Gabrielle Union on Teaching Her Daughters to Love Their Hair: 'It Has to Start with Self-Love'

"We are trying to raise children who are proud of their Blackness and Afrocentric features," says Union.

gabrielle union with family
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade with Zaya and Kaavia. Photo: Gabrielle Union/Instagram

When she was just 8 years old and the only Black girl in her class, Gabrielle Union remembers desperately wanting to “fit in.”

“No one had hair like mine. I didn’t want to be ‘other’,” she told PEOPLE in 2017, when introducing her hair-care line, Flawless by Gabrielle Union. The memory set her on a years-long hair journey, one that would culminate in Union finding joy in her natural coils.

Fast forward to now, and Union (who is relaunching her line on Amazon on Aug. 3) is focused on making sure her daughter Kaavia, 20 months, and her stepdaughter, Zaya, 13, never feel the same way she did all those years ago.

gabrielle union and dwyane wade family
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade with Zaya and Kaavia. Gabrielle Union/instagram

“Your hair is a part of you and it's an extension of you, but it has to start with self-love and pride in your Blackness and Afrocentric features, whether that be your hair, your nose, your lips or your body,” Union says.

Union adds that she and husband Dwyane Wade “are constantly reaffirming our kids, especially now, when there are so many external forces that are anti-Black. It is always pride and live your best life and live your best Black life. And let your curls do what they do.”

Union’s also brushing off the haters on social media who make disparaging remarks about her toddler’s hair.

“I'll see comments and people are like, ‘Why is her hair never done?’ And I'm like, ‘She is a year and a half.’ I don't want to give her a complex about what is an acceptable style.”

Union is determined to let Kaavia and Zaya be the decision-makers when it comes to their hair.

“Some days Kav will hand you her brush and she'll want a little afro puff. And some days she just wants to wake up and go," Union says. “And Zaya went from pink hair to blonde. If you want to switch it up every day, great. What you do with your hair is your own personal choice. For me, the focus is on healthy hair, not on what you do with it.”

Her hope: that “more folks are going to lean into really celebrating how we are, naturally, because it's all dope and amazing and beautiful and there's no one right way or wrong way to exist.”

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