… 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 »
wpDiscuz