By: Maiysha Kai, The Root
Happy New Year! It’s the first Big Beauty Tuesday of 2021—and after the heaviness of 2020, we are understandably looking to lighten up this year, in every way imaginable. “Here’s to a collective sigh and release of what needs to be discarded, dismantled and moved away from as we gather all the good, and move towards a new, better, kinder, safer world,” posted Tracee Ellis Ross, one of our eternal muses, as the new year dawned. We couldn’t agree more, so when the team at Ellis Ross’ Pattern Beauty reached out over the holiday to gift a sample of the brand’s newest formula, the Lightweight Conditioner ($9 for 3 oz., $25 for 13 oz., $42 for 29 oz.), we knew this was an offer we couldn’t refuse.
“The Lightweight Conditioner has been a labor of love to create. Achieving the PATTERN slip while keeping it silicone-free was no small feat,” explained Ellis Ross in a release—and in fact, it reportedly took two years and at least 60 iterations to do so. The conditioner, which dropped this morning with a personal introduction from the famous founder herself, is described as a coconut oil, Irish Moss & Biotin-infused creamy formula “geared towards naturals with fine or thin hair whose curls need a kiss of hydration,” completing the brand’s existing roster of Medium (for curlies), Heavy (for coilies) and Intensive (for tight textures) conditioners, the new formula shares the light scent and graphic packaging already synonymous with the brand. This extra-creamy concoction offers Pattern’s loyal following the option to use it as a co-wash or conditioner regardless of what textural category they may fall into, as both the brand and Ellis Ross boast that the formula is for curly, coily and tight textures.
“Some days, your hair just wants different things,” says Ellis Ross in her introductory video. “We need a conditioner for everything, because sometimes your hair is looking for that custardy intensity of the Intensive Conditioner, or you’re looking for the slip-and-slide hydration of the Medium Conditioner, and then some days, your hair just needs a kiss…of hydration that’s not going to weigh you down!”
So…did it weigh us down? Truthfully, had we not been told it was the Lightweight formula, we may not have suspected, as it’s still thicker than most on the market. Thankfully, with all the formulas on hand, we were able to compare and confirm that it is, in fact, the lightest of the bunch, but upon first application, it didn’t immediately sink into our fine strands. In fact, the promised “insanely slippy” effect these 3C-ish curls regularly crave wasn’t truly achieved until after a full rinse and ample application of what we and Ellis Ross agree is her “Holy Grail” product, the Leave-In Conditioner. (Seriously, if you get nothing else from Pattern, get this stuff. As we crowed in unison with Ellis Ross during an interview last spring, “It’s so good!!!”)
But still, we persisted—because Ellis Ross’ curls are too legit to quit (and too similar to our own to quit this formula before giving it another go), and Pattern’s philanthropic arm boosts financial support and awareness to an array of organizations and causes that empower people of color. So, a few days ahead of our next wash day, we gave the Lightweight another go, this time using the co-wash approach to give a midweek refresh to our fraying wash-and-go…
And this was a go.
We’d give you a before-and-after, but that would require putting on makeup—and remember what we said about lightening up? (Besides, we’re still slowly easing back into this whole be-at-work thing.) Can we legitimately call Pattern’s Lightweight Conditioner the formula we’d been expecting or even hoping for? No, we cannot. But maybe it’ll prove to be a harbinger for the necessary pivots and unexpected pleasures of 2021 since upon rinse-out, it did deliver on weightless hydration and easier detangling. Days later, our curls are still defined, bouncy and—dare we say it—shining without being the least bit greasy (no small feat for chronically dry tresses). Verdict? We’ll keep playing with this new Pattern, because it may end up a welcome (and attractive) addition to our shower—and new year.
“Here’s to a juicy & joyful new year filled with juicy & joyful curls, coils & tight textures!” says Ellis Ross.