Actress Tia Mowry's 4U by Tia hair care brand launches latest product into Walmart stores

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

“I’m seeing the biggest opportunity for the next generation of curl care at the intersection of clean and science backed. We knew we couldn’t change the face of curl care without using science – clean science that is,” said 4U by Tia founder Tia Mowry. © Adam Rindy
“I’m seeing the biggest opportunity for the next generation of curl care at the intersection of clean and science backed. We knew we couldn’t change the face of curl care without using science – clean science that is,” said 4U by Tia founder Tia Mowry. © Adam Rindy

Related tags Hair care brand Walmart hemi-squalane

As recently detailed in a NIQ report, unit sales for celebrity beauty brands increased by 35.4% between 2021 and 2022, and overall sales have continued to grow steadily through 2023. Aligned with this trend, 4U by Tia has joined the ten other celebrity beauty brands currently carried by Walmart last year and has added its latest product, Soft Curl Defining Mousse, this month.

As recently reported​ in CosmeticsDesign, according to market research report released by NIQ, celebrity beauty brands have steadily increased in sales over the past year, growing by 57.8% from $691.5bn in 2022 to $1,091.1bn in 2023. One such launch in the past year is hair care brand 4U by Tia from actress and entrepreneur Tia Mowry, who is celebrating its one-year anniversary with the release of its Soft Curl Defining Mousse. The newest addition to the brand’s collection has become available online at this week and will be available in 1,900 Walmart retail stores by the end of this month.

To learn more about the 4U by Tia vegan collection and most recent product launch, including the inspiration behind the brand, insights into the R&D process for the products’ ingredient formulations, and the decision to use Hemisqualene as the collection’s hero ingredient, we interviewed Mowry for her experience as a brand founder and product developer.

CDU: Can you share some brief background about your professional experience, the brand, and your relationship with the cosmetics and personal care product industries? 

Tia Mowry (TM)​: I’ve been in the public eye for more than 20 years as an actress, producer, author, and serial entrepreneur. But my endometriosis diagnosis, followed by motherhood is what really motivated me to prioritize my health. I became hyperaware of ingredients, especially in the personal care and hair space.

The more knowledgeable I became, the more I realized how deceptive labels can be. Things that were labeled as 'natural' didn't necessarily mean that they were clean or sustainable. I knew if it was this hard for me to sort through the noise, others must be having trouble as well.

Once I became a mother, I found myself struggling to find creams, shampoos and conditioners that worked and were proven safe for me and my family.  It was hard to find products with clean ingredients that were safe and effective, yet affordable. I felt like there was a huge void in the natural hair care category and the idea of 4U by Tia was born.

But as an owner, founder, and creative director of a black-owned beauty brand, it wasn’t enough to simply put my name on a bottle. I tapped an extensive range of experts, influencers, and everyday people to help me serve the diverse hair needs of the natural and curly hair community. I then partnered with a team of expert clean scientists and product formulators to create a textured curl care line with sustainable ingredients and a non-toxic impact. The result has been breakthrough scientific solutions that make textured curl care truly simple.

We’ve been fortunate enough to find an incredible partnership in Walmart with the launch of the original eight product collection and now we’re excited to grow the product line with the launch of our new Soft Curl Defining Mousse.

CDU: What is the inspiration behind the brand, and what influenced the development of this recent product launch? 

TM​: Working in Hollywood from a young age, I didn’t see women who looked like me in the media, Euro standards were the main representation of beauty in the early to mid-90s. In fact, I was once told my curly hair was a “distraction” when auditioning for a role. Curly hair, like mine, wasn’t celebrated – it was deemed undesirable.

I started straightening my hair to feel “sexy” and fit society’s standards, all while damaging my curls. I had a huge turning point in 2012 with the rise of Instagram and seeing influencers with hair like mine. It was incredible to see women of color embracing their natural hair. I realized then that we could celebrate our curls, which served as part of the inspiration for 4U by Tia.

I use the product line daily on myself and my two children— son Cree, 12, and daughter Cairo, 5 – and the Soft Curl Defining Mousse has quickly become one of my personal favorites. It’s a cloud-like foam that adds body, definition and shine while controlling frizz, even in humid weather.

Our Soft Curl Defining Mousse was specifically created to give curls more versatility in humid conditions and fills a “gap” in the curly hair market. Depending on how you want to wear your hair it can be used as a one-step styler or paired with your favorite curl cream or gel as the mousse enhances your natural curl pattern. 

I would say mousse is having “a moment” right now but most have high levels of alcohol which can cause dryness (particularly in curl or dry hair types). Over time that dryness can lead to brittleness and breakage. I wanted to create a mousse without alcohol that still had strong and flexible hold without the crunch that left curls soft, touchable, and moisturized rather than sticky or tacky.

CDU: Can you share some insights into the process behind the product collection R&D and formulation process? 

TM​: Developing products is one of my favorite parts of the process.  We are really tapped into our audience and listening to what the customer wants from our brand. We are constantly getting really good feedback and requests/suggestions for new product ideas. 

One of the most important things when you are starting a new product line is picking the right partners to execute your vision.  We were fortunate to be able to partner with some of the world's best clean scientists and product formulators to develop 4U By Tia.  When we create products, our formulators have a few requirements they must meet: 

  • Simple, easy-to-use formulations that push our products to do the most with as few ingredients as possible
  • Safe and free from harmful chemicals
  • Sustainably sourced and manufactured
  • Clinically proven to work on all curl and coil types 

Each product in the 4U By Tia collection undergoes multiple rounds of rigorous testing to ensure efficacy. Our formulators work diligently to push the boundaries of what it means to be clean – with Leaping Bunny Certified formulas that are cruelty-free and reject toxic ingredients, including the use of silicones, sulfates, and parabens.

CDU: What are the hero ingredients in this product line, and can you share how and why those specific ingredients were selected for the product formulations? 

TM​: Our hero ingredient across the full collection, including the Soft Curl Defining Mousse, is Hemi15 (aka Hemisqualane), which is a patented, award-winning molecule that’s changing the face of curl care as a superior alternative to silicone. Created through a bio-fermentation process using sustainable sugarcane, Hemi15 is a breakthrough ingredient for textured hair that locks in moisture and improves hair over time by creating healthier, stronger strands. Plus, it’s clinically proven to reduce frizz and boost hair's ability to retain moisture. 

Before 4U, silicone was the leading ingredient in haircare. But fifty research studies and more than fifty global patents later, Hemi15 has been proven as a superior silicone alternative that deeply repairs, protects, and smooths all curl types and textures. Right now, Hemi15 is the safest, best performing and most sustainable silicone alternative on the market. 

In addition to Hemi15, we also use sustainably sourced natural ingredients to bring added benefits to each product. For example, we created a curl enhancing blend for the Soft Curl Defining Mousse with chia seeds, which provides long-lasting curl definition and hold, an amino acids complex with lilac extract, which adds instant shine and UV protection. We also coupled it with our signature scent of green apple blended with light floral notes of lotus blossom and honeysuckle.

CDU: What are the biggest trends and opportunities for the brand in the hair care market today? 

TM​: Across the beauty industry, the most common definition of clean beauty tends to focus on ‘natural’ and ‘safe,’ but both terms still have a few issues. “Natural ingredients found in nature” aren’t always as good as it sounds! Natural ingredients can irritate the skin, create toxic byproducts, and come from production processes contributing to environmental decline. 

But I’m seeing the biggest opportunity for the next generation of curl care at the intersection of clean and science backed. We knew we couldn’t change the face of curl care without using science – clean science that is.

Every 4U product is now clinically proven and developed in partnership with the world’s leading clean scientists. When breakthrough science meets the best of nature, the results are products and practices that are sustainable and safe without sacrificing performance.

Because it’s still about performance for those with curly or natural hair. The natural and curly hair community is always searching for products that supplement our hair’s natural moisture and elasticity. Of course, our scalps already produce oils that naturally nourish our hair, but curly hair can be especially prone to dryness, fizziness, split ends, and breakage. That’s why curls and coils benefit from haircare and styling products that hydrate, maintain moisture, and protect elasticity.

CDU: What’s next for R&D focus for the brand?

TM​: We’re always looking at consumer needs and listening closely to our audiences to fix pain points in their hair care routines and create exactly what customers want and need for their hair. A few areas that come to mind for R&D include hair health, scalp health and creating proven alternatives that are safe and clean while still effective and affordable.                                                                                            

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