Pattern Saved My Pattern — & I’m Never Using Another Hair Brand Again

Photo: Courtesy Of Jasmine Cubillan
Every day felt like a bad hair day growing up with curls that got comments like, “Have you tried brushing it out?” I’d be lying if I didn’t say my crown of tangled curls killed my mood whenever I woke up and looked in the mirror. However, that happens when you use water, gel, and products made with drying ingredients as your hair’s holy grail.

Throughout my adolescence, I used hair products that contain parabens and sulfates, which stripped my hair of its natural moisture and strength. The “natural hair” section that I relied on began to show its true colors when I became aware that the CEOs of these brands were mainly white people. As a young Afro-Latina with type 3c curls, that’s the last thing you want to hear. Immediately, I was back at square one, trying to figure out not only which hair brands would work for me but also ones I could trust. So when the time came to stock up on hair products after I used everything in my personal inventory, I did my research and stumbled upon the answer to all of my problems: a hair brand for curly hair made by a Black woman with curly hair. 
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Photo: Courtesy Of Jasmine Cubillan
A selfie right before I washed my hair. You can see that my hair is dryer at the ends.
Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross was launched in 2019 to fill a gap in the beauty industry. Its formulations were honed for the opposite of what is so normalized in the market: thin and straight hair. The product line, which is carried at both Ulta Beauty and Sephora, strives to ensure that those with curly and coily hair types are taken care of.  Pattern considers the various porosity types, different hair strengths, and hydration and moisture levels affecting any curl pattern.

Thinking about the countless times I applied heat (and temporary dye) throughout middle and high school, I knew I wanted to try Pattern’s treatment mask to try to salvage my once-voluminous spirals. I also wanted to try the clarifying shampoo because of the many reviews that discussed the formula defining their dried curls.  However, I didn’t stop with those necessities and treated myself to the Pattern Hydrating Mist and Hair Custard as well.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Jasmine Cubillan
Shampoo is simply meant to cleanse your hair of oils, dirt, and buildup before applying a conditioner to lock in your hair’s moisture. However, many shampoos fail at that task since they include ingredients that rip away moisture such as parabens, a common preservative found in hair products. While the FDA has found parabens to be largely safe and allows them in cosmetics, many people find they can cause scalp irritation and dryness, which are not ideal when you have a head of thick, curly hair. So when I saw that Pattern’s products (and, more importantly, its shampoo) were paraben- and sulfate-free, I knew the first product I had to try.

The packaging immediately did its job enticing me with the illustration of a woman with an Afro, but when I lathered in the product on my drenched head of curls, I knew that this was no ordinary shampoo. The clear formula felt so light in my hands, and it was easy to massage into every spiral on my head. The fact that the formula included biotin, a hair-strengthening form of vitamin B, was an immediate plus for me since I’m not consistent with taking the supplement version of it. The hint of jasmine was another reason to love the product. After fully washing out the product, I was enamored with how moisturized my hair felt. Usually, after shampooing, my hair has a wet, dry texture.  With this shampoo, it felt just as smooth as it would after applying any regular conditioner, and I was truly shocked.
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Satisfaction Score: 9/10. 
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Photo: Courtesy Of Jasmine Cubillan
After my satisfaction with the shampoo, I had high expectations for the hair mask. I experimented with dying my hair senior year and instantly regretted the prolonged damage. My hair has felt dry since then, so I recently decided to switch to hair masks for conditioners in my wash-day routine. The hair mask I was previously using worked well, but the formula was too thick for my liking. I would go through the product quickly, only washing my hair once a week.
My hope in trying Pattern’s mask was that I’d find a more practical alternative that was easy to incorporate into my wash-day routine. I wanted something that was easy to apply to my hair and was effortless to wash out. The first thing that came to my mind as I placed the Treatment Mask in the palm of my hands was how translucent the formula was. The main ingredient is rice protein, and the product looked exactly like that: the rice water that my mom used to pour over my head as a kid. It is a traditional home remedy that ensured my curls grow healthily despite the scorching rays of the Florida sun beaming down on my head — and it’s a practice that goes back over millennia. In fact, researchers found that people were using fermented rice water to strengthen their hair in ancient Japan. 

Instantly falling in love with how a little went a long way, I enjoyed how the product didn’t feel heavy. Usually, a generous dollop of my previous hair mask would make my hair feel too congealed and was difficult to thoroughly rinse out. However, after letting the Pattern mask sit in my hair for about 10 minutes, I found it washed out like a piece of cake as I combed out my knots. My hair felt like silk as I ran my fingers through damp spirals that smelled like soft remnants of citrus.
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Satisfaction Score: 10/10.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Jasmine Cubillan
After a successful wash-day routine, I wanted to test more of Pattern’s line. For the first time, I wasn’t anxious about trying out more new products. Immediately after applying my go-to Carol’s Daughter hair oil to my scalp and ends of my hair, I started to style it. Using the Pattern Mist Spray Bottle (worth every penny as it holds 10 fluid ounces) to quickly dampen my hair after letting it air dry,  I moved on to using the Hydrating Mist. 

As someone with medium porosity hair, finding products that enhance and moisturize my curls is always the goal, so this product piqued my interest with the name alone. While the bottle reminded me of previous mists that promised the same fate for my dry curls, this formula actually delivered. I watched in awe as the milky potion rejuvenated my curls faster than my roommate's dramatic monstera plant being watered on a hot afternoon. The floral rose scent also made me slowly fall in love with the product as it enhanced my curl’s moisture. This product is another member of the Pattern line where a little goes a long way.
Satisfaction Score: 10/10
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Photo: Courtesy Of Jasmine Cubillan
Shortly after spraying the Hydration Mist onto my moistened spirals, I tried out the product that has a 4.6-star rating on Sephora. The Styling Custard Hair Gel is made to enhance curls and lock in their shine. With the same scent as the Hydrating Mist, the custard’s slippery formula made me question whether it would do its job. Considering how lightweight it was, I truly expected to not be impressed. However, Miss Ross made certain not to disappoint.

I combed the custard into my hair with my fingers and knew that this product would be my hair's next holy grail. I fell in love as the formula latched onto each curl and held it in place with minimal to no effort. The description on the bottle lived up to its word as it made my hair look replenished and shiny. After two small applications on each divided section, I was good to go, and my hair never looked or felt better. After being in the scorching hot August sun for a few hours, my curls still remained intact, and that was enough to have me sold on Pattern.
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Satisfaction Score: 11/10
Photo: Courtesy Of Jasmine Cubillan
My hair held up after 5 hours in and out of the humidity. Curls were shiny and defined.
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Is Pattern Worth It?

All in all, the texture and consistency of the products left me very satisfied. After using the Hydrating Mist and Hair Custard consistently for a week, I am happy with the results it left on my curl pattern. My hair looks shinier, and the curls are visually more defined. Aside from the line being No. 1 in my book, the products are also affordable compared to previous products I used. Keeping in mind that “a little goes a long way,” I feel like I’m paying a reasonable amount for the quality and quantity of the products. (Not to mention, I’ll be incorporating all of these products into my weekly hair routine). As the fall semester inches its way closer, I have no doubt that Pattern will continue to make a pattern in my everyday routine. 
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