It’s funny how life works out. When actress Taraji P. Henson was first faced with the decision of whether to pursue acting or her second passion: hair, she had no idea that she’d be able to journey down both paths.
The actress got her first big break nearly 20 years ago in the now-classic Baby Boy which led to a slew of roles. She also served up hair inspiration for Black girls everywhere. She’s covered Hype Hair a number of times over the years, including her cover debut in 2005 that promoted her work in Hustle & Flow. But these days, she is a household name. And, her glow-up has been amazing.
We’ve seen her give award-winning performances in films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Hidden Figures and entertain us with her rendition as Cookie Lyons on FOX’s Empire. While her acting career soared, her ever-changing looks damaged her tresses. But, her love of hair never dissipated. Starting over with her natural tresses was actually the key to her foray into her latest business venture. So, just when we thought she couldn’t excel any higher, she surprised us all with the launch of TPH by Taraji Haircare earlier this year.
Taraji shared her journey towards loving her own hair, launching her brand and offered a few tips on how to keep your hair and skin looking their best.
HYPE HAIR: Hype Hair was your first magazine cover years ago. How does it feel to grace the cover of our magazine again after all of these years?
TARAJI P. HENSON: It feels amazing being on the cover of Hype Hair. I mean, this was my first cover, the first cover that I ever done, so I owe you a thank you, Hype Hair. But also, I’m back this time, and I get to talk about hair in a real professional way because I have my own hairline. So, that’s what makes gracing the cover so special this time.
HH: We’ve often heard you say hair was your second passion. How did you end up choosing?
TARAJI: I missed cosmetology school by one year because I didn’t get accepted to the school of fine arts. And I knew my next passion was hair and nails and all things beauty. But I missed cosmetology school by one year, and I think that was God. So here I am, life, full circle, with my TPH by Taraji Hair Care line. I love it.
HH: And now, you’ve blown the hair industry away with your scalp-first approach to hair care with TPH By Taraji. What’s next for the brand?
TARAJI: We’re just going to continue to grow and educate people and our customers about scalp care and hair care. The brand is definitely going to grow. I’m looking to look into head-to-toe-care— body care, haircare, skincare, nails. I’m really looking to be the “Fenty” of haircare.
HH: What is your favorite product from your brand?
TARAJI: My favorite product from the brand would be the entire scalp care line: the Master Cleanse, the Never Salty and the Ultra Chill. And the reason why I say that is because it cleanses your scalp; it’s an exfoliation for your scalp. And because I grew up going down to the country because of my grandmother—we used to scratch dandruff—so I grew up knowing that it was important to exfoliate the scalp. We just did it the old-fashioned way. But we’ve evolved [laughs], and that’s why we have the Never Salty Scalp Scrub.
HH: What hair and beauty trends are you obsessed with right now?
TARAJI: Right now, I guess I’d have to say that I am obsessed with the Passion Twists. I learned how to do my own Passion Twists during the quarantine, and I just love them. I love my hair color, and I love that I have red Passion Twists. I just think that it’s hot, hot, hot, hot!
HH: What are your ‘holy grail’ beauty products?
TARAJI: I would have to say my moisturizing cream that I’ve been using for over 20 years, Paul Scerri PH Balancing Cream. I have to have my Vitamin C Serum by Skinceuticals for my face [and] my beautyblender (BOUNCE™ Airbrush Liquid Whip) concealer, my Lip Bar Brown Bombshell eyeshadow palette, and also my Lip Bar Stuntin’ Minute Finish face palette. I also have to have my Honey Pot pH Balancing Feminine Wash for my “cooter” [laughs]. And I always have to carry my Carmex Lip Therapy. And I can’t leave home without my Ardell Wispies—those are my lashes. And I found a really great glue that I absolutely have to have. It’s by Daniela Belle Lash Adhesive.