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garnier left me for dead

My beauty products keep getting discontinued and it has to stop. I’ve been left most recently by my favorite Nars cream blush, my eyelash curler, and most traumatically, by my Shiseido mascara.

You get burned enough times and you start taking preventative measures. Makeup is one thing, but my hair is another. Given how serious I am about my hair, I have long stockpiled hair products. I buy cans of my hairspray whenever it goes on sale. I had a couple weeks of satisfying styling with a mousse about a year ago and I started stockpiling that, even though our history together was brief and untested.

But I never bothered stockpiling my Garnier Surf Hair. For starters, it was always available. They sold it everywhere, even at Safeway. You know your hair product has entered the pantheon when they offer it at Safeway. And it was cheap. It was $3.60 with my Rite Aid 20% discount. To my mind, something that cheap couldn’t be worth the effort of discontinuing. For $3.60, the stuff gave my hair texture and volume without stickiness or shine. It was perfect. And I took it for granted.


I should have seen the signs. I couldn’t find it the last couple times I was at Walgreens, but I figured it was a stocking issue. But then it happened again, at QFC. When it happened at my Rite-Aid, I stood in the aisle with my heart racing and braced my arm against the shelf. Breathe, I told myself. Surely it was a fluke. I pushed the red button near the razor blades and waited, pacing the aisle, for someone to come to my rescue. When the salesperson appeared, I told myself to act normal.

“Excuse me. Do you have any Garnier Surf Hair in the back? I’d like to buy eight jars.” The salesperson went to look, and then came back empty-handed to tell me that actually, she hadn’t seen the product in a while. Holy Mother. How had I gotten HERE? I considered asking her to open the razor blade display so I could put myself out of my misery, then and there. I impatiently waited for her to finish talking and then I raced to my car. Then I drove to Target, which is like 20 minutes from my house. If they didn’t have my Garnier at Target for $3.88, I would know that the idyll was well and truly over.

Well, they didn’t have it. I raided my drawers at home and at the gym and took inventory of my rations. The situation was dire, as I’d not bought any Garnier in months. I was down to one container, empty but for the paste stuck in the lid. Soon, I found myself thinking about Garnier Surf Hair around the clock. I’d use ever-smaller quantities of the stuff in an attempt to make it last, which resulted in bad styling that seemed an omen of the hair struggles to come. At dinners and cocktail parties, I’d find my attention drifting from conversation, as I wondered if I could concoct my own paste out of other, inferior styling products. At home, I hid the Garnier underneath the sink, so Tom couldn’t use any. I tamped down the twinges of guilt by telling myself that his hair looked essentially the same with product as it did without. But I was lying to myself. Because Garnier Surf Hair improves everyone’s hair.


I hate everyone and everything associated with the demise of Garnier Surf Paste. I hate Garnier, who is offering a new formulation (“Power Putty”—how original) that is twice as expensive. I hate the friends who tell me I’ll find another hair product, and then recommend the product they’ve been using, which costs $22 per tiny jar. I hate the soulless pigdogs on eBay who see these things coming and stockpile discontinued product to sell it at obscene markups. I support the idea of a capitalist society, but not as it applies to me in this particular instance. Finally, I am annoyed at Tom, who, as a fellow user, is partially responsible for the global depletion of a most valuable resource.

But the most bitter of recriminations, I reserve for myself. Because I knew this could happen, and failed to act with either purpose or conviction. When I see my cans of stockpiled hairspray and stupid mousse I want to go back and do it all again. The mousse makes me particularly angry, because I haven’t used mousse (mousse!) in almost a year.

It’s sad to have hoarded hair products. But it’s even sadder to discover you’ve hoarded the wrong ones.

30 Comments Post a comment
  1. Budhmash #

    Heya! Curious to know if you found a good/affordable replacement? Here in Canada, we’re totally out as well now!

    July 21, 2014
  2. Leah #

    Surf Hair is still available in Sydney, Australia as well. Bought some to try!
    I’ve really been enoying you blog Yoona. Thank you. I couldn’t stop reading it last night! Super tired today.

    June 2, 2013
  3. Dude. I empathize. Garnier used to have the perfect leave-in conditioner for my hair (cheap, plentiful, did the job just right) and then one day, just like you, I started to notice there was less of it on the shelves and then *poof* you could only buy it on eBay for $78 a pop! Grrrrr, Garnier! 😑

    May 4, 2013
  4. I was in the superstore last night, doing a ritual scanning to see if one of my favourite long ago discontinued garnier products had magically reappeared (it hurts because i do it to myself) and i saw at least 8 jars of surf hair on the shelf.
    Vancouver BC- not that far from Oregon. If you REALLY love surf hair. πŸ˜›

    April 18, 2013
    • ha, thanks!! my friend found 12 jars of it on eBay and procured it for me

      April 18, 2013
  5. CAS #

    The same thing happened to me with my Purpose face lotion – I couldn’t find it anywhere. I looked at every drug store (which normally) carries it and they were all out. In a complete panic, I mentioned it to my mother-in-law who always seems to be able to track this stuff down and she bought me six bottles (I use roughtly 1 every 3-4 years!) at Wal-Mart. Generally speaking, I hate anything related to Wal-Mart so I hate to suggest checking there but it worked for me! I feel your pain…

    April 11, 2013
  6. Kate #

    try this:

    You can buy it at any drug store, it’s cheap, and has a very similar texture. And since it’s a unisex hair product (I don’t know why it’s on the men’s site because it existed before L’Oreal for men did), it has a matte look to it. I used to have a pixie cut and it worked awesome for my short hair and all throughout growing it out. Now my bf uses it for his hair, and it works wonders on him too. I’d HIGHLY recommend trying it!

    April 10, 2013
  7. bora #

    You’re totally in the second best Garnier Surf Hair group. That is the saddest community description I’ve read in a long time.

    March 13, 2013
    • i didn’t even read that until now. it might be sad but it’s true

      March 13, 2013
  8. I sympathize. I found some stuff called Mudd at the cheapo Fantastic Sams. It is not as good as the Garnier, but I am using it for now. You made me laugh – thanks!

    March 12, 2013
    • i’m trying american crew forming cream next. so expensive. ugh

      March 13, 2013
      • It smells like a man, and if you use too much it will be greasy by the end of the day. Good product though.
        Try Hempz texture paste. I don’t know much about the garnier, but the description sounds like you are using it how I would use Hempz on my clients.
        Good luck!

        March 17, 2013
      • thanks for the recommendation. i’ll check out the Hempz

        March 19, 2013
  9. They should really put a warning out so you can stock up!! So not fair!

    March 11, 2013
    • i agree. how do the people who hoard product for resale know ahead of time? there must be a secret

      March 13, 2013
  10. dawniemikkelson #

    I’m so sorry for your loss. People are in a TIZZY on the Garnier website! You’re not alone.

    March 11, 2013
    • reading those comments really made me feel better…for a while

      March 13, 2013
  11. The Garnier Surf Hair is still available here. Does your hair need a care package?

    March 11, 2013
    • from Germany? No. But I am deeply touched

      March 11, 2013
      • No worries. I know all to well the pain of having something you love no longer being available.

        March 12, 2013
  12. My list of similar items is maddenly long as well, and good lord my mother’s list is longer than Santa’s naughty list. I wrote Maybelline about my eyeliner. I got an official response of sorry about your luck and here are 3 coupons for our crappy replacement. No wonder women feel as if their beauty is fleeting…our good beauty products are πŸ˜‰

    March 11, 2013
    • i really love that you wrote maybelline. i only bitch from afar. it would be so sad if it was garnier surf hair that turned me into an activist

      March 11, 2013
      • I was kinda fun, I felt like Sheldon Cooper for a day. Till I got that response. Beauty product activism was a very short run for me.

        March 11, 2013
  13. Let me know if you start a support group. I need in on that shiznit.

    March 11, 2013
    • i was telling cuz that the FB garnier page needs more “likes” and she was like, you are probably on the uncool FB garnier page…you should look for the cool one. why is life so complicated

      March 11, 2013
  14. SO sad…. My favorite Bumble & Bumble “Be Curly” Consciousness hair products went AWOL 2 years ago. I’m on my last bottle after hoarding all I could. SO sad to let go of a hair product that actually says, “Amazon Bitch Goddess” as part of the packaging. Made me so happy~ πŸ™‚

    March 11, 2013
    • amazon bitch goddess, so funny. my friends with curly hair seem particularly attached to their hair products, even more so than me…

      March 11, 2013
  15. Heather #

    I know exactly how you feel! I felt the same way when Garnier discontinued their Soft Curl Cream a few years ago. I bought every tub I could find, and then went a little crazy on eBay for what felt like the last remaining tubs in the universe. I’ve tried everything, and never found anything that comes close!

    March 11, 2013
    • garnier–repeat offender! i considered giving into ebay but at some point the world will run out, and i will need to deal with it. i would just be prolonging the inevitable

      March 11, 2013

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