Tia Mowry isn’t new to entrepreneurship. With every business she’s brought to life, she’s been intentional about sticking to four main pillars: representation, wellness, community and accessibility.
Her latest venture, 4U By Tia, is an extension of this effort. The haircare line is a personal love letter to women of color looking for safe and clean products for textured hair. The multi-hyphenate actor has been through her own personal hair journey from style explorations, product trials and tribulations and two “big chops.”
Throughout this journey to what she refers to as a “self-discovery,” Mowry’s relationship with her hair has proven to be a major conduit for strengthening how she views herself—and how she chooses to show up in the world. Sweet July chatted with Mowry about how she’s learning to practice self-love—and how this adoration extends to her curls.
Photo by: Adam Rindy
What obstacles have you faced in your natural hair care journey?
Tia Mowry: The problem was when I got on this journey, I was hitting a wall because there wasn’t a product that resonated with me or that I felt like worked. There is, of course, this crowded space of beauty products that promote all-natural or natural ingredients. Still, once I researched, it was very scary to understand that all-natural does not necessarily mean safe. It doesn’t mean clean.
I wanted to change that. I partnered up with an amazing company called Amyris Inc., which is the leader in formulating safe and clean ingredients for beauty products and just products in general. So, together with some hair experts, we came up with 4U by Tia, which is safe, clean, clinically proven, backed by science and technology, with intentional ingredients derived from nature. I felt like women in the textured community have been compromising too much, having to choose between something that is very expensive or not necessarily made with clean ingredients.
Photo by: Adam Rindy
How have life’s transitions inspired your most recent hair transformation?
TM: I ended up doing “the big chop” in 2012, and there was this incredible movement where I saw many women cutting off their hair, no longer conforming to what society said was beautiful, which leaned more towards European standards meaning straight hair. You just weren’t seeing much representation when it came to Black women and women with textured hair. We weren’t a part of the conversation when beauty was being discussed.
I was happy to see this amazing movement of women just saying, “You know what? We’re putting our foot down. We are no longer conforming. We’re going to just chop all of our hair that has been damaged due to processing it, straightening it and not taking care of it.” I was encouraged and influenced by that movement, so I also did the big chop because I was straightening my hair. I didn’t always have a good relationship with it, but I have now been on this beautiful journey of self-acceptance and embracing my natural hair.
My big chop, for me, is rebirth. I truly believe in starting over, and basically, that is me chopping my hair off. I feel like hair holds energy. I feel like hair holds past experiences, and sometimes you need to let it go. Me chopping my hair off was definitely a moment for me of completely letting go, and I love it. I absolutely love it, and so far, I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. This second chop is different from the other one I did [in 2012], even in style. I’m on this self-discovery journey. I feel like my divorce is bringing me back home to me.
What are you learning about yourself in this season of self-discovery?
I was asked this question by a good friend of mine. He asked me, “Who am I? What am I not?”
Who are you, if you were not a mother? Who are you if you are not a wife? Who are you if you are not an actress? Like, who are you?
I’m starting to see how our roles in life aren’t always our choice. Even if it’s not our choice, we’re being influenced in some way, so he is challenging me to tap into myself and discover who Tia Mowry is. This journey has been very hard because you’re unpacking learned thoughts. You are tapping into the subconscious, the unconscious, and putting it at the forefront and understanding the why of your decision-making. A lot of times, it’s not a comfortable place to be in, but at the same time, it is beautiful because it’s liberating, and it’s very freeing because you are tapping into your truth and authenticity. Others are no longer influencing it. You are becoming who you truly and really are. This journey has been a wild ride, but I will say I definitely see peace. I see more pockets of joy and look forward to the future.
Photo by: Adam Rindy
How has hair played a role in your confidence?
I am most confident when wearing my curls or protective styles because protective styles are about nurturing your hair, about taking care of your hair. I feel the most confident when I’m taking care of myself, pouring into myself, and being myself. When I’m not conforming or being someone that someone else tells me I should be.
Even though I have a twin, I am uniquely myself, and she is herself, too. Everyone is uniquely themselves. When you tap into that, man, you have a glow to you. That’s what many people are saying to me: “Tia’s on the glow-up.” I really think that it’s coming from within and shining outward.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.