Product Junkie: Ending the Fix

Kicking The Product Junkie Habit

The irony of my shopping spree these past few months, is that I will probably go back to what I used in the good old days: Garnier Fructis (leave-in conditioner, conditioner) or Suave, castor oil (hard or liquid), and aloe vera. That’s all I really need.

All the other stuff I have, I’m just going to use up. I do that by mixing a lot of them together.

Cheap Conditioner

I put castor oil, and other oils, like carrot and tea tree, into my Suave Conditioner to use it as a quasi-deep conditioner. I leave it in overnight or under an hour.

Product(s) I Hate

If I have a product I hate, I’ll slather it on, then sit under the dryer so my hair will drink it up. I do this after I’ve shampooed and (not deep) conditioned my hair. Getting it nearly streaky clean makes it easier for my hair to drink up the products.

Staying Cheap

I mix the cheap with the almost-pricey products. I like buying a bottle of hair / skin oil for $1.25. I like buying conditioner for .79 to .99 cents. I aim not to go higher than $5 for a 24-32oz bottle of castor oil or aloe vera.

Buying Bulk

I have bought products in bulk, but I’ve discovered that unless it is aloe vera, castor oil or Garnier Fructis, there’s no point. I don’t use these other items with the same frequency.

My experimenting days with different products will end. I may still pick up an item, but I need to gradually reduce my inventory of stuff. I hate clutter.

My Mom’s Hair

I use up product by putting some in my Mom’s hair. She’s (finally) a natural, and has such pretty curly hair. She said she hasn’t seen her natural hair in years, and didn’t know it was curly.

I’ve been washing, deep conditioning, and roller setting her hair. I give her a next-to-near-salon experience. She claims I’ve been saving her about $100 each time I do her hair.

I am astounded. I had no idea they’ve gotten that expensive.

In this economy, and in general, it’s good to realize that to take care of one’s hair doesn’t have to break the bank. Being frugal works just as well.

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Hair A Few More: Leave-In Conditioners


Hair Length Goal

I did not have a particular hair length goal before. I simply wanted to know how to treat my hair well, and to be satisfied with the results. I’ve worn my hair natural (without relaxers, perms, or any other kind of toxic chemicals) most of my life. My styling and treatment of it was hit and mostly miss. Now-a-days, I plait my hair (10 braids), and keep it in a bun. I can no longer two-strand twist, that makes it knotty. I will wash it while it is in braids, including the use of shampoo about once a month.

Currently, my hair reaches bra-strap and I have a medium length torso. I am aiming for mid-back or waist-length by February 2010. I wont stress myself to reach that goal. If I make it fine, if not, no big deal. My hair grows fastest and strongest, when I get into an exercise routine and wash weekly. I noticed that my vitamin and breakfast drink mixes made a big difference. I can only drink my concoction in the summer, because I can’t take cold food or drink unless it is boiling hot outside.

I really like this period of time we are in. The best hair products are available for curly, textured, kinky, nappy hair. It’s no longer about using grease as the solution to every hair problem. My hair issues used to be dryness, a lack of moisture, and fighting with the comb – yanking out fistfuls of it – after washing it.

Holy Grail of Moisture

I’m not on any search for a Holy Grail of great products. However, it’s great not to be dependent on any one company or product. I’ve found three new moisturizing staples to go along with my favorite Garnier Fructis Leave-In Conditioner. One is Organics Olive Oil Leave-In Conditioner and their other product is Shea Butter Detangling Moisturizing Hair Lotion.

My hair drinks these two products. They feel a bit sticky on the hands, especially the Shea Butter. I am already in love with the Organics Olive Oil Leave-In Conditioner. It is light, doesn’t go on heavy or greasy, and best of it all, it does make the hair easier to comb. Not that I am into combing my hair anymore, but it’s handy to have.

I use the BioInfusion Leave-In Conditioner right after I wash my hair. It is definitely not sticky. It’s suitable. I’m not sure how great it is. My hair drinks this product also. It doesn’t leave my hair dry, so right now, I consider myself satisfied with my entire collection of Leave-In Conditioners.

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Airlines, the TSA, and Post-Mardi Gras Thoughts

Well, I ate as much Moon Pie and candy as I could tolerate and them some. Caught a few stuffed bears and dolls, and lots and lots of beads! Wheeeee! I had an awesome time.

The candy was handy on the plane ride(s) back. My throat was so dry and ticklish: I caught a cold a few days after arriving on my trip. It never used to happen until the commercial airlines started re-circulating their filthy, polluted, diseased air. Now, I expect it each and every time without fail.

I want to thank the TSA for confiscating my bottled water. I didn’t realize a bottle of water could be so dangerous. It’s not like I was dehydrated. Thank goodness I only had a cold, and not a more serious condition requiring water. Oh, wait, what am I saying, I did need the water. I have several acronyms for TSA, but I don’t like to use profanity on my blog.

I wont even talk about having to take out my liquids, in 1 ounce to 3 ounces containers for their extremely careful perusal. Yes, I know, products like Tea Tree Oil, Jergens skin cream, and hair conditioners can be made into weapons of mass destruction. Do they hire based on the lowest test scores?

So, I’m walking around the airport pulling my jeans up, because wearing a belt is a time waster. Laced shoes, sneakers or boots (with metal) are a lost cause. I’m starting to think carrying luggage to bring on board the plane is a non-starter. It’s heavy, and by the second leg of my flight – trying to make a connection is so much fun! – I’m exhausted. But I’ll be damned if I’m paying them $15 to lose my luggage. I just may consider a service that sends luggage ahead of you.

I attended every Mardi Gras that was available to attend. I even had the pleasure of some one’s well reared southern child heave a loogie into my hair from above. I am glad I didn’t have superpowers or a machine gun at the time, because a lot of people who have been massacred. I calmed down a few hours later. I have to realize it’s my fate to have teenage boys toss stuff at me – it happens every few years.

My hair was braided – it’s still braided – when later I wiped it clean with a warm, water soaked, paper towel. I haven’t washed it since February 13th, because I have a cold. I didn’t want to wash right before the trip, and now is not a good time. Once I got home, I opened my hair, saturated with Garnier Fructis Leave-In Conditioner, and re-braided.

I cannot wait to wash my hair, and this time I am going to use shampoo to make it squeaky clean.

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Conditioners: Tresemme Vitamin E – Moisture Rich, and others

Tresemme Vitamin E – Moisture Rich

I like my hair conditioners extremely thick (like some other things, snicker). It has to feel like I am putting custard in my hair. It doesn’t respond well to the thin-gruel, watery stuff. Any product with that kind of consistency does nothing for me, and makes it harder for me to comb my hair after it dries.

Tresemme leaves my hair feeling like I used shampoo. I didn’t like that. I require a conditioner that detangles, and leaves my hair feeling soft and silky. While I don’t think that products for straight or relaxed hair are any different from nappy, coily, kinky, textured 4a-4z hair, I will stay away from some products favored by them. I suspect it just wasn’t created for my needs.

My favorite cocktails

I read and hear a lot about Aphogee, especially on YouTube. It leaves the hair hard. I’m sure that is welcomed by those who want to make their hair “stronger”, but on me that is a recipe for extreme breakage.

I’ve purchased two packets of Henna. It’s been two years since the last application. I will give it a try in a few weeks. Does it really work? Dunno. Since my friend, and everyone swears by it – it didn’t cause me any grief last time – I figure, “Why not?”

I need moisture. I require moisture. Anything that feels like it is stripping my hair is a no-no. Way back in the past, during my ignorant years, I thought the squeaky clean feeling was great for my hair. All it did was make it impossible to comb, even with a watery conditioner. Why that never computed into trying something better, I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t care as much. Even when I was abusive to my hair it reached shoulder-length.

Unable to resist my product junky inclinations, I bought more conditioning products from Garnier: Instant Melting Conditioner, and the Strength and Repair Melting Masque.

I’m always looking for conditioners that do the following things: adds moisture, detangles (for a silky feel), and claims to strengthen the hair.

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Hair Again – Vanity Check – hair washing routine

Oh, joy. Washing hair is a drag in the winter. I prefer to wash in warm weather, it is easier to do, because I don’t worry about a completely dry scalp. Unlike other mortal beings, I can’t walk about with a damp scalp. It must be nearly bone dry.

Last I’ve checked my hair length may have been February 2008. I figure I’d take a look and review my hair washing routine.

The Lazy Method

I apply a moisturizing shampoo directly to the scalp. I don’t shampoo often, but the stink smell of sweat was getting to me.

I also added a bit of pre-shampoo oil to the major part at the top of my head. That area gets dry and brittle so I wanted to protect the hair in that area.

At the same time, I slather the ends of my twists with heavy creamy conditioner, before I open my hair. That way I never have a knot that my hair doesn’t slip out of.

I don’t use a comb.

I open all the twists, the hair is basically in two parts. I make two big twists and wait a bit for the conditioner to sink in. It’s winter, and I’m not hanging around long to catch a cold.

I wash my hair – scalp first with a moderately vigorous scrub. I spend the rest just rinsing, until the hair doesn’t feel that slippery. I make about 3-4 parts on the two sides, and carefully wash into between the parts. I’ve been shocked in the past how much product stays in my hair if I don’t let the water get into every section.

Wrap with a towel. Hair is left damp.

I rub in Garnier Fructis Moisture Works Fortifying Cream Conditioner, it makes parting the hair easier.

I also put in some heat protector.

I blow dry my hair with my favorite! The Conair Hot Air Styler has a built in comb. Be careful, it will take out a lot a hair if one is not gentle! Some days I yank out a lot. I shed hair like a cat.

I flat-ironed the ends a little. My hair type is very shrinky-dink, so no matter what I do, right after a blow-out or flat iron, it is going to shrink. I literally ran to take these pictures before I lost a couple of inches.

I finished “styling” with a heavy application of castor oil. Total time was a little over 2 hours.

Last note: It may sound lame, but I’ll say it again: my hair has never EVAH! been this long before. I think keeping stress low, drinking water, keeping the hair moist (not brittle dry), and using conditioner are very important.

Before

After

After
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I Like Shopping For Hair Products But

I’m not willing to spend any money on the boutique stuff. There is a great deal of expensive products out there. I notice that companies are really focusing on kinky, curly and dry hair. That’s great that they’re realizing not everyone has oily straight hair.

Once I see that a bottle of magic hair potion, goes for $12-$24.95 at 6-8 ounces, I go, “No way. It’s not happening.” Even if the product promised to make hair grow one inch a month, I still wouldn’t fork over the money.

That Smell

Why do companies believe that hair (or skin care) products should include so much fragrance?

Not everyone wants to smell like melons, apples, oranges or mangoes. (Love the taste of mangoes, I just don’t want to wear them.)

How about a fragrance free sample? Or maybe a separate bottle or packet to add the scent?

I’ve been mixing my own concoctions lately and the blessing is that I can add the scent(s) later. The raw ingredients I put in are basically odorless. There are a lot of products I do like, but after a while that smell be killing!

Samples and Experimenting

I’ve found that what works for me are inexpensive products. I started out looking for cheap items, and found I can stay on the natural bandwagon. Reasonably priced products are not out of reach. I reach for generic items as much as brand name products just to check quality.

At times, there is no difference.

I say this, because I see that in some forums women who think of going natural think they need to spend a lot of money. I’ve even read that being natural is expensive. At first, I find that sentiment hilarious. (Don’t mind me I laugh at inappropriate things.)

I think a woman who’s going natural has to focus on the specific hair problem and seek an inexpensive remedy:

  • If it’s dry, look for moisture.
  • If it’s sticky from product buildup, search for a clarifying product.
  • If it’s hard to comb, find a detangler. In the case of natural hair, several steps to detangle may be required.

Frankly, I wish companies would sell more items in the sample size. I found Garnier Fructis at Wal-Mart, because of the samples.

Maybe I’ll write and ask for a super-rich creamy product – sans the fragrance.

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Garnier Fructis

Dry Hair

Everyone has different hair requirements. I am a 4a-z with hair that is fine, medium density, kinky, coily, textured, cottony, or nappy. It is rarely hard and never coarse.

Did I mention how fragile and delicate my hair is?

I envy people who can comb, flat iron, and blow dry nearly every day. It’s hard keeping my hands out of my hair. At a minimum, I let three days pass before I comb it again.

What I want from a hair product is that it leaves my hair feeling soft, moisturized, and easy to comb. It’s amazing how many products do the first two and not the last one!

Research

Periodically, I must switch products.

I read hair boards, searching for conditioners and gels with the best reviews. I evaluate based on hair type. I don’t ignore other hair types. I note those with similar problems: dry hair, often brittle, which leads to breakage.

Garnier Fructis Moisture Works Fortifying Cream Conditioner

For now, this product works. I love the smell, and I can comb my hair after I’ve washed with it.

Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave-In Conditioning Cream

The first time I used this product it left my hair a sticky, clumpy mess with a lot of white residue. I don’t know if I finally figured out how to use it or what, but I love this stuff now.

It is excellent for helping me unravel my twists or plaits. The drier my hair is the tighter it gets. This product makes my hair slide apart wonderfully and easily. There’s no snapping plaits apart with this.

Overall, I’m satisfied with Garnier Fructis for now.

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