giada 440x330 Giada De Laurentiis Is Clairol’s Newest Face
Courtesy Clairol

Something’s cooking at Clairol: the haircare brand has just added Giada De Laurentiis to its roster of celebrity spokeswomen! The TV chef is representing the brand’s Natural Instincts line of semi-permanent hair colors.

“It’s so exciting,” De Laurentiis tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I’ve been wanting this for a long time.”

Growing up with a “glamorous” Italian actress grandmother, De Laurentiis says she didn’t ever think she’d land a beauty deal. “I went into a field that, 10 or 15 years ago, wasn’t that glamorous,” she says. “I remember my own family saying, ‘You’re petite, a woman, you don’t have big muscles, you can’t hack it in the kitchen with men.’ But I think breaking down such walls, allowing people to believe they can do whatever it is they want to do, is what I do.”

De Laurentiis thinks her stereotype-busting ways are a perfect fit for Clairol. “They build confidence in a woman and what she does with her hair,” she says. “I do it through the kitchen — and now through beauty, as well.”

The Food Network star first started dying her hair in her early 30s. “I used to let the sun color my hair,” she says. “But my brother was diagnosed with melanoma and died a year later. So I stopped going in the sun completely and started coloring my hair.”

Now she uses color for highlights and to cover the occasional gray — but admits she’d never used boxed color until last week. “I have to say,” she shares, “it’s very soft and very shiny. For someone who puts their hair through a lot, it feels really good.”

De Laurentiis keeps her daily routine simple, wearing minimal makeup and spending even less time on her hair. “It’s the one thing I don’t want to do in the morning,” she admits. “I was never good at it, I never have the patience. I want to run my hands through it and go, especially with my 4-year-old around.”

That simplicity is why De Laurentiis became an instant fan of Natural Instincts. “It’s something I can do after my daughter goes to bed at night,” she says. “Plus it’s something I can buy and leave in my drawer and pull out whenever I need a boost. I think I’ll be buying some for my sister, too!”

–Kate Hogan

CHOPPED! CHECK OUT HOLLYWOOD’S HOTTEST HAIR MAKEOVERS

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