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According to a study titled the True Cost of Beauty, conducted by OnePoll for Groupon,women who invest regularly in their appearance spend an average of over $300 a month on their physical appearance. Hmph. Honestly, hair and mani/pedi appointments alone can pretty much knock that out (not to mention the maintenance of eyebrows and eyelashes). But what personally came to my mind is how much money that I used to spend on hair products. Real talk, sometimes I would shell out at least $150-200 each month on that stuff alone.

Why? There were layers of reasons. First, I “blame” YouTube because there are a billion Black hair care channels featuring women with amazing looking hair who each recommend at least five different hair products. Then there’s my natural curiosity. I mean, if a product says that it can do 15 things for my hair, why not try it? And then there was sheer impatience. It’s really not discussed enough that purchasing something and using it for three days, all the while thinking that it’s going to miraculously transform your tresses, is low-key delusional.

So, what made me stop being a product junkie? Well, like you’ve probably heard about other addictions, I had to accept that my time in beauty supply stores was getting way out of hand. Then once I did that and I started discovering some other ways to get the hair results that I was looking for, I realized that I didn’t need to have drawers and cabinets full of hair products just to get beautiful hair. Beyond that, letting all of those products go came with some bona fide benefits too.

1. It Saves Money (A LOT of It)

These days, I have a shampoo and conditioner that I really like. A deep conditioner that I use. A couple of items for my wash ‘n go days. A thermal heat protectant. A couple of bottles of essential oil. A carrier oil. And that’s about it. Since I basically use the same things all of the time, not only has it saved me a ton of cash, I also don’t have to make purchases every month. Keeping some coins in my pocket is definitely a win.

2. I Can Eat What I Use. Kinda.

There are many health care experts that will say that if you can’t eat what you’re about to put onto your skin or hair, you shouldn’t use it. They take this approach because our skin and scalp are made up of thousands of pores. And while they probably don’t absorb 60 percent of what we put on (like some internet stories claim), they do take in something. Now that I really get that, I’m good for reading the back of labels, making my own hair products or taking the “less is more approach”. Some days, all I’ll do is put a dab of rosemary oil into one of my palms, massage my scalp and hair and put it into a crown braid. The rosemary oil only cost me three bucks max, it’s an oil that a lot of people cook with and it’s holistically beneficial. That’s because rosemary oil increases blood circulation, reduces stress, improves cognitive function and stimulates hair growth. How cool is that?

3. My Hair Is Healthier

Since I’ve let a lot of products go, my hair is definitely healthier. Matter of fact, it wasn’t until I “downsized” that I noticed how much harder and unmanageable my hair was back when I was a product junkie. Not only that but my scalp was itching a lot. In my mind, it just meant that I needed to wash my hair more or — how crazy is this? — add some more product. However, what was really going on is I had too much product build-up and that was irritating my scalp and weighing down my hair. Clogged hair follicles stunt hair growth. Product build-up can eventually lead to hair damage and even hair breakage. So yeah, my hair is definitely much better off without multiple things — things that have lots of chemicals— in them all at once.

4. My Body Is Healthier

Once I started paying more attention to the labels on hair products, I began becoming more aware of the labels on a lot of the foods that I eat too. And that made me opt to go with consuming more produce and avoiding as many preservatives as possible. I’ll be honest — deciding to eat healthier can sometimes be expensive (our country needs to do something about that). At the same time, though I look great, I have more energy and I know that I’m doing a service for my body by not being a food junkie (did you catch the play on words there?).

5. It’s Helped Me to Take a More Minimalist Approach to Everything

I once read that being a minimalist is all about finding freedom — and I truly couldn’t agree more. Having a lot of stuff, just to have it, can feel…burdensome if you’re not careful. As far as my hair goes, it feels good to walk into my bathroom, know exactly what each bottle or container is for and not have a ton of other ones taking up space, unnecessarily so. And don’t even get me started on what all of that plastic is doing to our environment (did you know that there are 20 million tons of plastic in the ocean right now?). You know, a lot of interior designers say that we only wear 20 percent of the clothes that we own. I’d venture to say that most of us only use 20 percent of our hair products too. So…why have things that you don’t need? What’s the point? Across the board.

Telltale Signs That You Are a Product Junkie

You know what they say — the first step towards working through an addiction is admitting to yourself that you actually have one. That said, if you’re not 100 percent sure if you are a product junkie or not, here are some dead ringers that you indeed are:

  • You can’t make one trip to a grocery store or drugstore without picking up a bottle of something.
  • You have products in basically every room of your house.
  • There’s hair stuff that you’ve been holding onto for years that you haven’t used.
  • Some of your items haven’t even been opened. Yet.
  • You have multiple hair products that serve the same function (shampoo, mousse, edge control, etc.).
  • Nothing is really making your hair better.
  • You’re breaking your budget to get more hair stuff.

If you see yourself in two or more of these points, there’s no time like the present to let some of those products go, get some of your space back and start saving some money. After all, hair products are cool but being a product junkie? At the end of the day, it’s not much more than a…waste.