A few months back, we announced our Expert Curl Council—a team of dermatologists, trichologists, and stylists who are going to be sharing their expertise on hair and scalp health. Today, we want you to meet DevaCurl Expert Curl Council member, Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey who is a licensed psychologist, professor, and life coach! Keep reading to learn why she joined DevaCurl’s Expert Curl Council, a few of her best curl tips, and more!
Q: What’s your name and your specialty?
A: I am Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey. I’m a licensed clinical and school psychologist in the states of Texas and Louisiana, a certified professional life coach, a licensed specialist in school psychology, as well as associate and tenured professor and clinic director at Stephen F. Austin state university down here in Texas. My home base is Houston, Texas, but I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri. I’m also a blogger, and I enjoy all things beauty, hair, education, fitness.
Q: What is a beauty product you can’t live without?
A: I can’t live, in general, without mascara. I have this thing that I say that if I’m out without mascara, I’m being disrespectful. It’s funny, but I totally feel like I should always have something that defines my eyes. It’s one of the things that I find very open about me, and it attracts people to me and me to myself as well. I think eyes are important. So, mascara is important to me.
Q: What are three things you can’t live without?
A: I cannot live without my best friends, and that group also includes my boyfriend, my very best friends since I’ve been six years old, my mother, so all of them get lumped in that group. I cannot live without my dog, even though dogs or people are not permanent. As long as she’s on this earth, I feel so comforted by her little spirit and soul. I also cannot live without all of my electronics. I am an electronic junkie.
Q: Aside from your family, who would you want to be quarantined with?
A: Oh, this is going to be another weird answer and I hope it doesn’t come off as creepy: probably me. A clone of me. I’ll say why, because other than my family and my friends, I would say me because I’m quite quiet when I’m by myself. When I say quiet, I’m not looking for excitement. I’m not looking for anything to do other than to be quiet, be creative, and be off on my own to try and do different things.
Q: What are your quarantine care tips for curls?
A: Very basic, but still take care of your hair. Somehow, people feel that just being in quarantine is enough. What I mean by that is I’ve had people say to me, “Well, I’m not really doing much with my hair,” or, “I’m not really doing all of that stuff because I’m not going anywhere.” And actually, quarantine is the best time to get your hair back to healthy or on point. We have the advantage of not always being out in the elements right now. We have the advantage of not having to over style. But we do also have the advantage of being able to try out products, make sure that we’re deep conditioning, making sure that we’re taking care of our tresses, even trying little creative hairstyles. We have the opportunity to do that.
Q: Who is your hair icon?
A: Two stick out to me equally–Diana Ross and Chaka Khan. When I blow my hair out, it’s really big. I have huge hair, and I’ve always loved that. Since I was a little kid, I’ve had a thick head of hair, and so I’ve always resonated with people that have that big head of hair that most might say takes a lot to take care of. But those two for me are equally hair icons. Their hair is just beautiful. It represents so much.
Q: What is your hidden talent?
A: I have lots of hidden talents. I am classically trained in piano. I’ve also classically trained on the viola, violin, and cello, and I also rap and sing. Back when I was about 16 years old, I was in a rap contest during the Jay-Z concert. I actually won the contest, which was interesting.
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: My favorite food is spinach. I could be locked in a house full of spinach and be just fine. That sounds weird, but I love spinach. I don’t know why. I feel like you can sauté it, you can eat it raw, you can put it in smoothies, you can freeze it. You can do all kinds of stuff with spinach. I’ve just always loved spinach.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
A: I’m the type of girl that because I’m very fit conscious, and I like to make sure that I’m taking care of my health, I’m one of those people that will buy a cupcake and just take a fork full of it whenever I have an urge to have some. So, that same cupcake might last me two or three days, just because I’m just taking fork fulls of it when I’m having an urge to have some. But it’s like a guilty pleasure.
Q: A favorite question here at Deva, Beyoncé or Rihanna?
A: I’m going to have to say Rihanna because I like her as a person. I feel like she shows a lot of who she is and she’s unapologetic. But Beyonce musically. But I love them both, but I would have to say Rihanna. She’s the type of girl I feel like I would want to hang out with.
Q: Why did you decide to become a member of the DevaCurl Expert Curl Council?
A: The reason why I really was intrigued by it and further decided to join was because I understand the connection between hair and people who are searching for “the perfect hair.” I realized that there’s a mental connection to that, more so than there is even how much we realize it to be a physical connection, and I saw the interest in understanding how people think, what their practices are, the health and all of that, in DevaCurl. I thought it would be a very great connection for me as well to be able to help with expertise on that, and as a psychologist and someone who works with clients who are often having difficulties in that area, but they’re also realizing that it’s a connection to other parts of their lives. I thought that this would be “the bigger picture,” if you will. And it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: The best advice I’ve ever received is from my mother, and it is show better than you tell. My mom always taught me that people won’t go by what you say for very long. They’ll start to watch you and go by what you do. So, I believe very much in being the example of what you talk about.
Q: What is your best expert advice that you can give to the curl community?
A. Take time to embrace your curls, your hair, the way that it is. And also realize that it is an extension of you. What’s going on in your body happens to your hair. So, the more and more you’re seeking to take care of yourself, watch the foods that you eat, exercise, drinking your water, staying away from being super stressed, all of that is a connection to your hair. And also, realizing that you only live once. With our hair and with our curls, try different things. Do different things and enjoy the fact that, as we age, it changes. It does different things. Engage in it. Take care of it. Get to know it, and make sure that you know the things that work best for your hair. DevaCurl has a myriad of products that all different hair textures are able to use, explore them. Find out what works best for your hair. And while taking advice from others, make sure that you’re very clear and solid on what also works for your head of curls.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey and the rest of our Expert Curl Council!