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Are You a Product Junkie? Is That Good or Bad?

“There’s no need for 100 different products to properly take care of one person’s head of hair.”

“It’s a rush that I get,” Tisha Prater said, explaining the feeling she gets upon entering Ulta, her favorite beauty supply store. “I go in there and know I’m going to get something, but I don’t know what.”

Confessing to spending more than $80 on her latest shopping spree at the store, Prater admitted that although she bought a few items that she needed to flat iron her naturally 3c curls, she also bought some things that she knew she didn’t need.

“I talked myself into buying more combs even though I have a basket of combs at home, but I felt as though I needed a brand new one,” she said. “And I bought more duckbills clips even though I have a thousand of those,” Prater said.

And Prater isn’t alone. There are thousands of other natural women who are struggling with an addiction to buying hair products, which is commonly known as “product junkyism.” Unlike a regular shopping addict, hair product junkies only buy tools or products that claim to be beneficial to their hair.

While some people in the natural community frown upon being a product junkie, others embrace it.

“I know I’m a product junkie and I am proud of it,” Julissa Norman said.

Norman, a 29 year-old substitute teacher who has shoulder length kinky-curly hair says she relishes in all of the new products on the market because when she first went natural four years ago, there weren’t even half of the products now available on the shelf.

“Before, I felt as though I had to pick and choose which product I was going to tolerate because I knew they weren’t made with my hair in mind,” Norman explained.

“Now, I personally feel like a kid in the candy store whenever I go to Target or Whole Foods to shop for hair products,” Norman said. “It’s a great feeling knowing you are going to have more than one or two options when looking for a particular product that actually works.”

While some women are happy with the abundance of products options they have for their natural hair, others see it as excessive.

“There’s no need for 100 different products to properly take care of one person’s head of hair,” Felicia Montgomery said.

As a self-professed reformed product junkie, Montgomery decided to stop buying any and every product once she felt companies started to take advantage of what she calls the “natural hair boom.”

“Before a lot of women were going natural, there were only a few companies catering to women with natural hair and now you see every line trying to produce a product with horrible ingredients in it, slap an organic label on it, and target it to us,” Montgomery said. “It’s just not right.”

Montgomery credits her success of no longer being a product junkie to self-awareness.

“I started to read the ingredients on products and do my research,” she explains. “My fascination with products changed once I realized why most of them didn’t do what they claimed they would do. The ingredients were garbage!” Montgomery said.


“It’s very easy to get lost in the sea of natural hair products.”

It is Montgomery’s opinion that once women who struggle with product junkyism realize exactly what they put in their hair isn’t necessarily the best for their hair, they will stop buying new products. But for all women that is not the problem.

Prater, who not only shops for products and tools for her hair, but also her daughter’s curly locks, credits her addiction also to habit.

“On a normal day when I just want to get out the house [I got to Ulta] because it just makes me feel good,” she said. “I leave feeling really good. It’s not until I leave that I have buyer’s remorse.”

So what’s a girl to do?

“You have to exercise restraint,” Norman said.

While she admits she is a product junkie, she claims to know when to put her credit card away.

“It’s very easy to get lost in the sea of natural hair products, but that’s why I put myself on a monthly spending limit, so I don’t go overboard,” Norman said.

For those who are tired of holding the title “product junkie,” but still struggle with the thought of not having the next best thing for natural hair, there are other options to choose from. is a site where you can buy and sell gently used natural hair products for a fraction of the retail price. There you can get your fix without the full amount of guilt of buying an expensive product that you may not like. NaturallyCurly’s CurlTalk also has swap boards.

You can also turn to other naturals for help by attending natural hair meet-ups in your area. Some meet-ups will feature a product swap, where attendees bring in products they didn’t find useful. Attendees can then choose from products other people brought in. This way you’re not paying to try another product and also giving away a product that would have otherwise contributed to your unused collection.

If all else fails, you can always get help from someone you live with to help you break your addiction. For Prater, that is her husband.

“He helps me try to keep my spending on track, Prater says. “He tells me stop buying things and I think that helps me.”

I Can’t Work Out Because My Hair…
working out

Some women pass on working out because of their hair

“I think that’s a myth,” Danielle Andrews said when asked what she thought of women who pass on working out because of their hairstyle.

“I used to be a kick-boxing instructor and I would see many women wearing their hair in all sort of styles. I figured if you were serious about getting in shape, then hair would be the last thing on your mind,” Andrews said.

With a short cropped head of curls, Andrews, who works out five times a week, has a low-maintenance routine to keep her hair in check after enduring intense workouts. But other women with longer tresses find it difficult to manage their curls during sweat-drenching workouts.

“I hate to say it, but [my hair] is one of the main reasons I don’t work out,” says Sheryl Gifford. “I know that sounds horrible, but I don’t have the time to work out and then spend hours doing my hair every other day; that won’t work for me.”

Gifford, whose 3c curls fall a few inches past her shoulders, has the same problem as many other women. Whether relaxed, transitioning or natural, some women avoid the gym like the plague for fear that one drop of sweat will ruin the ‘do that they’ve tried hard to create.

And while cornrows are sometimes labeled as the best option for protecting your hair while you work out, that hairstyle is very limiting when trying to switch up your styles throughout the week.

If you have grown out of your TWA (teeny, weeny afro”> stage, try to go for a puff or high ponytail when working out. These two hairstyles will protect your curls from sashaying about on your neck and forehead, which may be sweaty. For extra protection, wear a bandanna or scarf around your edges to ensure you’ll still have a smooth look after your workout.

“When my hair was longer, I used to wear flat twists while working out during the week and take them out at the beginning of the weekend for a curly afro look,” Andrews said. “That’s another great way to protect your hair from the sweat.”

If you’re a person who is scared of sweat altogether, try to do workouts that will keep sweating to a minimum. Yoga and pilates are great workouts that focus on flexibility, strength and posture and are less likely to frizz your hair.

Weight training is also a good alternative to cardio exercises. It’s a great way to gain muscle, which also burns fat.

Is It Right to Charge Different Prices Based on Hair Type?
Fair prices for hair

Everyone’s hair is different—is it wrong for your styling costs to reflect that?

Unfair to hair?

While natural hair salons can be a life-saver to newly natural women who are clueless as how to take care of their new curly mane, some women refuse to step one foot inside of a salon because of one major factor. “I can’t get over the prices,” says Lisa Cannon, who’s been natural for two years. “Stylists are charging anywhere from $75 to $125 for a twist-out and I can do that for myself for free.” While prices are an important factor in determining whether customers are going to pay for a salon services, they also need to factor in their hair type.

Some natural hair salons are charging their clients by the type of texture they have, whether it be curly, kinky, coily, or wavy. Just Braids, a natural salon in New Castle, Delaware, lists two different prices for some natural hairstyles. Under their “Get Twisted” menu, box braids are priced at $80 and up and flat twists are priced at $45 and up. Under that menu is another menu titled “Bi-racial Textures.” In that menu, box braids are priced at $65 and up and flat twists are listed as a standard $25. Owner of Just Braids, Nicole says, “It’s about manageability.” “There is a lot that goes into servicing the hair types,” she explains. “It can be length of time… products and difficulty that go into the styling that the individual wants.” She also mentions that a woman with biracial hair can end up paying more than a woman with a kinkier hair type if that individual’s hair requires a lot of time to style. “Say your hair is short, but you have a head full of hair,” she further explains, “the average person may take up to 3 hours… depending on the texture of hair and complexity of the style you want, it could take up to 5 to 8 hours.”

Nicole also factors in the price of products she is using on her clients’ hair. One product that she uses is Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding, which can cost $38 a jar. If the hair style the client gets requires a lot of product, the overall price of the salon visit will reflect that. “If you have a biracial client who has a head full of hair that’s maybe 10-12 inches long, you might be going through half of the Curly Pudding to get the hair style that she wants, and I would factor in that price with her style,” she says.

Monica, manager of Salon De Lara, in Ann Arbor, MI, agrees with charging the client based on the product, but not based on hair type. She explains that curly hair of all types requires more product because it is coarser than straight hair. “When you are doing highlights you actually have to do a little more work and you have to put in more color so the highlights looks natural,” Monica explains. “So it’s based on the product itself that you’re putting in the hair, not the hair type.”

Upon hearing about salons charging by the type of hair they have instead of the style itself, Lisa Cannon wondered if this was a form of discrimination, but Nicole says that is not the case at all. “The intention of a stylist is not to offend anyone, but it has to do with the different facets of the hair… the time, styling—everything is broken down,” Nicole said.

What do you think about this practice? Tell us below!

Does Your Stylist’s Skin Color Matter to Your Curls?
Relaxing at the salon

More curlies are going to natural hair salons

As more women continue to board the ever-so-popular express train to natural hair bliss, its route has been forced to change. Due to the high amount of misinformation available, people are taking matters into their own hands to obtain accurate information. The first stop is taking place at a natural hair salon to debunk the myth that the skin color of the stylist reflects the stylist’s expertise with different textures.

New passenger on the train Karina James, a student studying accounting at Detroit’s Wayne State University, has also heard the theory that a stylist without the same hair texture as her own wouldn’t be able to do her newfound curls any justice. “Prior to going to a natural hair salon, I always thought a white stylist wouldn’t even know where to begin when looking at my 4a-textured tresses,” James said, “but after discussing what I wanted for my hair when visiting the salon, my now-new stylist, Lisa, reassured me she could work with hair of any curl type.”

So where did this myth come from? “I think it goes back to lack of education,” said Aziza Henderson, owner of Sangaris Natural Hair Salon in Detroit. Henderson, who received her education in natural hairstyles by an accomplished stylist of natural hair music artists such as Jill Scott, Bilal and Floetry, teaches her stylists how to do natural hairstyles if they were not taught how to do so at beauty schools. “She can cut, blow dry, curl and color, do locks on white people and do locks on black people, because I trained her,” Henderson said in reference to a stylist of Italian descent that she trained. She also believes that it’s due to the education of the stylist, as customers are now aware that some stylists are not taught how to properly take care of natural hair when attending some beauty schools.

A stylist

Does the color of your stylist’s skin matter to your curls?

Julius Wilkerson, a student at Aveda Beauty School, can attest to that. “[Natural Hair] is more of Aveda’s main focus,” Wilkerson said. “They do teach us how to do perms and weaves because it’s in high demand, but they focus more on all natural products and encourage natural hair.”

As a receptionist at natural hair salon Strand Theory Salon and Spa in Dearborn, Michigan, Wilkerson sees firsthand that the race of the stylist has no impact on whether they can do a particular style on any client. “There are two stylists here that are white and they style black and white clients’ hair,” he said. “One of the white stylists has a majority of black clients,” he adds.

Another factor that may add in creation of this myth is that newly natural women are used to going to hair salons specifically for relaxers and hair straightening techniques. Since practices at natural hair salons may be foreign to them, they may not feel comfortable with the idea that the salon’s techniques may work for their newly natural hair, which is still somewhat foreign to them.

Natural hair salons are for the benefit of women and men of who choose to wear their hair naturally, regardless of curl type and race. After all, their expertise will benefit your curls and the health of your hair. What could be the problem with that?