Portland haircare line ‘Ella Dean’ included in Grammys gift bags

Andrew M. Santos

Nicole Rose is the fourth generation of women from Oregon’s oldest African-American salon, Dean’s Beauty Salon. Her line is organic and celebrates natural hair.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland haircare line will be featured on the red carpet the Grammy Awards on April 3. One of the products made by Ella Dean Haircare will be included in gift baskets handed out to celebrities at the awards show.

KGW met the company’s founder, Nicole Rose, a year ago over Zoom during the pandemic. She had just launched Ella Dean, her line of products celebrating natural, textured hair and she was extracting the fruit, vegetable and herb oils in mason jars, slowly warmed in a Crockpot bath all night in her parents’ basement. and trying to get them into a few local beauty supply stores.

“I just happened to be up at midnight and I looked at my email and the owner was like, we want your products to be featured in our celebrity gift bag,” Rose said. “And I was like, ‘No, this can’t be real!'” 

Her favorite and best-selling product, ‘Look But Don’t Touch,’ will be in the celebrity gift bag and in the hands of artists like Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, even Kanye West and Jay Z.

RELATED: 4th generation of Oregon’s oldest African American salon, launches haircare line

“Everyone loves it. It’s made with pomegranate, Indian gooseberry, mustard, rice, and more,” Rose said as she showed us the bottles from her home. “It’s a lightweight oil and it helps with hair loss and stimulating your hair follicles.”

Rose’s business story starts four generations ago with her great grandparents, Benjamin and Mary Rose Dean. In 1954, they opened Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop on Northeast Hancock Street in Portland’s Eliot neighborhood. Their daughter, Ella Dean, a cosmetology school teacher, took it over and ran it for decades. Today, Rose’s aunt is at the helm of the city’s oldest, continuously operating Black-owned business. 

Rose is so inspired by her grandmother, Ella, that after discouraging herself for a long time, during the pandemic she followed her dream of creating an all-natural line of black hair care products. Just one year in, her three hair oils are carried in six local stores, with a gigantic new announcement and advice for other entrepreneurs:

“Don’t discourage yourself. Be better than me about that,” Rose said. “Also, don’t do it for the money. Make sure you are passionate about it and you just never know what can happen. I mean, look at me. I went from online and now I’m going to be in a e-commerce store called ‘Thirteen Lune‘ and they will roll me into over 600 J.C. Penney stores by 2023. You just never know what can happen in one year. Just be patient, be positive and just keep going. Just don’t let anyone stop you.”

A portion of every sale Rose makes goes to the Alzheimer’s Association. Grandma Ella battles dementia, but would be so proud of the spark her strong, determined granddaughter found during one of the toughest times in history.

Nicole Rose and her nationally-renowned photographer mother, Kelly Johnson, will be doing a talk in partnership with Multnomah County Library highlighting their thoughts on starting a business and history of their family. It’s March 26th via Zoom. For more information and to register, check out the link here.

Next Post

The Best Women’s Sun Hats for Spring

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, The Hollywood Reporter may receive an affiliate commission. Note that prices and deals are accurate as of press time but may be subject to change. In addition to a healthy layer of sunscreen and sunglasses, […]