Tracee Ellis Ross on How Girlfriends Inspired Her to Start Haircare Line: 'Most Rewarding Thing'
The actress said she "wasn't seeing my natural beauty mirrored back to me in the world" prior to launching her own company, Pattern Beauty
Tracee Ellis Ross took it upon herself to create the haircare products she felt were missing from the market.
The High Note actress, 48, appeared on The Tonight Show Monday, recalling what inspired her in 2019 to launch her haircare line Pattern Beauty, a curly girl-friendly line of shampoos, conditioners, gels, creams, tools and more. Ross explains that it was a venture 10 years in the making, and one inspired by her time on the hit show Girlfriends.
She said the beauty line is a lot of work "but it's so much fun."
"It started out for me because I couldn't find products and wasn't seeing my natural beauty mirrored back to me in the world," said Ross. "Then when I got on Girlfriends, I realized that I was not the only one. There were so many people who were looking for products that actually met their hair where it was and how it grows out of our head."
"So I tried, and tried, and tried for 10 years, and finally I decided to do it by myself. It's been the most rewarding thing to be a CEO and founder," she added.
Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday.
The sitcom aired from 2000 to 2008, starring Ross (Joan), Golden Brooks (Maya), Persia White (Lynn) and Jill Marie Jones (Toni) as best friends living in Los Angeles. Girlfriends also spawned a spin-off, The Game, which ran for nine seasons.
In August, Ross told ELLE more about what led to her founding Pattern Beauty.
"It started as such a personal relationship with my own hair and feeling like I didn't have the support to find what I needed. Not just in terms of products, but in terms of how to love myself," she said on Monday. "I was very supported in my family around my hair. But in terms of seeing all different kinds of versions in the wallpaper of my lives out in the world, I wasn't seeing it. And I was getting confused."
She continued, "All of the things that I was taught from the media were like, I was supposed to have easy-breezy, beautiful hair. Bouncin' and behavin'. My hair didn't blow in the wind! All of these things didn't match up. There was a void, in both seeing ourselves in our natural, authentic beauty, and also having products that would work for us to do our hair naturally — to wear it the way it naturally came out of our heads."