Confessions of a *Reformed* Product Junkie


When I decided to stop chemically treating my hair in November 2009, I had no idea what I was doing. My research began on and eventually graduated to YouTube (which has been an amazing resource) and tons of other sites and blogs. But, as I was getting to know my hair, I was also getting to know a lot of products. I’ll admit, I learned about most of the products by using the hair typing system which many naturals don’t like but it worked for me. Along the way I bought a LOT of products before even big chopping in January 2011. I still have a few from when I transitioned that have never been used. (Please don’t tell my mom. Lol.) The one mistake I’ve made along this journey was buying products I wasn’t sure my hair would like and not realistically possible for only one person to use.

Over the last year and a half I’ve given away and sold products, but I still have too many!!! And, every event I attend usually means more new fun things for me to try. 🙂 This January I took a stand and implemented a “freeze”. I’m proud to report that so far I’ve only purchased four this year.

This past January I BANNED myself from purchasing any new products unless I’m completely out of that particular product. For example, I can only purchase conditioner if I have NO conditioner in my stash. I have also resorted to ONLY trying (new) products if I receive them for free in swag bags. The swag bags have curbed my appetite but with such tiny samples and such big hair, it’s hard sometimes to try a product out of fear that I will run out mid-twist. (Y’all KNOW what I’m talking about!!!)

My 3 year curliversary is in November and I’m proud to say that I know what products work best for me during each season and in different climates. However, if I knew then what I know now, I would have taken some of the steps below to save time and money.

How to Avoid Becoming a Product Junkie
1. Don’t buy a product unless you’ve tried it for FREE (or purchased a trial size) and know it works for you. Yeah, I know that sounds unrealistic but it’s absolutely possible. I attend so many events (and they’re usually FREE) that I receive enough products to probably survive (yes, survive) without needing to purchase for months.

2. Try a curly subscription service like curlBOX or CurlKit. These companies deliver products right to your doorstep for a reasonable fee each month.

3. Swap products with a friend or on a forum. Curly Nikki has a great swap forum. Check it out here.

4. Ask friends for samples of their products if they have something you want to try before you buy.

5. Try EVERYTHING you get for free. Well, obviously not everything. If you don’t straighten your hair you have no use for heat protectant. BUT, you might receive a product with similar ingredients to one you already use that costs less. If you don’t try the new product, you’ll never know whether your hair likes it, which in turn could save you money.

How to Become a Reformed Product Junkie
1. Hit “Plastic” Before Buying Another. My product restriction was inspired the Pan 10 Project on YouTube. You pick 10 beauty products you won’t repurchase until you have “hit pan” on that product. (“Pan” symbolizes/is what foundation come in. So once you hit “pan” you’ve hit the bottom of the product.) I’ve started my own form of Project Pan called Project Plastic. I can’t buy a similar product until the plastic at the bottom of the jar or container is showing. Period.

2. Quit! Set a realistic goal for yourself. Decide how long you will not buy products AT ALL and stick to it. I didn’t set a “date” for myself because I knew I would be tempted to break it. Instead I decided that if I can’t fit the product on my product shelf, I won’t buy it.

I hope these tips were helpful, curlies. If you have any tips on how to avoid becoming (or remaining) a product junkie, please share below.

12 responses to “Confessions of a *Reformed* Product Junkie

  1. What a post! I loved this! I discovered I was an addict when I would spend no less than 40 minutes in a supply store (reading and comparing ingredients). Then I would always leave spending 60 bucks or more. If I didn’t like a product, it would just collect dust as a “back up” even though I never wanted to touch them anyway. I have actually been using your first suggestion for a while now. That is why I have been trying out many products late. I would just wait until what I had was done.

    • Thank you! I should have added that the 4 products I have bought were all on sale (of course-lol). But, at least you were cognizant of how much time you were spending. For a period, I was a heavy online shopper. As, I’m sure you know, when you cruise the web you can easily lose track of time. Smh.

  2. Your story sounds exactly like mine. Now I have resigned to only replace my current products and only try new things if they are really discounted. Its sad when I look at my stash and see how much money is sitting there!

    • I know! Especially now that I realize my hair can survive on shea butter and water alone. If I had NOTHING except for shea butter I would be good. And, here I am buying things my hair doesn’t even like. Lol.

  3. This is a great article!
    Having been natural for almost three years myself, I too have become a product junkie. But I’ve learned what my hair loves and thankfully what it doesn’t.
    Most of the products I have, have been acquired through events and as you know oftentimes there are full size products in the swag bags. 😀
    I have a habit of stock pilling products that my hair loves. Does that make me a product junkie? Lol!!!

  4. Gurl look at all those products! I’m lusting over here but you make very a very valid point. trying the trial size first makes sense. Although i have reformed , some times my product junkie ways slip out here and there lol

    • Trust me, I know. It’s so hard. I’ve just started to clear out my product shelf and I’m so proud of myself…although, I have been keeping a wish list of NEW products. LOL. That probably defeats the purpose.

  5. I just moved and I had no idea that I had accumulated so many products…smh! I will admit, I have an addiction. And since we have moved I have no storage space so now I have no choice but to hit the plastic on my products before purchasing more. LOL

    • oh, you DID move. i read some of your posts and i wasn’t sure if the move had taken place already. it’s also hard NOT to have an addiction when you can get so many things for free. lol.

  6. I LOVE this post! I’m too dang cheap to be a junkie so I only buy from places where I can return or always ask for samples. THe fam and I went to the natural hair meet up last May and we got fabulous swag bags and each of us actually one from the raffles. So I luckily got to try Hair Rules (3 full size products) for free! And of course my hair loves that stuff and it’s about $18 a pop for the 8oz bottles…SMH! And I love how you talk about Curls and MO…lol Love it!

    • Full sizes??That’s amazing. I still haven’t tried Hair Rules…soon I hope. I’m glad you like the post and I agree, it can get very expensive. The most important thing to remember is that sharing is caring. LOL. I’m joking.

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