Vixen Chat: Derek J Talks Shoe Designers, "Hair Battle" and Hair Tips
Derek J is a man who knows hair... and heels. VIBE Vixen sat down with the celebrity hair stylist in his newly relocated Atlanta salon to discuss hair tips and why black hair gets a bad rap. Oh, and of course we had to dish about his gal buddies from the Real Housewives of Atlanta. He dishes about which cast member he thinks has made a complete transformation over the years. -Chantell Black
VIBE VIXEN: You are always in a pair of heels. Who is your favorite shoe designer?
DEREK J: I love high-end shoes. I love the Gucci’s and the Louboutin’s, but unfortunately I wear a size 11, so I can’t really fit them. So Tory Burch, Stuart Weitzman, Jeffrey Campbell are my faves.
Your show, Hair Battle Spectacular, recently debuted it’s second season. What kind of advice did you give to the hairstylists?
My advice to them is you don’t have to be good at everything, just be good at what you do. Don’t try to come in here and wow us; do what you know. It’s a competition, and you don’t want to lose because you trying to do all this other new stuff. Just do what you know how to do, be the best at it and make it fabulous.
What kind of hair tips do you have for the fall season?
A lot of black women don’t have a hair regimen. You should be getting your hair shampooed at least once a week and ends trimmed every four to six weeks. Then you need to decide if you want to be natural or relaxed, and keep up on those things. From relaxed to natural, cut it all off or get a weave. And get a good stylist that focuses on hair maintenance, not just hair styling.
What’s the biggest mistake girls make with their hair?
They want everything, but not take the time to maintain it all. They want the weave in, they want the weave out, they want relax, they want natural, just figure out what you want.
What do you think of the natural hair movement?
Most women don’t know what their natural hair looks like. They would come in my shop and take out their weave and be surprised their natural hair is curly. Well you wouldn’t know that because you been perming your hair since you were 12 and now you’re 30. So I do encourage my customers to grow their hair out and see what their natural hair texture is because you just might like it. Also, I feel like not all women are meant to be natural. Some women, you can’t get a comb through their head. You need a texturizer at least.
What about the evolution of hair expression in the workforce and media?
Not just in the workforce but in life. Unfortunately, we have been brainwashed as to what is considered “good hair.” Now when you do see natural hair on television, it’s big Tracee Ellis Ross curls, but you don’t see a girl with a cropped afro because to the industry that’s not considered beautiful. I appreciate people like Chrisette Michele cutting it all off because they are making strides to show natural is beautiful.
As an honorary member of Real Housewives of Atlanta, which cast member has your favorite sense of style?
This season, I will have to say NeNe [Leakes]. She has come into her own style as a woman and as a personality. She has a great sense of style and she came all the way around since the first season. Kim is a label whore, so you know she will always have the big labels. But for an evolutional style, I’d say NeNe.
Every scene someone has a different hairstyle. What you think about the hair this season?
As far as hair, you know all the girls are hit or miss. One day they looking good, the next day they’re not. My hand wasn’t as prominent in people’s hair, so I don’t have a favorite because it wasn’t my work. [Laughs]