Texture Diaries is a space for Black people across industries to reflect on their journeys to self-love, and how accepting their hair, in all its glory, played a pivotal role in this process. Each week, they share their favorite hair rituals, products, and the biggest lessons they’ve learned when it comes to affirming their beauty and owning their unique hair texture.
As a breakout star of Netflix’s most-watched series ever, Bridgerton, Ruby Barker is having quite a moment. She plays Marina Thompson, the newcomer of the Ton who commands attention among her Featherington cousins. The juicy storylines of the series—accentuated by some entrancing hair looks—have stayed with fans since the show’s debut.
Being on the Bridgerton is part of what helped Barker to love her hair fully. “Tania [Couper] did such an amazing job and really helped me see what my hair could do,” Barker says. “I have not always loved it.” Growing up in Glasgow, she associated getting her hair done with pain. “Getting the knots raked out [was always] pure agony for me,” she says, before she learned the trick that worked best for her: applying loads of conditioner to help the detangling process.
“My hair was the butt of a lot of jokes growing up,” she adds. “I couldn’t walk down a hallway without this girl pulling out my hair bobble and laughing at my afro.” She eventually chemically straightened it, followed by a short cut. “YouTube saved me! I learned everything about how to take care of my hair from there,” she says. Natasha Tarpley’s children’s book, I Love My Hair! was another confidence-booster.
In the acting world, Barker looks up to Nathalie Emmanuel from Game of Thrones. “Seeing her rock her natural curls on the show was inspiring. Her look was iconic,” she says. To care for her own locks, Barker reaches for SheaMoisture's Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore conditioner, Cantu leave-in conditioner, and Camille Rose Natural Curl Love moisture milk as well as their Algae Renew deep conditioner, topped off by Kelly Mac Pepple Hair and Scalp oil. “All these products leave my hair feeling super hydrated, shiny and bouncy.” Barker shampoos on a weekly basis, applies copious conditioner in the shower, and detangles with a wide tooth comb. Then she applyies her leave-in and oil, sealed off by air drying or a protective style, like her favorite French braids.
These days, she’s enjoying having more fun with hair. “Bridgerton has taught me not to be afraid of accessorizing your hair! It looks great,” Barker says of her newest lesson. “Remember that you are beautiful. And your hair is beautiful, too.”
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