How Laverne Cox Healed Her Hair From Heat Damage

by Shammara Lawrence
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Laverne Cox's Natural Hair

Laverne Cox lives for glamour. Catch her on any red carpet or at any public event, and you’re sure to see her looking impeccable from head to toe. But be clear: The actress, best known for her role as Sophia Burset on Orange Is The New Black (for which she earned three Primetime Emmy Award nominations) and her advocacy in the LGBTQ+ community, doesn’t let her physical appearance define her. As much as Cox loves a good beat and a laid wig, she's equally as gorgeous underneath all the makeup and weave — Laverne Cox's natural hair is flourishing, thank you very much. But aside from the physical, the actress is equally serious about cultivating self-love and inner peace.

“I feel the most beautiful when I'm in the space of the present, and all the possibilities that the present holds,” she tells me at Matrix Destination in Orlando, Florida on Jan. 20, decked in a stunning fringe Pucci dress and barrel-curled orange and blonde hair.

When you have a busy schedule like Cox's, it’s important to make time to celebrate each career wins as they come. “I'm trying to just be in the space of joy with everything that I do," she says. "There's a lot of pressure in my work, so I'm trying to really be less stressed and more joyous. That means just letting a lot more stuff go and taking a moment to process everything."

Wondering how the Hollywood star manages to care for her herself inside and out with an ever-demanding schedule. Read on for her secrets.

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On The Importance of Representation in Beauty

Cox's newest endeavor makes her the first openly transgender celebrity ambassador for Matrix Total Results, something the actress considers a vital move for the industry. “I feel like we’re just starting to see trans people in [beauty] campaigns, and it’s such a beautiful thing. People need to see themselves. People also need to know that brands are there for them. I mean, we spend a lot of money on hair products, cosmetics, and clothes, and I want to support brands that support me.”

On Her Caring For Her Natural Hair Under Protective Styles

Her major key to maintaining healthy hair? Keeping it braided and moisturized. “In terms of my own hair, I try to braid it [and] keep it cornrowed. I braid it every four to six weeks. I deep condition and sometimes do hot oil treatments when I take the braids out,” she says. “On a daily basis, I've started oiling my scalp for the past maybe six months. [I keep] coconut oil next to my toothbrush, so when I brush my teeth in the morning, I spray some coconut oil [on my hair].”

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On Her Love of Wigs

After suffering significant damage to hair during her career from relaxers and heat styling, she started experimenting with wigs — and now they're her go-to protective style. “I’m all about versatility and protecting my hair. Three years ago when I was doing press for Doubt, [for] maybe two months, I was doing my own hair and putting a lot of heat on it. I think whether you're Black or not, putting all this heat on your own hair every day for styling is really rough on your hair,” she says. The wigs also help with maintaining her natural hair. “I want to keep my hair so when I decide to wear it [naturally], it's full and thick and healthy. It's [also] easier, honestly, to maintain with like wigs and what not than styling it myself. I love my hair. I'm grateful that I still have hair that's big and I still have edges. It's a lovely thing.”

On Feeling Her Most Beautiful

Cox, who split from boyfriend Kyle Draper in June 2019 after two years of dating, isn't shying away from living life while solo. “Now that I'm single, honestly, I feel the most beautiful when I am fully embracing the newness of what the universe has for me as a single woman. I know that this has nothing to do with beauty or glamour, but that's really it. When I'm able to be still and be fully present and understand that I am connected deeply and profoundly to the energy of the universe and that I'm co-creating this moment for myself right now, that's when I feel the most beautiful, because I feel the most in touch with energy that's bigger than me. I feel that the sky's the limit, that anything is possible. Because it's not even about me. It's about a connection to this cosmic energy.”