Tracee Ellis Ross tells us everything you need to know.
InStyle: Many of us with natural hair have a complicated relationship with heat and hot tools.
Whether you have (literal) painful childhood memories of a scorching hot comb, were that person who used a clothing iron to press your hair back in the day, or have damaged your curls as a result of a bad blowout, there are several ways in which heat can wreak havoc on our hair.
But on the flip side, when used gently and in moderation, heat can cut down on styling time, stretch out your texture, and open up a whole new world of possibilities for your hair — which is exactly what Tracee Ellis Ross, founder and CEO of Pattern Beauty, had in mind for the launch of the brand’s first-ever hot tool: the Pattern Blow Dryer.
“This evolution of Pattern has been a part of the original dream from the beginning,” she shares exclusively with InStyle. “For me, heat has always been a genuine tool for possibility and a way to imagine all of the many things that my hair can do. [Plus,] I have discovered because of my job, letting my hair air dry is not an option when you have a 5:00 a.m. call.”
But with the natural haircare brand being founded on loving and embracing all curly and coily textures, crafting a tool under the guise that textured strands need a high level of heat to be styled and stretched wasn’t an option. In fact, the goal was quite the opposite — the blow dryer was created to curb heat damage as much as possible.
“It’s heat, so you have to be mindful of heat — it just is what it is,” says Ross. “But it doesn’t have to get so hot. I have used particular dryers where when I first used them I was like, ‘Holy moly.’ Or [sometimes] you’re diffusing, and all of a sudden it’s like putting your face next to a space heater.”
To shop: $189; pattern.com
Pattern’s Blow Dryer is unique in the sense that it’s not just a one-size-fits-all type of tool. It offers two speed options, three heat settings, and a lock-in cool shot button so you can customize your styling session for your hair type and texture. What’s more, it also features an ion-controlled switch to either activate ions to smooth out the cuticle or deactivate them to bring on the volume.
Another way the blow dryer protects against heat damage is by using a ceramic-coated grill to provide even heat distribution.
Tech specs aside, the dryer comes with four attachments — The Diffuser, The Wide Tooth Comb, The Brush, and The Concentrator Nozzle — to suit your specific needs and make styling easier; whether you’re looking to speed up your wash-and-go or create “The Chaka Khan frizz,” as Ross puts it.
“I am that person who’s tried to use the comb to just create some air and space in my hair, or take the shower brush and the blow dryer [and blow it out], but I’m not a professional. You know how you see the professionals hold the nozzle and the brush and they’re doing the things? I have hit myself in the head so many times doing that.” Relatable!
Ross goes on to explain that she loves to use the diffuser to cut down her dry time when she’s doing a wash-and-go, then hit each section with a cool shot to lock in shine.
“The nozzle is great when you’re stretching your curls,” she shares, adding that you can also use it for a traditional blowout with a round brush.
“The other two [attachments] just blow my mind — we wanted to mirror the wide-tooth comb and the shower brush,” she continues. “The brush attachment is a freaking dream. It’s perfect if you’re braiding your hair or if you just really want that Chaka Khan frizz, but still have your texture.”
As for the wide tooth comb, Ross describes it as “genuinely magic.”
“When you have your gorgeous curls and just want to stretch it out with some fluff and create more volume but not change the curl pattern necessarily, this is it.”
While Pattern’s new Blow Dryer may be the brand’s first hot tool, it likely won’t be the last — so long as it’s something that makes sense for its consumers.
“The runway for what it takes to [create styling tools] and actually change those kinds of designs so that they meet our needs really takes time,” the former black-ish star explains. “So like with everything at Pattern, if I can do it in a way that it feels like it really matches the needs of our community, and is actually going to function in a way that is filling a void, then absolutely [we’ll create more]. The mission of the brand is to exceed the needs of the curly, coily, and tight-textured community.”
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