In 2016, Beyonce set the trend for one of the most popular and demanded braided hairstyles today, lemonade braids. The name of this signature look came from Beyonce’s album by the same name. Her visual album Lemonade is perhaps her most signature work, garnering the singer nearly a dozen visual award nominations.
The album gave us an hour-long retrospective of Beyoncé, and lots of representations of black hairstyles, including the popularized Lemonade braids.
Beyonce worked with celebrity hairstylist Kim Kimble to create all of her hairstyles for the album.
The rate at which lemonade braids blew up over the last 3 years is just one example of many where celebrities are known to set trends when it comes to hairstyles, especially in the black community where women are trying a plethora of protective styles and even embracing their natural hair texture more than they have in many years.
In this blog, we’re going to highlight celebrities who have popularized hairstyles.
MARY J. BLIGE
Mary J. Blige’s signature look has always been blonde hair of any and all shades and cuts since the late 1990s. She’s been known as a trendsetter for black women with blonde hair. Since then, many other black celebrities have been inspired to be blonde for most of their career, such as Beyonce, Ciara, Tyra Banks, and Eva Marcille.
DIANA ROSS When almost anyone who knows the name Diana Ross thinks about Diana Ross, the first thing that comes to mind is her hair. Ever since the beginning of her singing career in the 1960s, Diana Ross experimented with many different hairstyles, many of which had volume, short or long.
In the early 1980s, Ms. Ross staring rocking her long, voluminous natural hair. Diana has been an icon in the music industry as well as amongst the black hair community. Following in her footsteps is her daughter
Tracee Ellis Ross who also has been known for her beautiful, curly locs. Tracee’s hair has been a huge part of her identity, so much so that earlier this year she launched her own hair care line featuring a collection of shampoo, conditioners, and oils created for type 3 and 4 hair.
Since the beginning of Sza’s career, she's known for her voluminous curly hair, with and without bangs. She achieves this style with clip-ins and weave, or styling her natural hair.
But Sza was not always natural. In high school, she started to perm her hair. It wasn’t until college that she cut her hair and started transitioning.
Sza’s go-to tactic for achieving her signature look is using a big wand curler and then combing through the curls for volume. Many women have been inspired by her hairstyle, that they’ve created tutorial videos on how to look like Sza.
Over the last few years, Zoe Kravitz has been seen rocking goddess box braids, also known as boho box braids.
The main difference with goddess box braids is, unlike the traditional box braids, boho braids have a less uniform look with wavy or curly hair added in select spots for a more wispy vibe. Everything from the parts to the ends is intentionally less polished.
Other celebrities have helped catapult this trend, like Eva Marcille and Jhene Aiko. This style can be achieved using synthetic braiding hair. For a longer-lasting style, many hairstylists use a blend of synthetic and human hair because the human hair doesn’t tangle like synthetic hair does, therefore it’s better to use for the curly accents.
For the last 30 years, Whoopi Goldberg has had shoulder-length locs. Her amongst other notable women in the entertainment industry like Lauryn Hill, Kelela, Lisa Bonet, and the young singing sister duo Chloe and Halle.
Locs were a hairstyle which many people viewed negatively. Unfortunately, adjectives like dirty, untidy, unkempt have been associated with locs.
Today, many men and women alike roc locs. Even more wear faux locs, which are temporary locs achieved by wrapping synthetic braiding hair such as marley hair or yarn around box braids.
Celebrities like Rihanna, Ciara, Eva Marcille, and Zendaya have all sported faux locs of different sizes, lengths, and colors.
Brandy's stand-out role as Moesha in the 90s made box braids mainstream. For pretty much the entire series, Moesha rocked box braids.
90s babies were inspired by Moesha's signature look. But it is rumored that the micro braids style was actually a lace front wig.
A few years earlier, in the classic movie Sister Act 2, Lauryn Hill was seen rocking box braids. Similar to today, in the 1990s, they were a trending hairstyle. In the same year, the film Poetic Justice was released and Janet Jackson’s character wore box braids.
Today, box braids are one of the most popular protective styles out there. They are very versatile and can be created in any color, any size, and any length you prefer, from a bob to touching the floor.
For most of her career, Nicki Minaj has been known for her colorful and eccentric wigs. She's gone through more hairstyle switches than just about any other celebrity. Nicki Minaj does it the smart way -- with enhancements like wigs and extensions.
She’s rocked every color, from platinum blonde to hot pink, to multiple bright colors at once. She has been considered an icon to many in music, fashion, and hair; always pushing boundaries and thinking outside of the box. She has inspired black women to express themselves unapologetically through their hairstyles and fashion choices.
IMITATION IS A FORM OF FLATTERY
It’s impossible to highlight every woman that’s influenced hair trends, but we’ve built a solid list. Acknowledging that many people inspire trends is important. It is not about who copied who, or who did it first.
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