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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ending the Product Junkie Cycle

Soon, I'll be officially congratulating myself on 3 years being natural, so while reflecting on the journey, I thought about the best hair advice I ever received.  Believe it or not, it was from a natural brother during my first natural year and maybe if I did a better job of listening, I would've never became a product junkie. 

He told me that women will go out and buy lots of products for their hair, but the only thing we needed was rosewater and vegetable glycerin and I think he recommended an oil.  I forgot which one, but I think it may have been jojoba.

His advice wasn't perfect because I quickly found out that I shouldn't use vegetable glycerin during the cold and dry months, so for the past two winters, I packed away my mixture and tried to find the ideal moisturizer for my hair.  I've tried different hair lotions, creams and water based leave-in conditioners, but nothing seemed to work as well as the rosewater and vegetable glycerin mixture. 

This winter, I finally realized that I had to drop the vegetable glycerin, but I didn't need to drop the rosewater.  Now, when my hair is in twists and they start to feel a little dry, I spritz them with rosewater  before going to bed and put on my satin bonnet and I'm all good for the morning.   I'm also trying to seal with oil, but honestly, I'm not noticing a major difference from the oil.  I plan to try different oils for sealing during the winter to see if a particular one strikes me.  Right now, I have a collection of coconut, jojoba, grapeseed, vatika and castor oil.  I've read great things about olive oil, but I refuse to buy another oil until I work with the ones I have.  I'm also trying hot oil treatments to see if that helps any and to help get rid of some of this oil!

I love watching the youtube videos of ladies styling their hair, but some use up  to 3 and 4 products at one time to achieve a particular hairstyle.  Is all that really necessary?  My friend's advice helped me realize that I shouldn't be putting a lot of styling products in my hair.  I have been natural for 3 years and I never had to clarify.  Could that be because I never loaded my hair down with a bunch of products?  If I need to put 3 or 4 styling products on my hair, then I think that's a clear indication that I'm trying to make my hair do something it doesn't need (or want) to do.

Of course, I use more than just rosewater and vegetable glycerin. I have a shampoo (which I'm using less often now due to increased co-washing) and I have a collection of conditioners I use for co-washing, deep conditioning, detangling and leave-in.  However, when it comes to styling, I pretty much keep it simple.  I have one product I use for twisting and I have a balm I like to use for my edges when I pull my hair back into a puff.   

Oh!  I have one more tip I will share.  I read this on a discussion board, but I forgot where I saw it and who said it.  Anyway, the advice was once you find what works for you, stop looking!   I have to remind myself of that often.  I'll read a great product review or someone talks about how great their hair felt after using a particular product and I really want to go out and try it too.  Yeah, and that's why I have shelves full of product that I will probably never use!  With the exception of supporting the natural hair industry and doing my part to help the economy, I see no value in continuing to spend more money trying new styling products when I've already found what works for me.

So after I receive my hair steamer, which should be arriving tomorrow, I'm done! ;-)

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