By: Tawanna Parnell of All Things Curly
This is your Public Service Announcement (not really, but yes really, lol!).
I have noticed more frequently than ever, that there seems to be a negative connotation given to the words “Product Junkie”. And I just want to know, why the shade? You may have heard or even given the following advice to struggling naturals….
“Try different products to see what works for you; just don’t become a product junkie.”
“Keep it simple; don’t spend a lot of money on products that don’t work.”
“Girl, I mix my own products. I’m not trying to become a PJ.”
You get the picture, right?
Now for today’s purposes, we’re going to declare that we are referring to PJ’ism in regards to hair products. Obviously, I sell hair products; you’ve heard me state that I’m a product junkie; so you probably know my position on this. But I’d like to challenge your thought process. Let’s debunking the stigma of PJ’ism……
Does anyone give this advice to people who have a huge collection of nail polishes? What about trunk loads of makeup so they can #beatthatface?
My point is we all have guilty pleasures that we choose to spend our money on. We just have to be responsible about it. I have identified 7 highly effective habits of product junkies like myself, who are able to do so effectively and efficiently. You may come up with more habits upon reading, and if so, please share!
First, let’s just answer the question “Why?” Why would a person willingly become a product junkie? Doesn’t “junkie” mean addiction? Aren’t addictions bad?
“Product Junkie” is a term coined in the blogosphere to describe a person who has a lot of products. Usually they are game to acquire the latest and greatest products to hit the market. I’ve heard other terms used for it, but the term itself is inconsequential. The point is there’s an art to this thing. And it’s really very simple, and just uses common sense for the most part.
SET A BUDGET
Let’s just address the elephant in the room right off the bat. Most people do not want to become product junkies because they have a concern for spending a lot of money. That’s completely avoidable, and we’ll get to that, but if it’s really an issue, set a budget. This means determining how often you buy and how much you are willing to spend. Think of it in terms of financial guru Dave Ramsey’s envelope system. Have an envelope for your “play” money. Once that money is gone, don’t buy anything else until you refill it. Some people buy products monthly, quarterly, only during sales and holidays, or only on Black Friday. Buying infrequently may mean you spend more during that transaction, while buying frequently may make you spend less. Only your own personal finances will tell you how much you can afford. So when you see others buying a lot of products, don’t make assumptions. They just might be able to afford it.
LOOK FOR DEALS AND SALES
This may entail a little bit of work on your part. A lot of smart shoppers subscribe to mailing list of products they may be interested in. Or we may “like” their page on Facebook. That way, when the company has sales, we are the first to know. In some cases, companies have FLASH sales that last an hour or a day. So if you aren’t in the know, you just might miss it. Also, like I stated above, look for deals around holidays and especially Black Friday where the deals can be fantastic. And finally, when looking for a deal, consider price per ounce. Sometimes it’s a better stretch of the dollar by buying the larger size product. Even though it may seem to cost a lot, it may actually be cheaper by the ounce. Just do simple division. A $20 16oz product equals $1.25 an ounce. But a $13.50 8oz product equals $1.69 an ounce. It’s actually cheaper to buy the 16oz AND the product will last longer.
JOIN A SWAP BOARD
These are EXCELLENT ways to score products on the cheap. It’s essentially a bunch of curly girls who have bought products that they found they didn’t like, or it didn’t work for their hair. So instead of letting the product go to waste, the post on the board that they would like to either swap for another product or sell their product at a reduced rate based on how much product is left in the container. If you see a product you’ve been dying to try, you send that curly girl a message expressing your interest. You will make her an offer, accept her offer, or see if you have any products you’d part with to give to her in exchange. 80 percent of my stash of products has come this way. The percentage used to be higher, but recently I’ve frequented a sale or two.
KNOW YOUR INGREDIENTS
THIS is what I specialize in! More so than being a product junkie, I am an ingredient junkie. For me, this means staying away from certain harmful and counterproductive ingredients. For you, this may just mean learning what ingredients your hair likes and doesn’t like. Example: Some curlies swear by coconut oil, while for others coconut oil might make their hair hard. Some curlies are sensitive to certain proteins. So if it says hydrolyzed wheat protein in the ingredients list, and your hair hates that, you wouldn’t buy that product. This cuts down on buying a lot of products that essentially won’t work for you because you’ve done your homework to know what your hair doesn’t like. Likewise, if your hair LOVES Silk protein and that is listed in the ingredients, you know this product is going to ROCK! Knowing your ingredients is a lifesaver and a pocketbook saver.
BUY ACCORDING TO SEASON
Just like with clothes, your hair has different needs during different times of the year. So don’t buy a summer product 2 weeks before Fall season begins, no what I’m saying? Otherwise, you’ll be holding that product until warm weather hits again and who knows whether your product will last that long. Mold is not cute, and it’s a waste of $$$$$.
CHANGE UP YOUR HAIRSTYLE
You will learn that some products work better for some styles than others. Some products will give me light and fluffy hair, and others will give more hold and definition. This will largely be a combination of trial and error as well as knowing your ingredients. But this is the fun part! So enjoy it. Otherwise your products may sit for too long and expire on you. So if you don’t like doing your hair, definitely don’t become a product junkie.
DON’T FEEL GUILTY!
If you’re going to feel guilty, you may as well not even do it. No one likes buyer’s remorse. Besides, it’s your money. As long as your priorities are taken care of, spend it how you want to, and care less how others feel about it. I guarantee you, it is them that will be coming to you asking your advice on a product, or asking about a product they can use to fix their situation. Now you’re the natural hair expert!
For some of us, we like the feel of community building we get from buying and swapping products, especially from small Indie Brands. We like the relationships that are built from conversing with other curlies. I mean that is essentially what expos and hair shows are all about! We like the knowledge we gain from learning about ingredients and techniques. It’s more than simply buying another product.
For some of us, getting new products in our mailbox or on our doorstep is like Christmas morning! We love the packaging, the scent, the feel, everything! (This may be where the addiction comes in!) And for some, it’s not that deep or important to them. Both are FINE. One just should not condemn the other. That’s all I’m saying.
Get your PJ on! Until next time….