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Tracee Ellis Ross‘ curly afro has been a beacon of hope for many naturalistas out there. However, it turns out the former Girlfriends and now Black-ish star has not always had the warmest feelings towards her hair.

In a new interview with People magazine, Tracee speaks about the not-so-easy road to loving her mane. From perming to using beer, the actress tried it all before finally giving in to her natural locks.

On her journey to loving her ‘fro, she says:

“It was a long journey from childhood. For so many years I was trying to beat my hair into submission, trying to get it to look like someone else’s hair and I didn’t know how. I remember going through a phase where I even put beer in my hair, because I was told that would make it smooth and curly.”

On trying to chemically straighten it:

“Definitely, when I was growing up. That’s what everyone with curly hair did back then. I think I was 13 years old when I started growing my hair out from the relaxer. I was living in Switzerland going to boarding school and my hair was breaking off. It was scary. I remember calling my mother and saying, ‘This is really bad and really hard.’”

Though her mother Diana Ross reigns supreme in the big and curly hair department, the lack of representation of like-maned people contributed to Tracee’s struggle:

“My mom was a natural texture person and it was always the bigger the better. She loves my hair big and out and she always has. Even though I grew up with the image of my mother wearing her hair that way, I hadn’t really seen it elsewhere, so it still has taken courage to wear my hair natural and not feel the pressure to straighten it. I’m loving the natural hair movement. It’s really encouraging and is expanding the definition of beauty.”

However, unlike most naturalistas, Tracee has a radically different bedtime routine–she does not wrap her hair!

“I wash twice a week unless I work out a lot and then I’ll wash more. Every two months I’ll get a trim and every two years I’ll get a cut. And my night ritual is that I go to sleep. I don’t wrap my hair, I don’t bun my hair, I don’t do crap!”

She does however, have a go-to product to help during those long days:

“If I have an 8:00 a.m. call and I work out at 6:00 a.m., I don’t have time to get my hair blown out before going on camera. On Black-ish we work in a lot of different natural styles. One of my favorite products is Amla’s edge tamer. It’s perfect for slicking down flyaways and giving hair that freshly washed look.”

And she also adheres to the most common natural hair tip:

“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! That’s my favorite thing about the Amla products. They’re all about rejuvenating your hair. They give you the look that you want, but long term, they’re actually helping your hair get healthier.”

It may have taken a while, but we’re glad Tracee decided to embrace her curls.


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