Minimizing Your Hair Product Obsession
Is being a product junkie getting in the way of your minimalist lifestyle?
If you can be easily found wondering down the hair aisle within the first five minutes of entering any store, you may be a product junkie. Symptoms include unconsciously walking towards the natural hair section in stores, sudden memory loss when attempting to recall the results of products you already own, and fantasizing about future scenarios where you might need all of the products you own.
That feeling of needing to buy every new hair product we see, read, or hear about adds clutter to our lives. As Black people, our hair obsession is deeply rooted in a history of beauty standards that were never meant for us. We have become so used to piling products into our bathroom cupboards and onto our hair hoping for a magic potion to help us fit the standard. Yet, it won’t happen. Buying more products isn’t the answer.
I get it, your natural hair blogger recently reviewed a new leave-in that’s supposedly great for sealing. And, the last time you were in Target you noticed a new hair gel advertisement as you walked to the checkout. You’ve been waiting to try that too. In this consumerism culture it’s easy to find new products to try and ample enough reasons why you should. But, do you need to have two opened conditioner bottles in the shower, one on the floor next to the shower, and one in the cabinet?
I know, it’s hard to decipher when to buy and when it’s just those sneaky product junkie symptoms kicking in. Ask yourself these questions the next time you find yourself staring down a shelf of magic hair potions in a bottle:
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN DECIDING TO PURCHASE ANOTHER HAIR PRODUCT
1| Why am I here?
Compulsive buyers often shop as retail therapy. Maybe you’ve just had an argument with your husband. Maybe your review at work wasn’t that positive. Maybe you’re masking insecurities about your hair by purchasing a new ‘miracle’ product. Minimalist shoppers are aware of triggers that lead to compulsive shopping behaviors.
2| Do I need this?
This is one question you better get used to when living minimally. If you do not have a product at home that can give you the same results then you may need it. If you haven’t given the products at home a fair shot then you may not need it.
3| What if I wait?
Purchase for now. Living minimally is constantly challenging yourself to live in the now. Resist the impulse to purchase in advance out of fear a product may discontinue, the formula of a product may change, or the stores will no longer have it in stock. The fact is you can not predict what the future will hold. Another container of hair masque won’t change that.
4|Do I have space in my home for it?
Saying, “I’ll make it fit” doesn’t suffice as an answer either. Sure you can always hide, stuff, and find new places for products you don’t need. Less clutter in the bathroom has the same effects as everywhere else in your home. Open up space for washday to be more meditative and less stressful.
Try these tips to help you organize, experiment, and store your hair products to fit your minimalist lifestyle:
HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR HAIR PRODUCTS TO FIT YOUR MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE
1| Purchase sample size products.
Buy smaller versions of a product to experiment with until you find ones that you love.
2| Prioritize purchasing products with dual purposes.
Two for one products save you money and time while reducing the urge to hoard accumulate products you don’t need. A leave-in with enough hold to last a full workday or a product that doubles as a leave-in and a deep conditioner is a win.
3| Try new products on clean hair and scalp for clearer results.
I know it sounds like a no-brainer but when washday is two days away and you’ve got a date tonight you may not want to try that new shine mist on top of dirty hair. Don’t do it. How will you tell if it truly worked?
4| Track product usage and results on your phone.
Any note taking app will allow you to create a folder just for this purpose, and give you portable access to it. Include dates and active ingredients to identify patterns. Record what you liked and disliked about each product. Chronicle each one with pictures of your hair from day one and day two after use.
5| Use a product in it’s entirety before purchasing another one.
Unless your skin has become irritated or negatively affected by a product, use it up before buying something else to replace it with. This gives you and your hair time to adjust to it. How long a product will take to work on your hair is variable. Finishing the whole bottle sets a consistent time frame.
6| Pay attention to expiration dates.
Periodically, toss out anything past it’s date. This ensures that you are using the product while it is fully effective. No one likes being wasteful, so try to be more conscious of using products more productively.
7|Don’t keep gifts you won’t use on a ‘just in case’ basis.
Re-gift it or give it away. Homeless shelters often take beauty and healthcare product donations.
Minimalist living teaches that less is more. The less we obsess over products that promises miraculous hair results the more we may grow to love our own hair.
Ariel and Ron have lived in 8 cities in the past year since quitting 9-5 jobs for a life of slow travel. Living minimally for travel has led them to embrace a more conscious lifestyle over all. In their travels, they collect stories on nomadic and sustainable living to normalize the lifestyle in society. You can find them working at local coffeehouses, wandering through small shops, or searching for vegan eats.
“We travel not to sight see but to soul see. We started this journey to challenge ourselves, to uncover truths about who we are, what we want in life, and the role we play in this world.”