by Latoya of BlackHairMedia.com
Becoming a product junkie is so easy nowadays. With a large YouTube and blogging natural hair community, we are bombarded with a lot of information. Every other day, there is a new fad that every naturalista must try. And although the plethora of information is helpful, it can also be confusing. At least, for me it was. I tried countless twisting creams, conditioners, shampoos, brushes, combs, and tons of other products that crowded by bathroom cabinet. So to help you avoid the product junkie habit, here are some tips to fine tune your product stash without breaking the bank.
Understand Your Hair’s Needs
Many times, product junkism occurs because women are having issues with their hair so they buy products aimlessly in hopes to solve the problem. Before you head out to the beauty supply store, take some time to assess the problem first. If your hair is breaking, first try to determine why your hair is breaking. Does your hair feel dry? Is it over-moisturized? (Yes, your hair can be over-moisturized.) Have you gone H.A.M. with heat? First determine the problem, then choose a solution. The solution may involve a new product, or it may simply involve a change in your hair techniques.
Natural hair has different needs than relaxed hair. So the best way to determine what your natural hair likes is to…try products. But to save your wallet some cash, try product samples before you commit to the purchase of an expensive product that may not work. There are many ways to attain samples. If you attend a hair show or meetup, you will get a product swag bag filled with samples. Also, many of the vendor tables will have additional samples available. You can also request samples — for free or at a nominal cost — online from respective companies. Also, stores like Sephora, have product samples or will even make a product sample for you to try at home. There are even subscription boxes like CurlBOX and Curlkit, that for about $20 a month, send you sample and full-size products to try.
Assess Your Product Stash
Once you understand your hair’s needs and have tried product samples, assess your stash. What products work well in your hair? Which don’t? Do you like products with a heavier consistency? Are there certain ingredients that your hair likes? Does your hair seem to like a particular product line? Which products aren’t working for you and why? Ask yourself these types of questions. Then, armed with this knowledge, replenish your stash.
Read the First Five Ingredients
Let’s revisit assessment and go a little bit further. An important part of your assessment is reading the first five ingredients. The first five ingredients represent the key ingredients for a product. When assessing your products, determine if there are any common ingredients that you hair does (or doesn’t) like. Some common ingredients include: shea butter, aloe vera, olive oil, coconut oil, vegetable glycerin, honey, avocado oil, castor oil, and jojoba oil. When starting your natural hair journey, I recommend purchasing the raw ingredients. It will help you pinpoint, which ingredients work well in your hair. If they don’t work with your hair, there are tons of alternate uses. You can use some of these products on your skin or even to cook. It is a win- win situation.
Participate in a Product Swap
So, what do you do with all the products you’ve already amassed? Participate in a product swap. You can either do an informal swap with friends or swap products at your next local meetup. Just because a product didn’t work for you doesn’t mean it’s a dud. It just means, it doesn’t work for your particular hair needs. If product swaps aren’t readily available to you, don’t forget that some retailers accept returns — no questions asked. So before you purchase a product, ask for the store’s return policy.