From the moment we got the tiniest inkling that Taraji P. Henson was working on a hair care line, we began working the phones to find out the what, when, and why immediately. Earlier this month she finally launched TPH by Taraji in Target stores nationwide. At her “Hair Dare University” event this past Friday, the Tinseltown beauty shared her dreams of changing the hair care industry with a room full of enthusiastic beauty lovers.
“What better way to share how I keep my hair healthy than to create a hair care line that I actually use,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that it was affordable. And it had to be diverse. I didn’t make it just for natural hair because I’ve worn every kind of hair. I wanted to make a line that serviced everyone. Just think of me as the Fenty of hair.”
Well, it certainly has a ring to it. So ESSENCE sat down with our favorite Cookie to find out why she ditched her signature bob and what it means to be the Fenty of beauty.
ESSENCE: The bob was your signature look for a while.
Taraji P. Henson: I actually didn’t want the cut. Because that was my look in college. My length is in the sides, and the front of my hair grows faster, so that’s why I can really wear a bob really well, because [my hair] grows naturally into a bob. My hairdresser at the time was Dante Blandshaw. He cut that bob when I did the Oscar run. And I was like, ‘I don’t want another bob.’
So, when did you decide to move on? And what was the look that you were going for?
I mean, after a while, I just wanted to play. I’m a chameleon with my hair. I’m a character actress, so I love [to change it]. When I was coming up in D.C. I spent my Fridays in the salon. I had a standing appointment. And so, every week, I was looking for new hairstyles.
So you want to be the Fenty of hair?
The reason why I say that is because Rihanna hit the market with a bang because she was all inclusive. And that’s smart. And for me, my audience is so diverse, my fans are so diverse. They’re so all over the place in age. And I have every ethnicity, every walk of life. What I realized buying Fenty, was, because I love Rihanna, I feel like I have a piece of her. So, I didn’t want to leave anybody out.
And this started from a personal need?
I think when it first hit that I was coming out with a hair care line people assumed that it was for natural hair, because I had just did the big chop. But I was already working on the hair care. I was pressing my hair so much, it was breaking, and it was uneven, and it wasn’t growing the way I thought it should’ve. I was like, ‘You know what? I’m starting from scratch.’ Representation is so important because I started seeing other Black women embrace their natural hair. And it gave me the confidence to do it.
Now that you’re wearing your natural hair is there any iconic look out there that you want to recreate?
I don’t know if I’ve seen it yet. Maybe I’ll [create it].