When it comes to iconic women who promote self-love and acceptance (and who pretty much always looks fabulous) Tracee Ellis Ross is it. 

Many celebrities are great sources of textured hair inspiration, but so many of them have an unattainable, almost mystical-like quality. Getting your tresses on that Queen B level takes lots of money and time and even if you have both of those, it can still feel like an impossible task and unachievable dream. 

What we love about Tracee Ellis Ross is how approachable both her and her hair care routine is. Plus, she often rocks her natural ‘do and empowers others to embrace their own unique natural hair pattern and texture. 

If you’re just starting the transition to going natural, you want to take better care of your natural locks, or you just want to practice more patience and love when it comes to your curls and coils, there is no better icon to emulate than miss Ross. We’re diving into the signature Tracee Ellis Ross hair care routine and the easy wash-and-go look she’s perfected plus, how you can achieve the same look at home. Let’s get started on your natural hair care journey and discover how to embrace and care for your unique hair type and texture, Tracee Ellis Ross style.

Why We Love Tracee Ellis Ross

In case you don’t already know (though we doubt it) Tracee Ellis Ross is the daughter of legendary Diana Ross and music executive Robert Ellis Silberstein. Though she has always been in the spotlight, her famous family is the least interesting thing about her.

As a graduate from an ivy league school, she also lists: actress, model, presenter, fashion editor, and entrepreneur on her impressive resume. 

She’s long embraced her natural beauty while encouraging others to do the same and recognizes the “power it takes to wear your hair in its natural glory.” She wasn’t always this confident in her natural hair however, like many women, embracing her unique natural hair has been a journey. 

Sometimes embracing your god-given texture can be a difficult road full of hair disasters and bad yearbook photos. We love how vocal she is in discovering the special beauty of your individual curls and coils and breaking down the stigma of discussing this process. 

But it’s her bubbly personality, approachable attitude, infectious humor, and outspoken nature that’s made her the superstar she is today, and what’s made us all fall in love with her.

Caring For Your Natural Hair

Like most of us curly girls, Tracee Ellis Ross went through an intense journey to self-love and natural hair acceptance. She speaks candidly about being at odds with her hair growing up. This was primarily in part because there was (and still is) a lack of mainstream representation of natural haired women and internalizing the feeling that her natural curls didn’t look the way they should. 

This journey is one all curly girls will eventually go on. Chances are you’re on it now. You might be avoiding going natural, you might be trying to embrace it, or learning to properly care for your unique texture. 

No matter where you are on the journey right now, congrats! It takes time to be both completely confident in your natural look and master an effective natural hair care routine. 

The first step on your natural hair care journey is discovery. While there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to natural hair care, we always recommend everyone spend some time with their hair in its natural state. 

Evaluate what it needs, ie: do you curls tend to frizz up? Are they brittle and dry? Then see how your strands respond to water, humidity, and hair care products. Next it’s time to get your coils and curls into shape. This takes time. It takes working with various products, techniques, and lots of trial and error to find what works best for you. 

Below we’ve outlined Tracee Ellis Ross’ easy wash-and-go routine for healthy natural curls. Feel free to adapt the steps to what works best for your hair texture and type.

Tracee Ellis Ross’ Hair Care Routine 

Step 1: Shampoo

honey and coconut oil shampoo

Some people swear by co-washing but Tracee Ellis Ross (like us) argues that skipping shampoo can be damaging to the overall health of your hair. Maintain healthy, hydrated coils with a sulfate-free formula, like our Moisture Miracle Coconut Oil Shampoo, that moisturizes, removes dirt and buildup, and won’t strip strands of their natural oils.

Step 2: Condition

African pride honey chocolate and coconut oil conditioner

No matter how gentle you are while shampooing, the process will naturally strip hair of some moisture. That’s why it’s important to add back nutrients and moisture to strands through conditioning. Massage our Coconut Oil Conditioner to wet hair for 10-15 minutes and gently rinse.

Step 3: Leave-in Conditioner

Moisture Miracle Leave In Conditioner

Tracee Ellis Ross likes to apply leave-in conditioner to soaking wet hair while still in the shower. She applies lots of product into her hands, flips her head upside and dips hair into her palms. She then works the leave-in conditioner through strands, scrunching and detangling as she goes. 

Try our lightweight African Pride Leave-in Conditioner that replenishes moisture, adds shine, softens and leaves hair manageable and defined.

Step 4: Towel Dry Hair

Gently wrap hair into a microfiber towel and make sure it’s not too tight or twisted as not to ruin the curls you just created. Then let your hair towel dry while you use this time to do makeup or your skin care routine.  

After 10-15 minutes, Tracee takes her hair out of the towel and secures the majority of her hair at the top of her head with a large claw clip and lets this sit for another few minutes.

Step 5: Blow Dry Hair

You can choose to skip this step if you are trying to repair damaged hair. Even if your hair isn’t damaged it’s important to always use a diffuser and keep the hairdryer on a low heat setting. Slowly blow dry hair, working in sections and let each sit under the diffuser for a few seconds. 

Don’t worry if your curls dry differently or parts of your head have a slightly different pattern. For instance, Tracee Ellis Ross states she has several different curl patterns in her hair and has learned to embrace it: “I don’t like when my hair is all uniform,” she told Vogue, “I love having the difference and contrast of all the different curl patterns.”

Step 6: Seal in Moisture

5 Essentials Oils with Vitamin E

For the final step, Tracee Ellis Ross seals in moisture and secures the style of her curls with an oil or serum. 

Lightly massage your scalp and strands with a nourishing blend of our African Pride 5 Essential Oils or Hair & Scalp Sealing Oil to restore the natural nutrients your hair needs.

How To Embrace Your Natural Hair

woman looking up at sky

If you rarely go natural, take some time to think about why that is. No judgement either way. If it’s simply because it’s easier and more comfortable for you to wear extensions and wigs we get it! If however, you are afraid to embrace your natural hair texture or worry about how you will be perceived, it might be time to reframe your thinking.

African Pride wants to empower and support all our natural-haired beauties out there and help you love what you were born with. Don’t worry, this is a process and it takes a long time. We’ve previously mentioned the natural hair journey and while part of this journey is learning what works with your unique hair type and texture and mastering your natural hair care routine, it all starts with love and acceptance. 

This journey can’t be rushed, in fact it can take up to 8 months for your hair to fully transition back to its natural state. It might also take that long for you to build up your confidence in your natural beauty.

Tracee Ellis Ross speaks about the struggles she had with her natural hair. She used to rinse her hair with beer and iron it with a clothes iron (please never do either of these things!) to alter her curls into what she thought was the desired look.

Let’s take a deeper look at the essential steps to embracing your natural ‘do.

Put Down The Hair Tools

The first thing you need to do when attempting to embrace your natural look is to understand that ‘going natural’ doesn’t mean the same thing as a wash-and-go. So many girls spend hours straightening, relaxing, and smoothing down their hair. This in turn creates a ton of damage and can disrupt your natural curl pattern.

The first day you decide to rock a natural look is not how your hair will look a month or a year from now. Your hair needs to be nursed back to health and recover from years of manipulation. You might do Tracee Ellis Ross’ signature wash-and-go style and not like the way your curls look. 

This is normal. You’ve spent years fighting against your nature texture and causing damage, be patient and go slowly. Stop the use of any hot hair tools (including a blow dryer) and do plenty of deep conditioning treatments to nurture your delicate strands.

Use A Curling Cream

Once you’ve ceased using straighteners, curlers, and relaxers, it’s time to retrain your curls. In the beginning they will need some outside help finding the right pattern. Use a nourishing and hydrating curling cream to gently shape curls. 

Proper application of curling creams is also important. Applying these formulas while your hair is soaking wet is key as it gives you more control over your curls.

Trial and Error

You’ll learn to embrace your curls once you understand them better. It takes patience and diligence, but the long term payoff is well worth it. You’ll need to start at the beginning and learn how to properly take care of your curls and coils. 

This means a system of trial and error for finding the right products and formulas, getting regular trims (or maybe the big chop to eliminate damage), and learning the best ways to style your individual curl type. 

Ultimately, the key is to learn that going natural isn’t just a trend, it’s a commitment to embracing your natural beauty and ingraining proper natural hair care as a lifestyle change, like you do with diet, exercise, and self-care.

Seek Positive Hair Inspiration

Scrolling through social media can be disheartening for many reasons, especially for curly-haired girls. Mainstream media is still lacking in natural hair representation and many popular influencers have little to no texture in their hair. 

It’s important to curate your social media feeds to reflect what will make you happy and confident. Try to follow inspiring people and accounts that highlight your personal curl type and pattern. 

Youtube how-to videos for advice on caring for your type of curls and don’t even bother watching videos that don’t feature your hair type. Once you start seeing your hair type on a daily basis you’ll feel more confident in accepting your hair for the unique beauty it is.