EXCLUSIVE: Issa Rae on Her Mission for Healthy Hair Journeys in New Sienna Naturals Campaign

After years of being a designated product tester for her sister-in-law Hannah Diop’s hair care brand, Sienna Naturals, Issa Rae saw joining the company as “a natural fit.”

“I was using all the products, I believe in them,” Rae told WWD. “I love getting into business with people who are passionate about what they do, and Hannah is very passionate about providing clean, healthy products for women with textured hair.”

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Hannah Diop and Issa Rae for Sienna Naturals' "Rooted in Real" campaign.
Hannah Diop and Issa Rae for Sienna Naturals’ “Rooted in Real” campaign.

Rae officially became a co-owner and face of Sienna Naturals in 2020, and now, she fronts her first campaign for the brand titled “Rooted in Real.” In a new video spot, the Emmy-nominated actress, writer and producer shares her hair care journey, including her struggles with dryness.

“In a literal sense, [rooted in real] means that we’re giving you clean products that are rooted in the earth, and that there’s intention behind every ingredient that goes into them,” Rae explained. “We’re also being real about how hard it is to take care of hair sometimes. I hope people appreciate that we see you, and we want to go on this journey with you.”

Diop founded Sienna Naturals in 2013 with the mission of providing all-natural, green and vegan products for textured hair. Today, the brand’s product line encompasses shampoo, conditioner, hair oils and styling tools.

“We devote a lot of time to skin health and making sure that the products that we put into our bodies are important and clean,” Rae said. “Our scalp is part of our skin, and that hasn’t necessarily been a top priority for most hair care products, especially those for Black women and people with textured hair.”

Hannah Diop and Issa Rae for Sienna Naturals' "Rooted in Real" campaign.
Issa Rae and Hannah Diop for Sienna Naturals’ “Rooted in Real” campaign.

In recent years, several studies have shown that Black women are at a higher risk of developing uterine and breast cancer as a result of chemicals in hair products. Last fall, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on relaxers containing formaldehyde, which has been linked to respiratory illness and leukemia, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“In reading some of the studies that have come out, I’m just like, ‘Wow, who’s vetting these for us?'” Rae explained. “I think this is an opportunity to raise awareness about what’s literally seeping into our brain and our body.”

Sienna Naturals places great importance on clean chemistry: The brand collaborates with dermatologists, registered nurses and scientists to ensure their products are safe, nonirritating and promote scalp and follicle health. Aloe vera juice, baobab and coconut oils are just a few of Sienna Naturals’ star ingredients.

Issa Rae stars in Sienna Naturals' "Rooted in Real" campaign.
Issa Rae stars in Sienna Naturals’ “Rooted in Real” campaign.

Rae has never shied away from sharing her own hair care journey. Shaving her head was a formative plotline in “Awkward Black Girl,” Rae’s viral web series that she eventually spun into “Insecure.” On HBO’s hit comedy, Rae frequently experimented with various hairstyles, inspiring an entire generation of young women to embrace their natural texture.

“It’s so cool to see people replicate hairstyles that I’ve worn on ‘Insecure’ or on the red carpet,” Rae added. “Growing up, I didn’t have many hair role models with my texture. This is such a great opportunity for people to see like, ‘Oh, these are all the things that I can do, and it can be seen as beautiful.'”

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