Naturally Fierce Feature: Jade

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1. Tell me a little about yourself and your hair journey. (Name, where you’re from, etc)

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 for right now 🙂

2. How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?

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 wayy 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 when I was younger lol).

3. What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?

My junior year of high school my teacher, gave me something that truly changed my life. She had an extra ceramic flat iron laying around and gifted it to me. From THAT POINT ON YOU COULDN’T TELL ME NOTHING! I was obsessed with straightening my hair because I was finally able to look the way I wanted to, without getting a perm.

But it became an obsession and I over-straightened at times. Though my hair looked healthy, it did not revert back to curly. Which at the time that it happened, I didn’t mind because my goal was straight hair and I could care less about curls. It never occurred to me to try and wear it curly. But when I came across TheKGLifestyle’s YouTube channel in 2011, she talked about heat damage and opened my eyes to what I had done to my hair. So here began my 4 year heat damage transition journey of: cutting off heat damage gradually, doing a 1 year no heat challenge, experimenting with protective styles, getting a layered haircut to add “spunk” then having to get a Deva cut to FIX the spunk, hair color, etc.

4. How would you describe your hair?

I would describe my hair as something similar to a high school. Depending on the day, you never know what you’re gonna get with it. It’s defined and frizzy, thin and thick, straight and curly, flat and big. I never know how it’s going to act day to day lol.

5. What do you love most about your hair?

What I love most definitely has to be the versatility. Once I learned my hair, I realized that it could be everything and anything I wanted it to be. I still wear my hair straight just as much as I wear it curly. I’m just mad at myself for not taking advantage of the versatility earlier in life! I mean the hair I have now, is the hair I’ve always had. But I’m glad that I learned it now instead of not at all.

6. What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?

The most memorable part is probably the day my best friend told me I NEED to go on a no heat 1 year challenge because I’m sizzling my hair. I remember being like no heat for 1 year?? Yeah right. That’s like telling a dog not to eat a bone. But I’m glad she suggested it and I’m glad I stuck with it because I learned a lot more about my hair and natural hair in general.

It’s been both easy and difficult at times, but I would probably say more easy. Only because I didn’t notice that much of a change with my hair when I cut off the heat damage. The difficult part would probably involve the layered hair cut I got, which to me was a disaster for my curls. It changed the natural shape of my hair tremendously. Trying to readjust to a new shape has been annoying. But I recently got a Deva cut that has helped me enjoy the shape a little more.

7. What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’

 My favorite hairstyles then were braid outs and Bantu knots. They gave me great definition. Now, I can’t even remember how I used to do my bantu knots. They were bangin! And that was before I learned how to fluff, so I know if I did them now I would like them even better. My current favorites are 3 strand twist outs, and braid outs still.

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8. What have your experiences been as a ‘natural.’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?

The only thing I can remember is when I started to wear it curly more often, my mom told me she liked my hair straightened better. That comment didn’t bother me though….Other than that, my family loves my hair. They always comment on how often I switch it up.

9. What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?

Where I’m at right now, is keeping it As. Simple. As. Possible. I don’t subscribe to a lot of the theories out there that you have to have an extensive regimen to care for your hair. I wash my hair (yes, with shampoo) about once a week and deep condition for 20-30 minutes under the dryer. Then I’ll either blow dry my hair and do a 3 strand twist out or braid out. Or a wash n go. I don’t like styling my hair wet because with my hair type it makes my hair look stringy. To maintain during the week I’ll do my modified pineapple or re-twist/braid depending on how it looks. As well as oil/grease my scalp every other night…or when I remember.

Favorite products – Shampoo: Creme of Nature Argan Oil, Deep Conditioner: Shea Moisture Manuka Honey Intense Hydration, Styler: Cantu Leave In and Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea Defining Creme

I try ALOT of products..I definitely am an addict. But at the end of the day, I know exactly what works for my hair.

10. What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?

Websites: CurlyNikki and GlobalCouture 🙂 , YouTubers: TheKGLifeStyle, NaturalNeiicy, FusionOfCultures, just to name a few…and I don’t really follow any many blogs

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11. Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?

I want to start off by saying, nowadays the natural hair movement is sweeping through our world and everyone is becoming more and more comfortable with their curly hair. There is a plethora of bloggers and YouTubers giving information that is SOO extremely helpful with your own journey. I think it’s wonderful! But I just want to remind you that your journey, is YOURS and yours alone. Do what you feel is right in your heart, in your life, in your schedule and for your pockets. There is no right or wrong. You don’t HAVE to have an exact trimming schedule. You don’t HAVE to only look for natural products. You don’t HAVE to alleviate grease from your product choice. You don’t HAVE to refrain from straightening your hair. The only thing you HAVE to do, is exactly what works for you and your journey. I am of course not putting down ANYONE that does do those things, They are the ones that inspired me. I just think we need more women showing the simplistic side of natural hair. All the rules and “do’s and don’ts list” just makes it harder for someone who is a first timer.

12. Where can people find you for more information?

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 SimplyJade101. I want to take it back to the basics because natural hair is 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. So long story short (lol) I can be found on YouTube at SimplyJade101 or my Instagram Exhibit_Jade

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