When I decided to stop chemically treating my hair in November 2009, I had no idea what I was doing. My research began on naturallycurly.com 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.
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.