EXCLUSIVE: Gabrielle Union Shares Her #1 Tip When Caring for Natural Locks

@itsgabrielleu/Twitter

Gabrielle Union is taking a flawless dive into the beauty world.

The Being Mary Jane actress has launched Flawless by Gabrielle Union, a hair care line created with the needs that come with having textured hair in mind. "What caught my attention with Flawless is that I would no longer just be the face of a brand, but would be designing a line of products that address what I feel are the main issues for women with textured hair," she said in a statement. "I've made it my mission to make sure everything from the formulas to the packaging are just right. I myself have suffered from one too many bad hair days and have never found one range of products that met all of my needs. I wanted to change that! This line is all about healthy hair and versatility — so you can change up your styles without compromising the condition of your hair. I want women to be able to express themselves, flawlessly!"

Flawless boasts everything from shampoos to masques to blow dry protectants, all infused with argan, marula and avocado oil as key ingredients, to give textured hair the TLC it needs and deserves.

We caught up with Union to talk about what "flawless" means to her, what brands get wrong when it comes to reaching WOC, her best tips for natural hair care and more. Read it all in our exclusive interview below:

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Hair is certainly a sacred thing for many of us and it can drastically change your mood. What would you say was your biggest motivator in creating this hair care line?

Throughout my life, me and a lot of my friends have been in a number of situations where we’ve been invited to the party but no one asked us to dance. There are a lot of hair care lines out there that want your business but they don’t necessarily cater to your needs. For women with textured hair, having products that really stress moisture and nurturing of your hair are kind of few and far between. I basically just kind of created the line that me and my friends have always wanted. It took a lot of feedback and listening to a lot of people’s home remedies, and incorporating a lot of home remedies that I’ve used over the years, that friends have used over the years, different oil blends. I incorporated that into the line because I know there are certain ingredients that have worked wonders that we’ve created in our kitchens that I wanted to bring to the masses.

What does "flawless" mean to you?

On any given day, flawless is having that thing that gives you that extra bounce where it feels like you got your own theme music playing when you walk into a room. Or you have that feeling like when a Beyoncé song comes on and it’s like you can’t faze me. You feel unstoppable. You feel like no one can defeat you and a lot of times that comes from the inside out. But a lot of times, sometimes you’re not quite there emotionally — you’re having bad day and sometimes you gotta fake it till you make it. If I can have a great hair day, then maybe by the end of the day at least I can pull it together emotionally and feel flawless inside and out. It’s just that feeling of feeling unstoppable, and if you can get all cylinders functioning at the same time, man you are legit flawless down to the socks.

What are some of your best tips when caring for natural strands?

The biggest thing is water. I drink a gallon of water a day and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my hair, my skin, my nails, diet, health, and wellness. Being properly hydrated is huge! Nothing can grow, nothing can function properly without enough water. I know for a lot of us we're incredibly busy and we just kind of grab the thing that’s closest to us, and a lot of times that’s sugary caffeine drinks or sodas or juice, but if you can replace those sugary drinks with water it is the best thing you can do for your overall health and wellness — and especially for you hair.

What advice would you give to women who want to go natural but are too scared?

Everyone's hair journey is different. Some people go from 0 to 100 and can be super confident from the jump. Some of us take a little longer. Getting to a place of complete acceptance and joy is a process and everyone is different. You can’t compare your hair journey to anyone else’s because no two hair journeys are the same. It's just about being happy and comfortable no matter what you do with your hair. Supporting yourself is sometimes enough.  If you’re in the middle of a hair journey and your like, "Ahh! I feel good," it doesn’t really matter what anyone else says or thinks. For all of us that journey is so different and no matter where you are on that journey, as long as you have the love and acceptance of self, everyone else eventually falls in line. Anyone who would judge you for your hair is not worth knowing anyway, they just did you a favor. Thank them and hi-five them on the way out the door because your hair journey is so personal. The only people who should have an opinion about your hair journey is you. I know for a lot of us it's just a process of getting to a place of complete acceptance, no matter what you do with your hair, whether that’s rocking your natural hair, or your natural curl pattern, wearing extension, weaves or braids, or wigs or straight up bald. Everyone’s hair journey is completely different and unique, and you are fly and dope and flawless regardless of what your journey looks like.

What would you say that most brands get wrong when it comes to reaching women of color?

Not enough moisture! Or too much alcohol in the products. Our hair needs to be nurtured and moisturized, and I think there are a lot of products that end up drying out your hair and can almost leave it in worst shape than when you started. For a lot women who rock textured hair especially, if you blow dry your hair a lot of styling products that are supposed to be made for heat styling are not. They can actually leave you with brittle, dry, damaged hair with split ends and it works against you. Or their products within the same product line will actually fight each other. They can’t be cocktails, you have to use one or the other. That’s one of the things that we really stressed in Flawless, is that the products can be cocktailed. You can use the oil treatment with the blow dry cream. I’m one of those people if I love it, I love it and I overuse it. I don’t generally follow directions, more like suggestions, but if you over use it, it's not going to ruin your hairstyle. You’re not going to have to wash your hair and start over again. 

They actually don’t get the smell right. I want the products to be effective but leave my hair smelling amazing that when people walk by they're like, "damn girl." Or when I’m in the shower I’m like, "mmm check myself." It's those little things that people kind of rush through. That's why I've taken so long to get my line out, but I wouldn’t release it half ass. I wanted the line to be a love letter for women with textured hair who’ve been ignored, Just to know like I see you, I love you, and I was thinking of you.