Tracee Ellis Ross On Pattern Beauty: "This Is Not A New Thing For Me"
Most people's brilliant ideas come to them in the shower. Tracee Ellis Ross, founder of Pattern Beauty, got hers from the shower — where her haircare routine happens. "My conditioning and washing relationship and time used to be a lot more, because my hair needed to be nursed back to health," she tells me over the phone on Sept. 5. "So throughout my journey with my hair, there were periods where Sundays were conditioning day and I would stay home to mask and use a heat cap. The time that you saw yesterday is the time I really spend on my hair always."
The time that she's speaking of, if you've been under a rock, is her live demonstration of her routine — one that she just so happened to share with a room full of beauty editors last month. (For the record: She detangles from the bottom to the top, "scrunches" her conditioner in, and diffuses on low). It makes sense that she has everything down to a science, seeing that it took 74 samples (and shower routine videos in lieu of note taking) to get the line — which includes Medium, Heavy, and Intensive Conditioners, two types of serums, a shower brush, and a massive hair clip, among others — right.
"The thing that was the most surprising to me while creating the line was working directly with chemists and realizing the way they work with formulas and determine efficacy is not based on our hair type," she reveals to TZR. "Trying to explain what I was looking for specifically in creating these formulas and why they didn't exist is something I knew, but when I got the evidence of it, you're like, 'Wow, that really is the case.'"
Her work in the lab — and in the shower — appear to be paying off, though, with candid reviews across the 'net and sold-out product bundles on the site. (But don't fret: a restock and merch are coming to patternbeauty.com on Oct. 15 at 9 a.m. PST, per Ross' Instagram).
While you might not get a shower date with Tracee (sorry!), ahead, read more about the brand in her own words before your next wash day.
On Embracing Her Own Pattern
"My curl pattern is all over the place. It always has been. If I look at pictures of my childhood, I've always had different textures all over my head. I'm still always so jealous of those women that seem to have the same pattern from top to bottom.
"I guess I was one of the first [celebrities to embrace natural hair]. There's been a small handful. I mean there's the ones that I knew about that I looked up to. There's Rae Dawn Chong and Cree Summer and Lisa Nicole Carson. There's a strong handful of women. But was it everywhere? No.
"The struggle has been more in my personal relationship with myself and accepting my hair and understanding my hair. But the truth is that that relationship with my hair was a long time ago. I mean, I have been working for my curls as opposed to my curls working for me for — well, since before Girlfriends. It's been a good 10, 15 years of me having a loving relationship with my hair. This is not a new thing for me."
On The Curly Conversation
"Everybody doesn't need to understand it. I think there's a lot of conversations that are had about beauty that I don't identify with, that are not for me. I'm not somebody who uses contour or highlighter and wants to figure out how to get my eyelashes on quickly, because I don't wear them. So I don't think that this is a conversation for everybody. It's for the conversation for people who are interested in it, curious about it or have this desire and connection because their hair. And this is not just a Black woman conversation. There are many people that have curly and coily-textured hair, but it is most specifically for this community. And in our entirety, that's where we are. It's not about natural hair being [exclusive]. This is about attracting a community people of that have been here forever and that have been missing [from the narrative]. And these products support that community."
On Feedback From Naturalistas — & Her Message To Consumers
"I don't know that this community is critical so to speak. They just know what they're looking for. I feel like we know our hair. I know what I'm looking for and I can tell you what's not it. I know that one cannot make anything — a TV show, a piece of art, a picture — that every single person is going to love. The same goes for me as a person. Not everybody is going to like me. I'm not everybody's cup of tea. That's not the goal, right? The goal, for me, was not to satisfy everybody, but to make my best effort. To take my best shot by listening to myself. I knew what I needed to make this what I wanted it to be. And that's why I have an extraordinary team working with Pattern, too — to help us think of things that I would never think of or to satisfy concerns of their hair types.
"That's why you take time to develop a product. These products were created specifically for Type 3 and 4 textures. If it's not specifically what you want or doesn't end up working on your hair, that's totally fine. But what you are going to get is a product that has been made with you in mind. And hopefully that works for you.
"As Pattern grows and builds, I want to hear your feedback. And if it doesn't work for you, I hope you find stuff that does. But give it a try, you know?"