The One Thing
Our series The One Thing is a Sparknotes version of the products, rituals, and moments your favorite celebrities and influencers swear by—their go-tos, must-haves, and can’t-live-withouts. So go ahead—take a brief, intimate peek into the lives of your favorites through the things (and people, and moments) they hold dear.
Let’s get one thing straight—from her come up with Fifth Harmony to her recent collaborations with artists like Cardi B, Offset, and Calvin Harris (just to name a few), Normani has had a chokehold on our hearts and Spotify playlists for years.
The singer, dancer, and model is adding yet another title to her resume by partnering with TRESemmé for the brand's new Power Your Style Project. The initiative is driven by new research from The Representation Project that reveals that two-thirds of women face "double bind" messages—conflicting messages that tell them how to look and act—that keep them from expressing their true style and pursuing their goals and aspirations.
Being a multi-platinum, chart-topping artist may seem like a glamorous gig, but Normani explains that she's experienced plenty of double binds herself. "Being a woman in the music industry, we're often told who to be, or how to wear a certain outfit, or how to wear our hair," she says. "We're often limited, and are put in a box that restricts us from fully expressing ourselves and from being who we want to be or who we feel like we are that day.”
She goes on to note the trials and tribulations she and the other members of Fifth Harmony faced when the group was first coming up. “A double bind that I've experienced as a woman in the music industry—especially in such a male dominated industry—is often either being too loud or not speaking up as much as I should. It's incredibly conflicting.”
Normani says there were plenty of times when she just wanted to be heard: “I remember that there was a time where the girls and I were incredibly frustrated because we all had ideas—at the time we were like, we're young girls and yes, this might be a new experience for us, but we're also artists at the end of the day, and we have really great and big ideas, and we want to feel empowered to make our own decisions, especially because we never felt fully represented."
If these struggles sound familiar, well, it’s because they probably are to most women and femme-representing people in America—according to the Representation Project, nearly have of women report experiencing double binds at work.
Normani resonates with this, saying, “I think across the board, whether you're in the music industry or in corporate America, women have it a whole lot different, especially when it comes to double binds. Men can get away with a lot more than we're able to without facing shame or. We shouldn’t we have to feel the pressure to conform or lessen ourselves for the sake of what society feels is correct.”
Ahead, Normani shares the products she swears by for healthy hair, her number one makeup tip, and her ideal day off.
The One Product That Keeps Her Hair Healthy
"[I swear by] TRESemmé’s Rich Moisture products, especially because I have type four hair, which is a lot tighter, more coily, and absorbs a lot more moisture, meaning I have to nourish it a bit more than other hair textures. It drinks up a lot of moisture fast, so I have to keep replenishing it. This line is great for adding moisture to my hair from the inside out. And the TRESemmé One Step Smooth ($8) for thick and frizzy hair always gives me that extra shine."
The One Product She Always Has on Hand
"TRESemmé Mega Control ($7). I use it for my baby hairs. I feel like edges are personal, kind of like putting on mascara—there really is no right or wrong [way]. I think that there are so many different ways to do your edges, but just apply the product and then use an edge brush (or a toothbrush if you don't have an edge brush) to then style it as you please."
The One Hairstyle She’s Loving Right Now
"I have braids in currently and I feel like that's my chill hairstyle for when I'm not shooting anything or have award shows or events. It's an amazing protective style for my hair, and I've found that I'm able to retain my length when I have my protective styles. It’s great for when I’m trying to grow my hair out and not manipulate it."
The One Beauty Tip She Learned on Set
"My makeup artist, Raquel, actually uses foundation last to make the skin feel like more skin and less like foundation. He'll do everything first, like color correct, concealer, contour, and then put foundation in the places where he hasn’t applied product yet.
"That works well for me, especially because foundation, to me, is the less fun part of makeup. I love makeup, but foundation has a certain wet feeling that I can’t get past. This technique works because while you're building out your face, you realize, 'Actually I don't need all of this foundation,' and it's easier to gauge [how much coverage I need] by putting it on last."
The One Skincare Product She Can't Live Without
"I cannot live without my iS Clinical Honey Cleanser ($48). It smells so good, it's tempting to eat—but I don't recommend you eat it! It's nourishing for my skin type and is definitely the one product that heals the moisture in my skin. I'm on topicals that my derm put me on just because I've suffered from hormonal acne for the last 10 years. It's been such a journey, and in spite of having all topicals that dry me out, this cleanser puts the moisture back in."
The One Makeup Classic She Loves
"I love a good bronzer or a lip liner. I love a good lip liner."
The One Way She Logs Off
"I love to pour into myself. I take Sundays for myself—it’s like a me day. I spend so much time with people, which I love people, but I'm also a crazy introvert. I just feel most at peace when I have nothing going on and I’m in my bubble—doing simple things like getting my nails done, getting my eyebrows done, having a massage, and getting my hair washed. I told my hair stylist that one of my favorite things in life is just being able to experience her washing my hair.
"When I feel good, I feel like I'm able to be good to everybody else around me. For me, there's a whole new level of confidence when I feel good. And those are just some of the things that make me just feel like that girl. I think of how much I give to people versus how much I actually do give to myself—I could be doing a lot more for me."
The One Thing That Keeps Her Grounded
"The one thing that keeps me grounded is my faith and my family."