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Tracee Ellis Ross on why her hair care line is about so much more than hair

The actor and entrepreneur opened up about the mission behind her beauty brand on the 3rd hour of TODAY.
/ Source: TODAY

Tracee Ellis Ross has always had a penchant for fashion and beauty, so it's not surprising that she'd eventually venture into the beauty space at one point in her career. But when it came time to create her own hair care line, the actor was insistent that the brand had to be about more than just glamour.

The 48-year-old's hair care line, Pattern Beauty, is known not just for its products but also for its dedication to a range of worthy causes. It's something the "Black-ish" star told the 3rd hour of TODAY that she's proud of.

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Tracee Ellis Ross
"Black-ish" star Tracee Ellis Ross is also an entrepreneur and launched Pattern Beauty in 2019.Kwaku Alston / ABC via Getty Images

"There's three missions at Pattern Beauty, which is to meet the needs of the curly, coily and tight textured community; to celebrate authentic beauty and be an active space that is centered around Black beauty; and also to be in an ongoing dialogue with organizations that have a like-minded mission of supporting safety, justice and equity for people of color and women," she explained during an interview on Thursday morning.

A portion of Pattern Beauty's proceeds go to various organizations that empower women and people of color, and Ross said she built that component into the foundation of her company.

"I'm the CEO and founder, I'm the majority owner, and it was really important to me that we be in an ongoing dialogue with the community that we serve," she said. "And that we be nimble so that we could move with supporting organizations depending on what our community is actually in need of."

During the pandemic, Pattern Beauty paired up with an organization focused on COVID-19 relief and the brand also recently donated to an organization supporting the AAPI community.

"We can regularly kind of move into spaces that need attention," she said.

The actor first launched Pattern Beauty in September 2019 and expanded the line to include a range of new products last June. Just two months later, she opened up to Elle about her personal hair journey in the website's inaugural State of Black Beauty cover story.

In the interview, Ross explained how the public perception of Black hair has changed over the years and said she's excited to see more women embrace their natural strands.

"I’ve had days, particularly during the pandemic, but even two years ago, where I looked at the news and I’m like, 'Oh my god.' You never used to see natural texture on a news anchor. There’s been a real shift," she said.

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In addition to running Pattern Beauty and starring on "Black-ish," the 48-year-old found time to lend her vocals to a new animated special "The Runaway Bunny," which is based off a bestselling children's book of the same name. She completed the project in one evening over Zoom.

"It wasn't as daunting of a task as it seemed. It's such a beautiful, classic children's book about unconditional love. The words lend themselves to an ease," she said.

Ross, whose mother just so happens to be singing legend Diana Ross, also got to sing a lullaby as part of the project. When TODAY's Craig Melvin suggested that singing must have come pretty naturally to the actor, saying "We know you can sing," she had a comedic response.

"No, you don't!" she said jokingly. "That's not a given."