Digital Cover: Derek J Talks Working Behind The Scenes & How To Get Your Hair Back To Its Glory Days

Derek J


HH: We know it’s not one size fits all, but what’s your secret to healthy hair regimen? 
DEREK J: It actually is one size fits all— people just don’t want to listen. When you hear people talk about their hair, they all say, “I want my hair to be back how it was when I was younger.” So, the question is, what did you do when you were younger? Nothing! You didn’t get relaxers. You went and got your hair shampooed and conditioned. You got your ends trimmed. You got a press out. That was it. Now women do too much trying to get something. They relax it. They texturize it, they keratin treat it, they do a protein treatment. They do all these things, talking about “I mixed the mayonnaise with the eggs, and I put the oil on it, and I put it in the microwave.” 

You can’t make your hair grow. It’s already going to grow—leave it alone and trust the process. If you know the science behind hair, hair grows a quarter of an inch to half an inch a month, that’s it. No matter what you put on it, it ain’t gonna grow any faster. 

HH: Speaking of hair mistakes, what one trend do you wish would go away? 
DEREK J: I wish that lace front wigs would go away for the everyday woman. Those are for performers, entertainers. It’s not for you to be going to work at the bank. And to be realistic, lace front wigs only look good the first two, maybe three days. After that, it starts lifting up around the edges and then you look crazy. So it’s great for the moment, but nothing for you to be holding onto for two or three weeks. That’s not what’s supposed to happen. 

HH: What should the everyday woman be doing to achieve a similar look? 
DEREK J: A traditional sew-in is always the best and safest method of keeping your hair in a protective style. If you want it to be something very natural, just do a leave-out. If you don’t want to deal with your hair at all, do a full sew-in with a lace closure. But putting on that glue around the front of your head, all that kind of stuff, ugh! 

HH: What else are you working on? 
DEREK J: There are so many things in the mix. They’re like where’s your shoe line? Where’s your kaftan line? They want me to be back on television. I’m sitting down right now and just trying to flush these things out and see what the next step is like. I’m also writing a book. 

HH: What about a hair product line? 
DEREK J: I do want to do a product line called Just J—I want to simplify the product process. Basically, an amazing shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner and, maybe, a style pomade—just a very simplified product line that’s promoting healthy hair. But, I want to make sure that it makes sense and it’s something I can stand behind. I don’t want to be peddling my shampoo and conditioner out of my trunk!

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About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

isis is a music, hair and communications junkie. she is a Black beauty editor; founder of Sadiaa, the premiere beauty directory for women of color, and editor for