"Dear Diary:  Today I discovered mint co-washes + icing scented hair milk make me smell like a cute tea party!"

Let's talk about results and record keeping for a sec. For the product junkies and aspiring pro-reviewers among us, this is going to be super important for obvious reasons—but that doesn’t mean you Holy Grail-havers are off the hook either.

Discontinuations happen. Pushy, yet totally correct about what will work for you co-workers happen (Gerilyn). Changes elsewhere in your life will come up to force a shift in your routine.

No matter what crops up, you’ll need to have your purchases and preferences well documented if you want to make sure you’re saving money, time, and counter space.

Here is what you need to jot down:

Dates!

Seems like a no-brainer with a diary format, but it is super crucial. Our summer hair regimens might be different from our winter ones—and it is important to be able to look back and see what worked for you and when/if you notice any differences down the road. You’ll also have an accurate sheet to see how long something had to improve a situation, and know when to kick an ineffective product to the curb.

Ingredients!

It’ll take some time what with all the Greek and Latin, but it’s important to write down ALL of the ingredients in what you are using (at least once) so that you can go back and track what actually helped or hindered you. Don’t count on a scratched label or possibly incomplete website to help later - get it out of the way now!

Protip: Include the scientific names of any natural ingredients. 

There are several species of many types of plants that can all go by different colloquial names! Looking right at you, chamomile...

Personal product reviews

This is going to be where you play beauty blogger, if you aren’t one already. Take in the scent, container ease of use, viscosity, and of course the immediate effects of everything you’re using and weigh them against your end results and other items later!

Product combos

Keep in mind what you’re using together!  That same shampoo that stripped your hair when you were using a light oil as leave in might be exactly what you need when you’re trying out a heavier custard type that’s made to stick around.

Style and maintenance methods

What exactly are you doing before you bed down and before you head out? If you’re using the LOC method with the finest of products but you’re still putting your head down on a cotton pillowcase before heading off to blast the highest heat you can on your hair with no heat-protectant ingredients in sight, you’re not going to see the finest of results, guaranteed. Keep track of how you’re working those curls to suss out what’s best for them!

Pictures!

Take. Loads.

Sure, you won’t be able to put your glamor shots into a physical diary very easily, but if your good days (and bad days if you’re brave) can live on in a digital folder or social media, you’ll have a great reference point for how you looked with the help of certain brands. Also, we love getting tagged, so share them with us via any medium you can!

Seriously. Take. Loads.

Source: Interscope Records

Other things to consider:

Combine or compare your hair product diary with a personal diary!

If something like a loss in the family, moving across the country, or a great new relationship has cropped up, that may be affecting your hair loss and growth in ways that your products may not have a role in!

Think about what else you're doing for you.

If you’ve started a new healthier diet, exercising, a supplement regimen, or prescription medicine, the products you’re using may only be half of the equation in hair changes! Make sure you’re making note of what’s going in your body as well as on your hair, and keep a list of potential side-effects handy for reference.

Fully understand your hair structure.

If you haven’t taken your personal porosity, density, and strand width into account, as well as your hair type, you’re navigating your hair care journey with only one fourth of the map. It’s important to have some idea of why certain products and ingredients aren’t working out for you so you’ll know what to avoid in the future. Learn all about your unique strands by visiting our Texture Typing system now.

Make checkpoints!

If you have specific goals in mind, like shoulder length hair by your next milestone birthday, or filling in a bare spot on your TWA, making regular check-ins is going to be important. Not only might lack of progress show you that it’s time to make a change, it might fill you into an underlying issue that may require expert help.

It should be noted that I said regular check-ins, not “frequent” ones.

Space your progress reports out so that you’re not making yourself paranoid!

Do you keep a product diary?

If you are already a curl chronicler, do you use any apps, or are you a 21st-century analog girl?