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We live for Tracee Ellis Ross and her head full of curls, but she didn’t always love the hair texture that she was born with.

For many naturalistas, Tracee was a shining example of how they wanted their hair to look when “Girlfriends” debuted. The actress was always rocking her God-given texture and slayed! However, there was a time when she didn’t embrace what she had and loving her natural hair took a long time.

“It was a long journey from childhood. For so many years I was trying to beat my hair into submission, trying to get it to look like someone else’s hair and I didn’t know how,” Tracee told People magazine, adding that she went to some pretty extreme lengths to get her tresses under control. “I remember going through a phase where I even put beer in my hair, because I was told that would make it smooth and curly.”

She even attempted to burn the curl out of her hair with relaxers, which is almost a rite of passage for so many Brown girls. “Definitely, when I was growing up. That’s what everyone with curly hair did back then,” Tracee recalled. “I think I was 13 years old when I started growing my hair out from the relaxer.

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Of course, she found out, as many often do, that relaxers put a major tax on your hair. “I was living in Switzerland going to boarding school and my hair was breaking off. It was scary,” she said. “I remember calling my mother and saying, ‘This is really bad and really hard.’”

Speaking of Tracee’s mama, Diana Ross was all about embracing her large-and-lovely curls; she encouraged her daughter to do the same early on.

“My mom was a natural texture person and it was always the bigger the better. She loves my hair big and out and she always has. Even though I grew up with the image of my mother wearing her hair that way,” Tracee explained. “I hadn’t really seen it elsewhere, so it still has taken courage to wear my hair natural and not feel the pressure to straighten it.”

She added, “I’m loving the natural hair movement. It’s really encouraging and is expanding the definition of beauty.”


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Tracee Ellis Ross Shares What It Took To Love Her Natural Hair  was originally published on