Taraji P. Henson has made a name for herself in Hollywood playing outspoken, badass women like Cookie Lyon on Empire or real-life hero Katherine Johnson in Hidden Figures. She’s also one of those celebrities who you just know is going to bring it every single time she hits the red carpet.
So it shouldn’t be altogether surprising that Henson is releasing her first line of beauty products—a hair-care brand called TPH by Taraji that hits Target this month. It’s something she’s wanted to do for 10 years, she says, and was born out of her need for a scalp treatment she couldn’t find anywhere. “I concocted it because I needed it for myself,” she tells Glamour. “I never made it to get rich. It was a problem that I had, that I solved.”
It wasn’t until she was on a vacation with friends that she actually had the idea to put a hair-care line in motion. “A girlfriend and her daughter who had protective hairstyles in their hair were complaining about their scalps,” says Henson. “I said, ‘Well, just use this. I make it at home.’ I went back to my room, and they came out, saying, ‘Oh, my God! This is amazing!’ And that’s when I thought, People need this.”
That game changer would later become the hero of the line: the $15 Master Cleanse Scalp Wash, which, as the bottle conveniently mentions on the front, is made for all hair types. Other hits from her brand—which she jokingly told a room of beauty editors to think of as “the Fenty of hair care”—include a curl refresh (The Guardian) that brings spirals instantly to life, a scalp scrub (Never Salty) made with apple cider vinegar, and curl gel naturally called Tough Cookie.
We caught up with the actor at the launch for her line to chat more about TPH by Taraji and have her answer Glamour’s Big Beauty Questions. Find out her getting-ready music, her favorite drugstore products, and why she’s over “most beautiful” contests.
Glamour: What beauty trend are you most obsessed with right now?
Taraji P. Henson: I’m into self-care, so twist-outs are a whole experience for me. Now that I have my own product line, I turn doing twist-outs into a hair spa day. I get so excited to do them.
What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care means taking care of my mental health, because if that’s not right, nothing’s right. I meditate, I do sound therapy, I do aroma therapy. You’ve got to give yourself a break.
What beauty rule do you swear by?
Always wash your makeup off before you go to bed. My mother always told me growing up, “Clean that makeup off your face.” And moisturize. My grandma still moisturizes.
You’re stranded on a desert island and you can have three products. What are you bringing?
Anything from TPH, whatever I can grab at the last minute. Next I’d bring Carmex for my lips—that’s important—and last, I definitely wouldn’t want to be without Paul Scerri moisturizer for my skin. It’s amazing.
What’s your favorite way to take a moment for yourself?
A massage with my favorite masseuse at the Peninsula in Chicago.
What’s your getting-ready music?
It depends. If I’m going on a date, it’s probably R&B. If I’m going out with my girls, it's probably hip-hop. Right now I’m obsessed with DaBaby, Megan Thee Stallion, and Cardi B—really any female in hip-hop, I love. The biggest thing I’ve been rocking a lot lately is Wale’s new album and Fabolous’s “Cold Summer.”
What’s the last Instagram hole you were sucked into?
I go down the rabbit hole on Tiny Kitchen. Oh, my God. Hours. And then there’s another one about tiny dolls. They take little Barbie doll heads and shave them. There are scenarios, like say she went partying all last night, and her hair was all matted, and then you’ll see the fingernail try to press it and they’ll go, “No, no, no.” Then they’ll cut all the Barbie hair off. Then they’ll make lace fronts for the Barbie. Look it up. You’ll thank me. Anything tiny makes me feel good.
You have $20 and free roam of a drugstore. What do you buy?
Twenty dollars? I’ve got to make that stretch. Okay. I would probably get lashes. Start with my Ardell Wispies—Demi Wispies #5—and then Carmex. Next I’d grab my Jergens Shea Butter Lotion. I live and die by that stuff. And last, probably a great mascara like Maybelline Colossal. I usually keep four or five tubes of that on hand.
If you could change one thing about beauty perceptions, either in Hollywood or social media, what would you like to change?
I would like to change the notion of beauty looking a certain way. There should never be “the most beautiful person in the world.” That's a lie. I’m just thinking in general, you can’t say this person has the best hair, or this is the most beautiful person. All people are beautiful. All hair is beautiful. Once we accept that, we won’t have people depressed because they don’t look like Instagram models. There shouldn't be a norm in beauty. I’m different, you’re different, and that’s beautiful.
Who are the women inspiring you most right now?
Issa Rae endlessly inspires me. I love the work Jada Pinkett Smith is doing with her mom and her daughter on Red Table Talk. I think it’s so beautiful to see that dynamic relationship between three generations. And of course, Michelle Obama, constantly.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Originally Appeared on Glamour