La La Anthony Launches Her First Hair Product: All About Her 'Power Potion'

"It's not okay to just be happy when your hair looks good," says Anthony, who was inspired by her own damaged hair to create a leave-in treatment

La La Anthony is a beauty entrepreneur!

Today, Anthony, 39, introduces Inala, a leave-in hair-strengthening treatment, Inala ($55). Speaking exclusively to People, Anthony opens up about how the opportunity to practice self-care during the pandemic led her to create a "power potion" even her 14-year-old son Kiyan approves of.

Prior to the pandemic, Anthony, like most, was always on the go. But when it forced her to slow down, she realized her self-care routine needed a reboot.

"A lot of my hairstyles had been clip-ins or wigs or braids or weaves," she tells PEOPLE. "And I realized how damaged my natural hair was because I wasn't taking care of or paying attention to it."

Lala anthony haircare line; Inala
Tomas Herold

When Anthony looked in the mirror, she saw damage all over, from thinning along her edges to breakage on her ends.

"And I was like, 'It's not okay to just be happy when your hair looks good when you have all this other stuff in it," she admits. That moment inspired Anthony to seek a solution.

"I started researching and experimenting with rice water. I was even tweeting about it. I found a village in China where women have hair down to the floor."

Part of their process: rice water. "Everything [I found] was leading back to the importance of that."

So Anthony took to her kitchen to create a product to improve her hair.

Lala anthony haircare line; Inala
Courtesy of Inala

"Growing up, every [treatment] you needed was in the kitchen: the avocado, the egg, the olive oil. My grandmother and mom [would say], 'Go to the kitchen! Put this on your face! Put this in your hair!' So, I was doing it myself – fermenting the rice at night, and the next day, putting the rice water in a bottle and spraying it in my hair, letting it sit it, rinsing it out, doing it again" she says.

And while Anthony says she saw "amazing results", there were also drawbacks, including how time consuming the process was, and how quickly the solution would spoil.

"So I was really like, 'How can I put this magic in a bottle and make it last?' That's the backstory of how Inala came to be and came to fruition," Anthony explains.

What came next was a two-year long process to create a formula she was proud of. "We call it the power potion, it's a 100% rice water complex that's directly extracted from the rice grain. And we combined it with Biotin and [amino acid] Arginine," Anthony explains. "I wasn't willing to compromise on the formula. That's why I was so involved in the making of the product."

Lala anthony haircare line; Inala
Tomas Herold

Then she laughs, "People don't realize how hard it is to name a product," for her first foray into hair care, Anthony chose a twist on her name.

"Inala is my real name, Alani, spelled backwards, and it means place of peace. And I was thinking, when you're having a good hair day, you are at peace. Your day is better. You perform better at work. You perform better as a mom. You just perform better overall. It does give you peace of mind when you know, 'My hair looks good. I feel good about myself.' I like to say it's self-care in a bottle."

As for the bottle itself, "It's all matte black. I wanted it to be visually appealing – sleek and cool." But more important was what's inside. "We created a dropper that when you press on the top, it will dispense the right amount you need, every time. It takes the guess work out of everything."

Lala anthony haircare line; Inala
Tomas Herold

Anthony is also happy to have created a product that only adds seconds its users daily routine. You can use it on damp, just blow-dried hair and in-between washes, as well as when you're wearing your hair in a protective style. Anthony prides herself on the formula not being oily or weighing down hair.

Anthony leaned on her immediate family, including her son Kiyan, for feedback. "It was so positive," she recalls. Then it went into the hands of close friends. She was determined to be inclusive of everyone. "It's not a product that's just targeted to one hair texture or one hair type because that's not the world, that's not realistic, and I didn't want to exclude people from having great results and having beautiful hair."

"When you hear the excitement and realize this thing is really working, you feel like you hit the nail on the head."

Lala anthony haircare line; Inala
Solmaz Sebar

Now that Anthony's schedule is picking up again, the busy mom is using the product every day, and is more empowered than ever to put the health of her hair first when working. "I am going to say, 'slow down, we're going to do this the right way.' Now I care more about my hair."

This journey from the start of the pandemic to now has also taught her that she can put herself first.

"There was a lot of self-reflection, prioritizing what's important and putting me at the top of that list because I was never, ever at the top of that list. Everything else came first. Anything you can think of came before me. And I realized, if I'm not good, all those things that come before me are not going to be good either. So really changing the order of what's important in my life, and taking care of myself."

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