In 2016, Asia Jackson created the viral hashtag #MAGANDANGMORENX (Tagalog for beautiful brown skin) and spurred a movement highlighting the effects of colorism and texturism within the Filipino community around the world. The actress and YouTuber also shares beauty, lifestyle, and fashion content with over 370, 000 followers. Beyond creating content like why black and brown people need to wear sunscreen and what the difference between wardrobe basics vs essentials is, Asia has shared stories around growing up biracial and navigating the world as a working actress in Los Angeles. This month, she spoke to us about her hair journey, her current wash day routine, and how she embraced her natural hair.
Meet Asia Jackson
All the Pretty Birds: Our relationship with hair starts at a young age – do you have any vivid childhood memories surrounding your hair?
Asia Jackson: I’m Black and Filipino and a military brat, so I grew up in different communities around the world. I remember being bullied for my hair in basically every community I’ve ever been a part of. In predominantly white communities, it was because my hair wasn’t straight. When I lived in Asia, it was because my hair wasn’t straight. In predominantly Black communities, it was because my hair wasn’t styled the way that they thought it should be styled. My mother is Asian and this was before YouTube, so she didn’t know how to style my hair for me. I also didn’t really care about styling my hair at the time— I was a child and all I cared about was playing.
ATPB: Growing up, were there any particular hair ideals that you felt you needed to abide by?
AJ: Throughout my life, in every community, I was told that my hair was prettier if it was straightened. I chemically straightened my hair for the first time at 6/7 years old but the 7th grade is when I started straightening my hair every day with a flat iron. It wasn’t until I was around 21 years old that I finally went natural.
ATPB: Have you experimented with your look – did you feel empowered or were there any regrets?
AJ: The most “experimentation” I’ve ever done with my hair was getting it ombre’d when it was popular. It ruined my curl pattern at the ends, but I don’t regret it. Hair is hair—it grows back.
ATPB: You created #MAGANDANGMORENX to highlight colorism in your community – have you experienced texturism along with that?
AJ: Yes, absolutely. The beauty ideal in the Philippines includes stick straight hair. Lots of Filipinos have textured hair—some naturally have waves and some naturally have hair that is even curlier than mine. #MAGANDANGMORENX isn’t only about skin color, but it’s also about challenging Eurocentric beauty ideals and that includes hair texture.
ATPB: How has your relationship with your hair and beauty evolved?
AJ: One day, in my early 20s, I woke up one morning and decided that I was tired of people trying to tell me who I was. I started to fully embrace my identity and that included my hair texture! That was when I went completely natural. That was also around the same time that I became comfortable with my skin color. I learned that I was more beautiful by working with what I have, instead of working against what I have and trying to become someone else. Someone else’s beauty standards weren’t made for me, so they are never going to work for me. I, myself, define beauty.
ATPB: What’s your hair type and what does your wash day routine look like?
AJ: My hair is mostly 3A. Right now I’m using Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo. I detangle in the shower with a brush and Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Shea Curl Defining Conditioner and apply DevaCurl B’Leave-In on soaking wet hair, then DevaCurl Arc AnGel immediately after. I use a microfiber towel to absorb excess water then I air dry! If for some reason I can’t air dry, like if I need my hair to be dry in 30 minutes, I’ll use my Dyson blow dryer. 100% worth the money.
ATPB: Any particular holy grail hair products you love?
AJ: I don’t know what I’d do without the DevaCurl B’Leave-In and Arc AnGel. I also really liked the Ouai Curl Jelly but I think it’s been discontinued?
ATPB: And finally, how has the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affected your hair care and overall self care practices?
AJ: I have more time to actually take care of myself!