Gabrielle Union has made a name for herself in Hollywood thanks to a lengthy resume of blockbuster films and TV shows and possessing a face that appears to be aging in reverse. And in addition to those Benjamin Button qualities, she inspires us daily with her outspoken views about sexual assault, feminism, and fighting against prevailing cultural beauty standards. And now Union is combining her passions for activism and beauty, making the jump from actress to haircare entrepreneur, and launching her very own line of products.
The Bring It On star has partnered with the company behind hair-care brand Macadamia Natural Oil to develop her new line, Flawless. Debuting March 1 on the brand’s website, the Flawless haircare range will contain 10 products priced from $19 to $29, including several different shampoos and conditioners, a hair masque, blow dry cream, hair protection spray, shine spray, an oil treatment and edge control gel.
And her choice to go into the field is about more than just bringing her beauty picks to the masses, Union tells WWD: “I want to have a seat at the table, and part of that is having ownership.”
She also wants to give more options to women with natural hair who are underrepresented in the market. “I want women with textured hair to have great hair days,” she says. “I went through a phase where I would leave my relaxer on so long, thinking the longer I leave this relaxer on, the straighter it’s going to be. Cut to lesions, like open wounds in my scalp, trying to chase something that was unrealistic, and eventually probably in my mid- to late-20s I decided to give up my relaxer, and I went natural. By natural I mean underneath the weaves, extensions, clips and the hair color was my natural hair — thriving.”
Part of her desire to help other women embrace themselves comes from growing up in Nebraska, where, she says, “You want what you don’t have. You want what other people are getting praised for…You want that light. You want that shine. You want that attention, and I just never got it. Not for what I looked like.” She continued, “[People were like,] you’re so smart, and you’re so funny, which is awesome and great, but, sometimes, you want to be objectified, dammit. I’ve had a long journey of self-acceptance and boosting my self-esteem. A lot of that comes from education and from life, but now that I’m on the other side of 40, I want pride to come from every part of my life.”
She adds that one person’s pride doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. “A lot of people like to think if you wear extensions or weaves, you’re full of self-hatred and, if you wear natural hairstyles, your sense of self and your sense of community and culture is at an all-time high,” she says. “Sometimes that’s the case. Sometimes it’s not. I just look at it as each person has their own hair journey, and they’re all amazing, valid, worthwhile and beautiful, no matter what.” A lesson we should all take to heart whether appraising someone’s hair, life choices, or anything else.