We recently put out a call to chat with naturalistas for our growing hair feature series and was met with a submission from Jade P. Like many of us, Jade struggled with being accepted for having natural, “poofy” hair as a child. In her story, she recounts her first experience with a flat iron, correcting heat damage as a result and forging her natural hair into a state of healthy and versatile inspiration that she chronicles on her YouTube channel SimplyJade101. While this entry is slightly different than our previous hair features, please know that it doesn’t lack in insight, knowledge and motivation to remain (or become) a fearless natural!
As written by Jade, here’s her hair journey.
“My name is Jade and I am 26 years old. I just recently married and completed a Masters degree in school counseling, two accomplishments that I am so proud of! They both were a lot of work :-/ I live in NJ with my husband and mini poodle puppy, who is like my son our right now.
“In terms of my hair journey:
“I have actually been natural my entire life. Me nor my sister have ever gotten a perm. But when I was younger, I hated my natural hair, which i just always referred to as “poofy hair.” All of my friends had straight hair and I too wanted that. This was way before having curly hair was “accepted.” For me, it was hard to be attractive with “poofy” hair and I figured if my hair were straight then more boys would like me (I was tall and skinny and just a little awkward looking).
“The style that I wore pretty much 350 days out of each year was a sock bun. I had so many different styles with that bun that I could have created a picture calendar and fashion show showing them off! I never went to the hair salon (except to get my hair cornrowed twice a year or a Dominican blow out every now and then that “poofed” up anyway.) I was the only one that styled my hair and buns were the only thing I knew.
“But my junior year of high school my teacher, gave me something that truly changed my life. She had a sister that owned a hair salon and was always giving her products and tools that she gained from hair shows that she went to. My teacher had an extra ceramic flat iron laying around and gifted it to me.
“I was obsessed with straightening my hair because I was finally able to look the way I wanted to, without getting a perm. My hair is fairly easy to manage so it didn’t take long for me to master the flat ironing process. As I moved into my college years, I kept up the same regimen: wash my hair, blow dry my hair, straighten my hair. There was no deep conditioning, hot oil treatments, leave-ins or “sealing.” The funny thing is, my hair was still very healthy. Between constant permanent hair color/dye and flat ironing, you would think my head would be bald or full of damaged strands. But I was surprisingly still good.
“But after a few years. my lucky strike ended. I had heat trained my hair and didn’t realize it because it was too late. My curls would not revert. Which at the time that it happened, I didn’t mind because my goal was straight hair and could care less about curls. It never occurred to me to try and wear it curly. I came across Youtube in 2011 and I found TheKGLifestyle’s channel. She talked about her heat damage story and that’s when I realized that I might be suffering from the same thing. So though my hair still looked pretty healthy, I decided that I wanted to get my curls back and explore styles with my naturally curly hair, which is something that I never gave myself a chance to do because I wasn’t aware of all the versatility.
“So here began my 4 year journey of: cutting off heat damage gradually, doing a 1 year no heat challenge, experimenting with protective styles (twist and curls, braid outs, bantu knot outs, etc.), getting a layered haircut to add “spunk” then having to get a Deva cut to fix the spunk, hair color, etc. Here I am with today with a head full of healthy hair and more versatility than I could have ever imagined. I certainly still straighten my hair because at heart I absolutely adore my straight hair, but I also have come to LOVE my curly hair, doing anything from 3 strand twists, perm rod sets, curlformer sets and my new favorite: a wash n go. My goal is to grow my hair longer than I’ve ever been able to grow it while being healthy at the same time.
“I have recently started a youtube channel (SimplyJade101) in which my objective is to encourage girls and women with simple hair regimen’s and styling ideas, hence the name SimplyJade. I don’t agree with a lot of the information out there, that gives the impression that natural hair has to pretty much take up your life. I believe that you can still have healthy hair without having to spend 4 hours deep conditioning, 2 hours with hot oil treatments and redoing that process by way of co washing every 2 days. Natural hair is actually a lot easier than we think! There are plenty of bloggers/Youtubers out there that value simplicity. Through the experimenting I’ve done and tips and tricks I’ve learned, I would like to help others in the same way.”