Tell me about yourself!
I am an artistic soul, a full time higher education professional by day (working in multicultural student success and access) and a writer / contributor for a variety of platforms by night & weekend. I truly love to laugh and drink tea. I blog on topics like style & style politics, womanism & feminism, faith & spirituality, social justice, (along with occasional “sheerly shenanigans” posts) over at JadeTPerry.com. My personal mission is to offer information, ideas, & counter-cultural narratives that will empower people to thrive and to lovingly and creatively challenge systems toward greater levels of inclusion!
Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I have been natural for my entire life. However, that doesn't mean that my journey was without complication. It took me a long time to learn how to really care for my natural hair. When I got to high school, I remember Chi irons were just becoming a big deal among my peer group. I bought one, tried it out, and absolutely LOVED it. I was obsessed with pressing and curling my hair, or using a really fine curling iron to achieve tight ringlet curls which I’d pull out with my fingers. It was great for a bit and then I realized an ENTIRE side (right side) of my hair just was not curling anymore because of my doing-the-mostness.
When I got to college, two things happened: 1) I got stressed… like REALLY stressed. I went through such a deep culture shock at that time that my hair literally started falling out. This is quite interesting now that reflect on the work I do within multicultural access and success in higher education / college student affairs. But I can remember that time being very trying for me emotionally and physically as I tried to work through the culture shock and stereotype threat that I was experiencing. 2) I went to college in a very rural, agriculturally based location and the water there was very hard. I was washing my hair and using the same products as I’d consistently used. I was trying not to do as much heat because of the heat damage. I tried product after product, layering them, conditioning, setting it, doing everything I could so that it could heal, but to no avail. Since I went to college in a predominantly White area, it was hard to find stylists who specialized in multicultural and natural hair care. But after about a year, I’d heard of a woman who’d moved from Philly (my hometown) who moved to the area and specialized in natural hair care. When I went to see her, she explained about the water being hard, clarifying shampoos, and more. My hair had been so damaged at that point that she told me she would need to cut it in a short bob.
After that cut, things really changed for me. I decided I was going to take a minimalistic approach with my hair so I could see what would nourish it. I also got really intentional about making connections with peer and family support to mitigate some of the stress I was feeling at the time because what’s true is that your emotional health does impact your physical health as well. I started doing an LCO method (before I knew what the term was), used a simple clarifying shampoo that the hairdresser recommended for me, and only went to the salon for a trim. Since becoming simpler with my regimen, I’ve seen a LOT of improvements and benefits and my hair has never been happier.
Had you always embraced your texture?
I started embracing my texture at a young age and that’s largely due to my mother. I remember when I started going to school and seeing other girls with perms I begged her for one. She always said no, and that was mostly because she’d experienced some texture damage in her youth because of a perm. But she was also always sure to show me images of women with various hair textures – she’d find books, magazines, dolls, all kinds of things.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
Overall, they’ve been very affirming which has been wonderful.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
I’ve always had a hard time with the curl pattern types because there are so many different curl patterns in my hair at a given time! On the right side, it’s about a 3b. On the left, it’s about a 3c. In the middle, it’s about a 4a. In the back, it’s around a 3b or 3c. It’s just… it does what it wants, where it wants. It’s very soft and I love that. However, it can get a bit limp and weighed down if I use too many products.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
So… when I was a kid I thought it was a good idea to let my cousin (same age) cut the rubber bands out of my hair. I’d parted my hair, put a rubber band on the top, then did a double strand twist with another band at the end. (Don’t judge me, I was young and it was the 90s). My cousin ended up cutting like 3-4 whole twists out! So, I had to do buns and ponytails for a bit after that.
What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
I’m still trying to keep it simple; I’ve realized that’s what works best for my hair. So, I can’t really do too many products or my hair will get weighed down. I try to think about what I want my hair to feel like for that week and use products accordingly. I wash and condition once a week. I switch up my shampoos but lately I’ve been using LUSH cosmetic’s Jason & the Argan Oil Shampoo Bar. It looks like a bar of soap, which took some getting used to at first but I love the scent and the way it makes my hair feel. I’ll run that through my hair and scalp once, rinse, and then repeat. I’m currently using Organix Vitamin E Conditioner – I make sure that the ends are coated with that first. Then, I’ll use my detangling brush to smooth out some of the tangles, and follow up with a wide tooth comb for any tangles that were missed. I rinse and put my leave in (obsessed with Aveeno’s Leave-In Conditioner), cream (Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk), and coconut oil in immediately after. If I wait then the curls won’t be as defined if I’m doing a wash & go. After that, it really depends on how I feel. Most times, I’ll get the dryer out (without the comb attachment) and run it for about 5-7 minutes so my hair isn’t soaked. If I don’t feel like doing anything, I’ll put it in a few bantu knots, tie a silk scarf over it, and wrap it up with a colorful scarf – my scarf collection is intense. I do spray my hair every day to keep it moisturized with Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray.
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
My go-to for the summer is a wash and go or a high bun. My favorite hair style happens when my twist out turns out just right. I honestly get my hair inspiration based on what my hair wants to do that day. I know that sounds a bit odd, but I’ve come up with the best hairstyles when I’ve followed what my hair was naturally doing at that time. If I went to sleep with it pineappled, but I wake up, it’s stretched, and it all wants to flow to one side, then I’ll roll it & pin it all to that side.
Who is your curl crush?
Aevin Dugas – her fro is epic (and her makeup is always on point) and Laila Jean, vlogger on Fusion of Cultures!
How do you maintain your hair at night?
I tie it up and pineapple it with one of my perfectly stretched out headbands, lay down, and go to bed. It used to be way more involved.
How do you maintain healthy length?
Moisturizing and paying attention to the ends – getting them trimmed, making sure they aren’t too split, starting my conditioning process at the ends. Also, protective styling has helped me quite a bit!
What's the best thing about being natural?
I love the versatility and how you can experiment with so many different styles! I love that it makes you focus on taking care of yourself and what you are given. Lastly, I love the fact that for me, it affirms that the way my hair grows, is inherently good and inherently fly.
Where can folks find you on the web?
I blog regularly at JadeTPerry.com and Tweet occasionally @Jade_T_P!