Discontinued: A Twisted Tale Of Product Loyalty

I used the same hair gel, every day. for about ten years. And then it disappeared from shelves.

I’ve got curly hair, and the product in question was the super ’80s-looking Lasting Curls in the Studio Line By L’Oreal. It wasn’t a perfect product — it was messy, gloppy, hard to distribute evenly, and sometimes my curls would get crunchy — but I’d tried other crap and it offered the best results. And once I’d chosen the gel, I was loyal. I used it every day, counted on it to be there for me, bought two when it was on sale, etc.

When Lasting Curls disappeared from shelves, it was replaced by a slick new character: Something called “Tightly Wound,” by L’Oreal, a spray gel in a fashion-forward, hipper-than-thou black bottle. I tried it. I liked it. It was easier to use, not as messy, and I had the choice of spraying it directly on to wet hair or into my hands for combing through. Did I miss Lasting Curls, with its weird little rippled packaing? Yes. But I made do, no pun intended, and I grew to love Tightly Wound. In fact, I decided that it was better than the old stuff: Less crunchy! More springy! I was living in the now, and putting old habits behind me.

And then: Tightly Wound disappeared. And who do you think made a comeback? Lasting Curls. In the familiar rippled bottle, but with with new graphics and slick black design. What. The. Fuck. Was I being toyed with? Just when I’d learned to love someone new, my ex showed up with a makeover?

I didn’t give in at first. I tried a Pantene spray gel, the nozzle of which almost immediately clogged. That never happened with Tightly Wound. I actually poured the contents of the Pantene gel into an old Tightly Wound bottle. Just like old times! But I wasn’t getting the spring and the bounce I was used to, and Pantene was more expensive than the L’Oreal line.

I gave in. I bought the New Lasting Curls. I felt like I had to! And even though we spent all those years together, I’ll be honest: I feel like the magic is gone. It’s gloppy, it’s messy. Curls come out crunchy and have to be manipulated into softness. I hate that I’m living in the past, and doing it because it’s safe and familiar.

Today I found out that even though my local places don’t carry it, Tightly Wound is available on Drugstore.com. Chances are, I’ll be buying… But please, tell me I’m not the only one with crazy product loyalty?

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