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Product or Process?

September 11, 2014

I am a born-again natural hair product junkie… a reformed collector of conditioners, shampoos, creams, and gels. And since finding my staple product and strict wash & go routine, I’m starting to wonder if it has ever been the product or the actual process that has given me the results I have either loved or hated.

For the entire summer I have worn a wash & go (w&g). And I finally perfected the style enough to where I have loved rocking it, and have been able to wear it for days at a time. I always co-wash and style in the shower, and then apply my curling product while still in the shower with my strands soaked and dripping. I get better slip, better coverage, and no drippage when I get out. Plus, I found that this has actually drastically decreased the styling time and given me more wear from one style. Shaking it throughout the day gives me the shape and clumped curls that I love so much. Needless to say, my hair has thrived and my wash & go’s are now my favorite style.

So this question popped into my head when my fiancé and I were discussing my last w&g and the results that I raved about. It was a Monday and I washed before going out that day. We’re driving and he looks over and reminds me, “don’t forget to do your shake thing.” [LOL! I’m learnin’ him!] So I did – shook my hair while in the car. He then complimented me on how nice my hair turned out using my new product and I thanked him, glanced in the mirror, and wondered aloud if it actually looked the same as the last w&g with different product.  He agreed that while wet, it actually looked the same.

Product or Process?

See, our curl pattern never changes…right? Our curls are what they are, and a curling/styling product just enhances what we already have, naturally.  So – freshly done – wouldn’t every w&g look about the same? Same curl, same shape, etc.? And when you have a consistent process – the same way you apply the curling product each and every time you do your hair – then your strands will lay the same, etc. (for the most part).  When I was shingling my semi-wet / damp / almost dry hair with curling product, it never turned out right.  I spent years hating, rather detesting, w&g’s and wouldn’t even touch the style for a year or so.  So now that I can’t get enough of my w&g’s, I can only assume that for my hair, soaking wet and dripping hair is how I have to apply my product – no matter which product it is.  This would mean that the primary indication of a successful w&g, or rather a keeper-worthy product, would actually be how the hair looks the day after, or after every strand has dried.  Right?  And an even better indicator would be day 2 or 3 hair and how well the product holds up through day 4 or even 5.

This was especially evident to me this morning after picking up some super inexpensive natural hair products last night in Target.  This was a more generic product that equaled a fraction of the cost of some of the more popular natural curling products.  After stepping out of the shower this morning, all clean and curled, I shook my hair out and noticed that it looked exactly the same as after I’d used one of those pricier products.  In fact, 9 hours later, this w&g looks fantastic!  Granted, I will really know the next morning after it has dried and been stretched a bit; but for starters, it is looking just as good as the other stuff.  So my second thought begs the question…

Product or Price?

Natural Hair Product A costs $58.00; and promises to give shiny, detangled, defined, bouncy curls.  Natural Hair Product B costs $4.99; and promises the same, plus frizz-control.  Product A comes in a 16 oz jar; while product B comes in an 8 oz. jar.  Product A contains many undesirable ingredients, and product B contains one.  Standing in the store, trying to decide which product to pick up, they begin to all look the same after awhile.  They all promise the same things, all claim to have natural ingredients, and they all cater to natural tresses.  The one biggest difference is usually the price; and one would think that the higher the price…the better the product.  Right?  But are you really paying for the product or the name?

What makes one natural hair product pricier than the other?  And what makes people purchase products that will cost them nearly $60?  For many, I believe that it is the name.  Brand recognition and product persuasion is a powerful thing and many times we see natural hair products being used on YouTube, on television commercials, or in magazines; and we just have to try it – whether it is because this well-known person claims to use it, or because it is new to the market.  So we identify a product on the shelves that we’ve seen somewhere before and just have to try – we pay the cost and get it home to try it out.  Sometimes it does what it promises – what we expect; and other times we toss it in the products basket under the sink and forget about it – moving on to the next product that promises the next-best-thing.

On the other hand, can a product that costs as little as $5 work?  We often think, ‘Well, it costs significantly less, so it probably doesn’t do the job of the name brands that are much more expensive.’  And if they do work just as well as the expensive brands, why are we even still considering those prices?  I always get a slight attitude when I see the prices of certain hair products – especially those hair products…  I have a rant.  On a soapbox tall enough to settle on my high horse.  It is related to this article, but not what this article is all about.  Still, if you want to read it, click here! lol

So again, do we consider the product or the price when we’re purchasing products?  What is in the product?  How long will the style last?  How is the product made?  Does the product do what it promises?  Or are we considering price – the more it costs, the better it will work?  And this brings on my third question…

Process or Price?

Which is most important when considering your natural hair product purchase?  Do you consider that your process, your consistent application of products in a certain order or consistency, will determine how your style turns out?  Or do you use price as a heavier weight in your decision to purchase a natural hair product?

If we are to follow the theory [for instance, for a wash & go] that any natural hair product you use can give you similar results as long as your routine or regimen remains consistent, then it really doesn’t matter how much the product costs.  It really doesn’t matter whether you pick up Miss Jessie’s or Pantene… Kinky Curly or Suave… Shea Moisture or Mixed Chicks.  You can use any group of products in the same line – cleanse, condition, deep condition, leave-in condition, and curling styler – and your natural curls will turn out the same.  Process will determine the immediate result…

But what about the long-lasting result?  Does price determine how long the product will allow the style to last?  Or does process?  I vote, again, for process.  See, it shouldn’t matter (unless a product is truly b-a-d – and I have tried truly horrific products even using my trusty process!) how much a natural hair product costs, or the name you find on the outside of the container.  Your hair pattern, porosity, and other such particulars will determine how any curling styler works on your hair.  And yes, I will agree that the product can affect your results, as well – especially the formulation of ingredients, too much of, or the lack of certain ingredients can determine how your curls will react even with a perfect process.  It may turn out that a product has a better result on your strands and costs much, much less than another that does not.  Or vice versa.  However, I cannot get behind the theory that price has much to do with any of it.

So a good product will allow you to use your process and get the results you seek – even better when the product is the right price!

What do you think?  Product? Process? or Price?  And does it matter?

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