“I feel like it’s been hard to find my feet because the foundation is shifting beneath us,” Tracee Ellis Ross tells me over the phone.
Had we not been experiencing the global chaos of the past three months, her response to the standard opening question of “How are you?” might have seemed unusual. But amid quarantine and nationwide unrest surrounding the loss of countless innocent Black victims like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks, I understood it.
Always the optimist, Ross shares that remembering our full humanity is one of the ways she finds solace: “Not just the tragedy, not just the transformation, but those places where we have always been whole.”
The PATTERN community, created by Ross, has been one of those spaces where we can celebrate our strength and beauty. It’s a community that Ross says is much like our hair: powerful, sturdy and flexible.
“It bends. It moves. All of those things. And if our hair could talk, it would tell you of our legacies. All those ways that our identity continued to push through spaces where it wasn’t meant to be but is nonetheless,” says Ross. And that includes schools and workplaces, both environments where we are encouraged to stifle our curls and coils.
We really are meeting our hair where it is. We aren’t telling it where to go.”
“One of the things that’s been really important to me from the beginning, about PATTERN, is that we really are meeting our hair where it is. We aren’t telling it where to go,” says Ross, who launched the first PATTERN collection back in September 2019. The line featured cleansers, conditioners and hair serums to support our vast textures. And in May, the star launched the brand’s first collection of functional hair accessories for natural hair.
The second phase of products will roll out on June 19, and this time it includes products and tools for styling our hair patterns.
“I’m super proud of how the brand and our community have come together as we continue to fulfill the beauty needs of the natural hair community,” says Ross.
“There’s always been a desire for styling products,” she continues, referring to ones that wouldn’t damage hair or cause breakage or fragility of edges. “We know how important those have become.
“So we’ve been working toward this for quite some time. We combined what our followers have wanted, what our customers have wanted, what I wanted, what our team wanted, and came up with this amazing grouping of tools and stylers.”
The new collection includes a curl gel, styling cream, edge control and strong hold gel, which is Ross’s favorite product to use on her “adult grown hairs” to make them look like baby hairs.
“That’s my new hot topic product,” she quips. “It doesn’t flake, and when you move your hand through your hair, your hair still feels good. It doesn’t break, which is really key.”
In addition to Ross’s favorite new hair gel, PATTERN will also be launching styling tools and additional accessories, including an edge tool, a hair pick and a wide-tooth comb. The brand is also releasing additions to its shower line, including a self-heating serum that will forever change the way you do hot oil treatments. Ross likens the new technology to hand warmers.
“It’s kind of similar to those little things you put in your pocket when it gets cold, that heat up when you shake them and get warm,” she says. Think a modern hot oil treatment you don’t have to heat up.
While the new technology is intriguing, Ross says she is most excited about the fact that the new styling products are silicone-free.
The styling products have no silicone in them. That is big news, and exciting to me.”
“We continue to work toward really good products that are effective but also have stuff in them that supports hair,” she says. “We’ve been trying to eliminate silicones, which is not easy. The styling products have no silicone in them. That is big news, and exciting to me.”
Not only does PATTERN continue to create products with purpose and that are specific to the natural hair community, but the brand is also supporting like-minded organizations that uplift and empower women and people of color.
For phase two, the company has partnered with United Way Worldwide in providing resources to communities impacted by COVID-19, specifically the Black community.
“It’s just a part of the organic mission of PATTERN to continue being a part of our community, the community that we serve, support and uplift–it’s an exchange of care,” Ross says. “Caring for and being a part of our community is always at the top of our minds at PATTERN, and particularly during these difficult times.”
For a first look at the new PATTERN products launching this Friday on patternbeauty.com, check out the gallery below.