At every stage of her career, Gabrielle Union has adorned beautiful hairstyles– from protective styles to edgy bobs. That's why when she announced the launch of her hair care line Flawless by Gabrielle Union in 2017, it seemed like a natural move. The 10-product collection was a hit at Ulta Beauty, and all seemed well. But behind the scenes, Union was dealing with personal struggles. In several recent interviews, the actress and entrepreneur shared that during that time she began experiencing hair loss due to multiple rounds of IVF, and was pressured by her white hair care brand investors to promote a product she wasn't satisfied with.
After taking three years to reimagine the brand, Flawless is officially back and better than ever. This time around, Union teamed up with her longtime hairstylist and friend Larry Sims. Together, the duo worked to create a new and improved line that offered textured-hair friendly formulas at an affordable price point (FYI: everything is $10 or less).
During my most recent wash day, I had the chance to try four of the staple products from the Flawless collection. Ahead, I'm sharing my honest thoughts on how they worked on my curls.
My Flawless By Gabrielle Union Haircare Review
Hydrating Detangling Hair Shampoo
First up, the Hydrating Detangling Hair Shampoo. For me, the perfect shampoo is one that cleanses all of the build-up from my hair and scalp without drying it out. This one did just that. When I applied it to my hair, it created a luxurious lather and as I worked it throughout my hair and scalp, the shampoo made detangling my hair a breeze The shampoo is formulated with a potent blend of oils and butters–including Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Passionfruit Seed Oil, Rice Oil Complex, Acai Palm Oil, Moringa Seed Oil, and Brazilian Bacuri Butter–so my hair felt intensely hydrated and super soft after rinsing it out.
Hydrating Co-Wash Cleansing Hair Conditioner
I followed up with the Hydrating Co-Wash Cleansing Hair Conditioner. The conditioner has a thick, creamy texture so I knew immediately it was going to envelop my hair in a cloud of moisture. It is infused with tons of hair-loving ingredients like Castor Seed Oil and Acai Palm Oil, and together they work to nourish the hair. Per the instructions, I massaged it into my hair from root to ends for five minutes. When I washed it out, my curls were so juicy and full of moisture. I can honestly say Gabby and Larry did their thing with this conditioner.
Detangling Leave-in Hair Conditioner
Flawless' Detangling Leave-in Hair Conditioner is my favorite product out of the four that I've tried from the line–hands down. After I hopped out the shower and squeezed out excess water from my hair using a cotton t-shirt, I sprayed the leave-in conditioner liberally all over my head. It instantly soaked into my strands and added more moisture into my curls. When my hair fully dried, I was left with curls that were incredibly soft and bouncy. This leave-in conditioner spray also doubles as a great hair refresher. I've loved using this post-wash day to rehydrate my curls and make them pop.
Defining Curl Hair Cream
I finished things off with the Defining Curl Hair Cream. Upon opening the jar, I was immediately greeted by a fresh and subtly sweet scent. I worked the product into each section of my hair, making sure to distribute an even amount to each area. After letting my hair air dry, I noticed that the cream provided my curls with noticeable definition and reduced frizz. My one complaint: the cream left a bit of an oily residue on my hair after use.
The Final Verdict:
I'm a true Gabrielle union stan, so it's been so beautiful to see her relaunch Flawless on her own terms. It's incredibly clear that Union and Sims put so much of their heart, soul, and energy into the brand to ensure that these products were formulated for us.
As with any haircare brand, the products have been met with mixed reviews but I went into my wash day with an open mind. Overall, my first experience with Flawless was largely positive and my curls were definitely popping after trying the products. After giving the brand a try, I am certainly eager to try more from the Flawless range.
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Featured image by Olivia Hancock for xoNecole
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Olivia Hancock is a writer who can constantly be found putting pen to paper or typing away at her keyboard. The transplant ATLien is currently working on her undergraduate degree in Journalism and roots for all things #BlackGirlMagic. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram at @oliviahancock_.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Tracee Ellis Ross Reflects On How Her Mother, Diana Ross, Fearlessness In Music Impacted Her Career
Like mother, like daughter.
Over the years, many have viewed the close dynamic between Tracee Ellis Ross and her mother, Diana Ross, through the pair's occasional social media posts about one another and their red-carpet appearances.
Although Tracee would go on to make a name for herself in the entertainment industry as an actress, entrepreneur, and host "I America" podcast, the 50-year-old disclosed that the biggest inspiration behind her successful career, stemmed from watching her mother, a well-renowned singer and actress, be resilient through challenging situations and continuously spreading love.
Tracee On Her Mother And the Struggles She Could Have Faced Being an Entertainer in the 1960s
During a recent interview on Larry Wilmore's "Black on the Air" podcast, Tracee revealed on mark 56:25 that she often asked her mother what prompted the 79-year-old to dress and style her hair a certain way, especially during the time she grew up in.
Diana was a lead vocalist in the singing group The Supremes in the 1960s and would ultimately go solo in 1970. During her solo career, Diana's fashion choices and big natural hair would often make headlines because, at the time, it didn't fit the social standards of beauty.
"As a person and as a singular talent, and you think of the time period when she came forward, sometimes I ask her questions, she doesn't even have an answer, like 'what makes you think you can wear your hair like that?'" Tracee said while acknowledging that her mother's choices possibly helped redefine the beauty standards. "Do you know what I mean? Like if you just think of some of the small decisions and you think of the years."
Further in the conversation, Tracee mentioned that her respect for her mother deepened when an individual posted a black-and-white image of Diana performing with The Supremes. The reason for the appreciation was that the black-ish star saw the women performing in front of an all-white crowd. This made Tracee think about the possible things they could have gone through, mainly racism, during that moment and how her mother remained a loving person despite the hardships.
"One time [on] Instagram, someone posted a picture of my mom and The Supremes performing. I've seen the picture before. I had never looked in the audience. It was an all-white audience, and all I kept thinking was it was a black-and-white picture. They didn't come in from the front door... I was thinking [about] all these things and what she had to be resilient through, resistant to, and what was in the environment when she was coming up. What that makes somebody, that my mom is so anchored in love that she's just a loving person," she stated.
Tracee On How Diana's Unconditional Love for Herself and Others Inspired Her Own Career
Also, in the interview, Tracee talked about how motivational it is to see her mother spread love to others through her performances while staying true to herself and her craft.
"I think the biggest thing for me is my mom has also been this woman who has used this platform of the stage to spread love but also not to say look at me, but this is me. Which is very different than a lot of what I see now," Tracee shared.
Tracee continued by adding that growing up with that type of foundation helped shape her career decades later because she saw firsthand, through Diana's determination and honoring herself, the positive effects it can have on one's life.
The Girlfriends star said, "That sense of agency and sense of self, selfhood has made its way into my life, my career, and the fact my mom is such a great businesswoman. It is quite a legacy."
Tracee's "I Am America" podcast can now be viewed or listened to on any streaming platform suitable for podcasts.
Feature image by Kevin Mazur/VF19/WireImage