Fashion & Trend

Tracee Ellis Ross Opens Up About the “Ongoing Adventure” of Hair Care

Texture Diaries is a space for Black people across industries to reflect on their journeys to self-love, and how accepting their hair, in all its glory, played a pivotal role in this process. Each week, they share their favorite hair rituals, products, and the biggest lessons they’ve learned when it comes to affirming their beauty and owning their unique hair texture.

Tracee Ellis Ross’s head-turning hair has been inspiring women for decades, from the curls she rocked in the iconic show Girlfriends to the braids, curls, and updos in Blackish and voluminous looks in The High Note. Off screen and on the red carpet, she’s been known to embrace her hair in all its forms, and that appreciation of versatility is part of what inspired her brand, Pattern Beauty, which comes out with a new product duo today—a moringa seed and rice water-infused Treatment Mask, and peppermint and lavender oil-filled Scalp Serum. “This collection is all about modernizing historic home remedies, to honor the secret exchange between family and hair and the way it connects us to our legacy,” Ross tells Vogue.

For Ross, 48, the journey to embracing her hair correlates with her exploration of self-love. “Things started to go haywire when I wasn’t seeing enough people who looked like me mirrored back to me in media and entertainment,” she recalls. She had her mother, Diana Ross, as inspiration, and she highlights Cicely Tyson as another hair hero. But at school in Los Angeles, none of her friends had hair like hers. “My journey to loving my hair has been an ongoing adventure, hard-earned. Some of it has been finding the right products, trial and error, experimentation and courage,” she says. “The courage to allow my hair to do what it naturally does instead of trying to beat it into submission to be something it is not.” At three years old, she cut off her own bangs because they refused to lay flat. “It left a nice patch at the front of my head,” Ross recalls with a laugh. Later, in her teen years, she remembers growing out her relaxer and embracing a few “questionable hairstyles,” until her natural pattern made its appearance.

Ross cites a slicked-back bun as her go-to style, which she keeps in place with a mix of her Leave-In, Jojoba Oil Serum, and Strong Hold Gel. “It feels elegant, it looks the same whether my hair is clean or dirty and I can do it in 5 minutes.”

To keep her hair healthy, Ross reaches for her favorite Pattern products—especially the conditioners. “The fact that I am able to choose from different Pattern conditioners, depending on what my hair is experiencing, has been beyond exciting and a dream come true,” she says. It’s helped her perfect a routine: Ross shampoos and conditions her hair once a week, making sure to co-wash twice a week between washes. “I mostly use the Medium Conditioner,” she says, but occasionally switches off between that, and the Intensive and Lightweight Conditioners. After applying her conditioner of choice, she separates her hair into six sections “while sopping wet,” and detangles with the Shower Brush. She rinses the conditioner out with cold, low pressure water. Leave-In Conditioner seals the deal while she’s in the shower. Developing her own brand has been something of a revelation: “This is the first time I have products that are actually good for my hair and give me great curls and coils.”

And if you need words of wisdom to accompany your hair rituals? Ross has a few ideas. First, she suggests, find safe spaces “that make you feel good and empowered,” which includes, “muting or unfollowing people on Instagram that don’t make you feel good about yourself. Find people to follow who mirror back your beauty, importance and who you are,” she says. “Find activities that remind you of your strength, and find ways to be of service to something bigger than yourself.” Most importantly, she adds, “be gentle and kind with yourself. Confidence is something that takes courage in a world that doesn’t always support who we are.”

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