"What we do with our hair, it's so much deeper than just surface level," Jordin Sparks tells PEOPLE as she launches a beauty-focused web series with Barefoot Wine

By Robyn Merrett
September 29, 2020 04:18 PM
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Jordin Sparks
| Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Jordin Sparks loves her "crazy, curly, kinky crown" but admits it took a lot of learning to feel comfortable caring for her natural curls.

The "No Air" singer, 30, opened up to PEOPLE about her hair journey ahead of the premiere of Barefoot Wine's We Stan for Her web series on Tuesday — which she is a part of alongside dancer Ashley Everett and The Lip Bar founder Melissa Buttler — that explores beauty standards and creates a platform for Black women to see themselves reflected and celebrated.

Sparks shares that many of her life experiences have shaped her perspective of beauty and her relationship with her hair, from life in the public eye to motherhood.

"I think as a kid it was pretty [hard] because I didn't know what to do with [my hair] when I was younger," Sparks says.

"It was probably either held back with a headband or up in a ponytail [as] that was all I could really manage because I didn't know how to really take care of or style it myself," Sparks shares.

Sparks says as she grew older she began straightening her hair, which led to extreme heat damage. "I went overboard on it once I finally was able to do it," she says of using heat on her hair.

Meanwhile, the biracial daughter of Jodi Jackson and Phillippi Sparks at times felt alone in her journey because it wasn't what "friends growing up dealt with."

"Sleepovers [were] just different. We never had conversations because our hair didn't match each other."

Jordin Sparks
| Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty

While Sparks admits that she knew heat was bad for her hair, she explains that she still didn't understand the extent of the damage she had done until after rising to fame after winning American Idol in 2007.

As she explained on the web series, her hair became so unhealthy that she recalls wearing it badly damaged for a red carpet event. She says it was in that moment that she realized she had to do something.

″From there, it was all about trying to get back to a healthy normal length,″ she tells PEOPLE.

″I finally found products that worked for me and I've been using the same shampoo and conditioner ever since.″

Sparks breaks down her routine explaining that now: ″I wash, condition and then I brush my hair with the conditioner in it while in the shower. After that, I rinse [but] I leave some of the conditioner in my hair and then I get out of the shower, squeeze some of the water out, flip my head over and finger detangle my hair with gel and cream that I mix together. Then I brush through [it again].″ After air-drying her hair, she just lets it do ″what it wants to do."

Credit: Tyler Shields

Although Sparks' hair is healthy again, she says her curl pattern has changed since welcoming son DJ with husband Dana Isaiah. ″After giving birth to my son and going through all the hair changes that happen, my curls are tighter than they used to be,″ Sparks says.

Speaking on how motherhood has changed her overall view of beauty, Sparks says: ″I've always admired women for our resilience and our strength.″

RELATED VIDEO: Jordin Sparks Opens Up About Her Life as a Mom

″Somehow [moms] seem to figure out how to still be the cook, the teacher, the doctor, the stylist... moms take on so many roles,″ Sparks explains. ″I just find it so beautiful to see how selfless moms can be. How the beauty always shines through when we're exhausted, even when we want to breakdown and cry. I feel like every woman has that [resilience] inside of them. They're raising the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They're raising the men that are going to be strong and speak out for equality. It's really a beautiful thing and I'm so honored to just be a part of the circle. I knew I would love being a mom. It's the hardest and the best thing that I have ever done.″

Sparks shares that she's learned even more about her own hair through the filming the Barefoot Wine's web series.

″This is all about celebrating genuine experiences of Black women and acknowledging their adversities and highlighting the things that they do within their own self-expression and their own journeys," Sparks says.

″It's just really interesting to be talking about things that we deal with every day. We deal with our hair every day. We deal with self-love and affirmations. Everything we talked about are things that we deal with every day but that we don't necessarily think about.″

″For me, it was really interesting because I always thought that my haircare routine was super simple. Then I walked myself through my own routine the other day, and I was like, 'Wow, okay, this is much more complicated than I thought. It was interesting to me to think about in that way. Then after I did these interviews [with Barefoot], I saw this tweet and this woman said, 'We have to change the way we think about our hair.'"

"'We have hair that's so sensitive and so gentle that we have to wrap it in silk and cover it with oils,'″ Sparks says, recalling the tweet.

″It really changed my perspective,″ Sparks says of the tweet. ″I love our hair [and] to hear it described like that – so gentle, it's so tender, that we have to take the utmost care, wrap it in silk – it's just so beautiful."

Produced by Stony & Yates, the We Stan for Her web series features four episodes: Crowns on Our Head focuses on perspectives on natural hair versus other hairstyles; Our Beautiful Story highlights how heritage and upbringing contribute to beauty preferences and routines; Thriving Queens explores Black representation in the beauty industry and Self-Love discusses concepts of confidence and self-acceptance.

Watch the full series on YouTube.