A Curly Dose of Discipline: Avoiding Product Junkie Disorder
We all know the symptoms of Product Junkie Disorder (a non-medical condition in which men and women become obsessed with and addicted to buying and trying product after product in hair, body and beauty care, often jumping from one to the next without allowing the benefits of the previous product to set in; my own definition). Crowded countertops. Over-loaded shower caddies. Not being able to answer the question “What products do you use?” in less than 30 seconds, or, worse, not being able to answer the question at all.
The symptoms go on and on…But how do you avoid reaching that point of no return? It’s simple.
1) Focus on staples FIRST.
Before you begin trying the latest whatever-it-is, take inventory on what you already have in your arsenal. Every curlie needs: a cleanser, conditioner, leave-in conditioner and (for many, a detangler). Depending on the climate you’re battling, you may also need to keep a frizz fighter handy. And, of course, if you do a lot of blow drying, flat ironing or hot curling, you’ll want a heat protectant. Those are your basics. Every now then, it’s OK to add in an extra product for styling or deep treatment when your ends are screaming for some extra love or you’ve been neglecting your curls.
As for staple tools, I recommend a wide-tooth comb (my favorite is the bone comb), multiple sizes of bobby pins and a wide paddle brush for blow drying and a detangling brush for, well, detangling (my favorite brushes are Denman brushes, known for long-life, durability and how well they get through thick knots without caving under pressure).
2) Give products a fighting chance.
You should give products you already have at least a month of your time before moving on to something else. Nothing works instantly on hair, except scissors. Even cleansers can take more than one use before you feel a true difference in your scalp. Know what results you are actually looking for. And, then truly measure your hair health or length (depending on your hair goals) before trying a new product, you may not notice the changes as they happen if you didn’t pay enough attention to your starting point.
Also, don’t be skimpy with the products; you bought them to use them. If the directions read, “Apply a generous amount,” then don’t be stingy and apply only a pinch of product. By doing this, you are only cheating yourself out of seeing the full benefit of the products. You may be missing out on something that could actually give you the results you are looking for by trying to make the product “last” as long as possible.
3) Don’t go back to your exes.
If you had bad luck with a particular product or set of ingredients, it’s probably not a good idea to go back to the same one you ran away from. For the most part, no two heads of hair are exactly the same; what works for your girlfriend very well may not work for you. Give the product a fighting chance, then move on if it doesn’t work out, never looking back and then donate the remaining product to your girlfriend who loves it.
Guest post bio:
Dr. Paula Chrishon, owner of Houston’s only All-Things-Curly Boutique, Tendrils and Curls, is a trained clinical and forensic psychologist, counselor and educator who has worked and trained in Chicago, New Orleans and as far as Michigan. After her dissertation revealed the connection between low self-esteem in women and a surprising secret hatred for their own hair, Chrishon set out to do something about it. Tendrils and Curls is her answer for women, and men, who need help, guidance and encouragement in writing their lifelong hairstories.