Skip to main content

Tia Mowry on Self-love, Identity and Her New Natural Hair Care Line, 4U By Tia

Launching Monday, 4U By Tia aims to provide those with natural and curly hair with straightforward, clean and effective products that both support — and celebrate — their locks.

Tia Mowry is no stranger to the side hustle. 

Since her breakout role as Tia Landry in ‘90s sitcom “Sister, Sister” in which she starred opposite her twin sister Tamera, the actress has been a YouTube cooking show host, an author, a fledgling TikTok creator (with 7.3 million followers and counting) and, for her latest act, a hair care line owner, founder and creative director. 

The multihyphenate has partnered with Amyris to introduce 4U By Tia, which launches Monday direct-to-consumer and at Walmart, and seeks to fulfill the needs of those with 2A through 4C hair textures by providing a streamlined assortment of need-based products. 

Related Galleries

4UByTia's debut collection.
4U By Tia’s debut collection. courtesy photo

“I grew up in a household with so many different curly hair textures, we would just find ourselves having 100 different bottles all over the place,” recalled Mowry, adding that it wasn’t until she reached adulthood that she even felt comfortable or confident enough to embrace her natural curls. But navigating how to care for them was another journey entirely. 

“Growing up on set just made me feel very insecure about myself. When you’re in the industry, any time there’s a role, they will sort of describe what the character is supposed to look like; within that description, it was never a woman with curly hair,” said Mowry. 

The lack of textured and curly hair representation Mowry grappled with during her early acting career ultimately drove her to routine heat styling, which allowed her to fit in and meet the prevailing industry standard for job security — at the cost of her hair health. 

“When my hair was curly, I would be told it was a distraction,” said Mowry. “I’d go on auditions and they’d say, ‘Oh, we just can’t seem to fit you in any category — we don’t really know what you are.’” 

It wasn’t until she was scrolling through Instagram shortly after the platform’s emergence in the early 2010s that Mowry stumbled upon the burgeoning natural hair community of the time, and so, too, was inspired to embrace her natural locks. 

“Thank God for Instagram — the internet has its pros and cons, obviously, but to see these amazing Black women who were standing up for themselves and no longer trying to fit in made me think, ‘Wow, I want to be a part of this, I want to stand tall and say: this is me, I love me for me, and I’m going to take care of myself,’” she said. 

Years later, Mowry has made good on that commitment. A quick swipe through her TikTok page shows her sporting a diverse range of styles including bantu knots, braids, wigs, her natural ringlets, and the occasional silk press, all within the last few months. 

Tia Mowry with her kids, Cree and Cairo, for 4UByTia.
Tia Mowry with her kids, Cree and Cairo, for 4U By Tia. ADAM RINDY

Now, the actress is introducing 4U By Tia to provide others with the support and education she herself sought for so long. 

“4U By Tia brings together the four things that I’m extremely passionate about: representation, family, wellness and community,” said Mowry. “The community has given to me, so I want to give back to the community — it’s just this amazing dance.” 

In line with Mowry’s ethos of lifting as she climbs, the actress and Amyris embarked on immersive market research and in-person discussions with members of the natural hair community to inform the vision for the brand, and ensure it was truly inclusive. 

“[Those discussions] are when we ended up deciding to use the word ‘natural,’ because when you say ‘natural’ as opposed to ‘curly,’ that’s all-encompassing,” said Mowry. “We want to support our community, and in order to do so we need to create products that feel like they’re really made for us.”

Totaling eight products, 4U’s debut line consists of moisturizing and clarifying shampoos, two conditioners, a leave-in cream, curl defining gel, refreshing mist and a multipurpose oil.

Priced at $11 or less, the products come in green apple, warm amber and fresh mandarin scents, and each feature Amyris’ proprietary sugarcane-derived silicone alternative, Hemi15, to boost moisture. Also incorporated throughout the lineup are antioxidant-rich hibiscus, sea moss, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, vitamin E and flaxseed.

“The line is intended to serve as a go-to for your core, everyday hair care needs,” said Karima McDaniel, president of 4U, noting the opportunity the launch presents for Amyris, which is a relative veteran in the celebrity beauty brand game (the biotech company is behind Naomi Watts’ Stripes, Jonathan Van Ness’ JVN and Rosie Huntington-Whitely’s Rose Inc.), but hasn’t yet forayed into textured hair care. 

“While Amyris has a track record of creating sustainable and clean beauty products, we haven’t really talked to this natural, curly, textured hair consumer before. 4U By Tia is bringing Amyris to a category that is growing, and that has a huge need, honestly, for high-performance, quality hair care products that also happen to be clean and sustainably minded,” said McDaniel. 

While McDaniel and Mowry did not comment on first-year sales expectations for the line, industry sources estimate 4U By Tia could do around $10 million in retail sales during its first year on the market.

You May Also Like

“For me, life imitates art and art imitates life, no matter what I do,” said Mowry, noting that her YouTube cooking show, Quick Fix, was sparked by real conversations she was having with fellow moms about how and what they’re feeding their children, and her first book, “Oh, Baby!” was her way of making a jab at the doom-and-gloomy discourse she often encountered during pregnancy. (“I was so floored at how everything was so medicinal and medical — like, ‘Can we please add some humor to being pregnant? This is scaring me,'” she recalled, mid-laugh.)

As for which part of Mowry’s life 4U draws upon, her experience as a young girl trying to love her hair yet being told directly (and indirectly) not to was one part of it; her role as a mother committed to changing that narrative for her children is another, she said.

“I’m very intentional with what I say to my kids,” said Mowry, who has an 11-year-old son named Cree and an 8-year-old daughter named Cairo. “I’m constantly telling my daughter, ‘Girl, look at these curls — look how beautiful and awesome your hair is!’ and I do the exact same with my son — his hair is how he expresses himself.”

Through 4U, Mowry and Amyris are striving to accelerate natural hair acceptance and education among members of the Black and textured hair communities, and beyond. This mission is reflected in each facet of the brand — from its retail partner Walmart, with whom the team saw a synergy and a quintessential avenue to amplify its message, all the way down to 4U’s packaging, with each bottle being splashed with a “what it is, what it gives, and how to use” rundown of the product’s ingredients and best practices.

“We want to make sure the natural hair journey doesn’t have to be intimidating for people, and Walmart is really helping us build that story and reach our consumer just as they’re forming their beauty experience, for which 4U is a seamless fit,” McDaniel said.

For Mowry, another necessary component to breaking down barriers is allowing herself to be vulnerable — something that she sees as daunting, given her wide reach, but also empowering, for the same reason.

“When I had my son in 2011 and still had my baby weight, there was just so much criticism, and I wanted to change that snapback narrative. When that vulnerability opened up in me, it was like I had opened the floodgates, and all these women were started their own experiences with me — it was amazing,” said Mowry.

She adds: “I’m a true believer of, ‘If you see it, you be it.’ You never know going how many other people you might inspire to say, ‘Wow, if she can do it, I can do it too’ — being open just creates this full-circle, incredible journey.”