As someone who started their natural hair journey only two years ago, I realized quickly the road to bomb curls is paved by trial and error. Transitioning from a relaxer is a bit of a toss-up, as you're never completely sure what your natural curls will look like in the end. For me, the transition first yielded an awkward limp-curl stage as it grew out. By the end, though, I finally was able to see my curls in their true 3c form. Since then, I have combed the hair aisles for the best solutions to keep my curls popping (at least until day three).
That said, choosing the proper haircare staples hardly gets less complicated over time. As soon as I think I have my routine down, something new comes along—promising to keep my curls better hydrated and more defined. And while there are a lot of great products out there to try, so many fall into the "for all curl types" category, which means they're not made specifically for me. And can't a girl get a little attention? So, when Tracee Ellis Ross herself created a line of products especially for curly, coil-y, and tight textures, my excitement was absolutely visceral, and, if you ask my co-workers, 100 percent palpable.
Products from Pattern can be bought individually on their website, but I was lucky enough to get the Deluxe Bundle. It comes fully equipped for anything and everything you may need to tackle wash day, including a microfiber towel, shower brush, hair clip, spray bottle, shampoo, conditioner, leave-in, and jojoba oil hair serum. Needless to say, I was ready to dive in hair first.
FYI: For the sake of this review, I used only Pattern products for the entire wash and utilized almost everything (with the except of the spray bottle) during the process.
Pattern's Hydration Shampoo ($20) comes out like silk and has a pearlescent look to it. Unlike most other curl cleansing products, it lathers up in a satisfying way (thought it's made without SLS and SLES). The jasmine, bergamot, and sandalwood scent is subtle, earthy, and not distracting. After rinsing, my hair felt good, clean, but not stripped—courtesy of the formula's blend of aloe vera leaf juice, coconut oil, and honey. I eagerly reached for the next and most crucial step...
At first glance, Pattern's conditioner is immediately intriguing—it's the only brand I've seen that offers up a larger conditioner than shampoo. Cue a collective sigh of relief. I've never really heeded the warnings of "dime-sized" amounts anyway, but it’s nice to have a product that is finally taking the way I use it into consideration. The conditioner comes in three iterations: medium (for curlies), intensive (for tight textures), and heavy (for coilies).
My hair skews more on the curl side, but I was gifted the heavy version. Which, by the way, is exactly what it is. It’s thick, like really thick, but I’m not complaining. Because of the consistency, I found myself using less than I typically do during wash day. Plus, it clung to my curls with ease and I didn’t have to worry about any product sliding out of my hand. Once the first section of my hair was coated I scooped up the shower brush.
As I used the in-shower brush to detangle, the conditioner easily slid through my hair, providing great slip as I smoothed my tangles. Although the detangling process was fairly straightforward, I think that anyone with tighter curls should break up their hair into even smaller sections than usual—due to the fact that the bristles are pretty concentrated.
I kept the conditioner in for about 10 minutes, as instructed, while I went about the rest of my shower. Pattern's Hair Clip ($10) was amazing for holding all of my heavily conditioned locks, so I didn’t have to worry about conditioner laying on my back or falling in my face.
With the conditioner rinsed out I moved on to the piece that would hold me down until my next wash. The leave-in was lighter than the conditioner and creamy, but still had weight to it. To just use a leave-in is pretty revolutionary for me because I also typically use a slew of other curl defining products as well. I squished it into my wet hair and grabbed for the microfiber towel to soak up the drips.
Once the mirror fog cleared, I could already tell my curls looked more defined than usual. They weren't weighed down by a bunch of extra products, just the leave-in doing its job. I decided to let my hair air-dry to stay true to the Pattern-only process. Of course, it took longer than it would have with my diffusing routine, but the end result was worth it.
Four hours or so later (!!!), when my curls finally dried, they were especially curly and very bouncy. This wasn’t the extra lustrous, no-frizz look of most curly campaigns, it was the look and feel of my usual curls—just healthier. I can’t say they were completely juicy (next time I’ll leave the conditioner in a bit longer), but they were living their best life, and I can definitely get behind that.
Topped with some of the jojoba oil serum and some necessary fluffing, my curls had added shine, and, just as Ross intended, they took up space.