Lupita Nyong'o’s Red Carpet Hair Guru Tells All

Lupita Nyong'o arrives at the 2015 Golden Globes. Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images.

Red carpet darling Lupita Nyong'o is setting trends and generally slaying it from a style perspective. The Lancôme spokeswoman steps onto the carpet each time with fashion that makes headlines and a look that gets noticed. The man responsible for her gorgeous hair is celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson, who started working with Nyong'o when she was screening 12 Years A Slave two years ago. He’s been her mane man for big appearances ever since. I asked Gibson to dish on how he gets so many versatile styles for Nyong'o's magnificent mane:

Surprising styling tip: “I think that women who have curly, wavy or textured hair have the same concerns, which are lack of shine and moisture,” says Gibson. “One of the rituals I do with Lupita is to place two to three damp towels in the microwave (or use the hottest water I can stand,) and place them on her hair and scalp. The steam seals moisture and shine into her hair, which makes the addition of essential oils, product and pomade more effective.”

Key products: “I essentially just use L’Oreal Professionnel Architexture Matte Defining Paste ($24) and Kerastase Spray-a-Porter ($36). You can use work these products into the hair and onto the scalp with your fingers without overdoing it.” Also, hairspray is an option. “I use L’Oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray ($14.99) and L’Oreal Professional Perfect Shimmer ($18.79), a spray emollient, to seal hair and lock in shine.”


Celebrity hair stylist Ted Gibson prepping Lupita Nyong'o’s natural hair look for the 2015 Golden Globes Awards. Photo: Courtesy of Instagram @tedgibsonbeauty.

Understand texture: Many stylists fear Afro texture and/or tight curls, which Gibson says is a mistake. “It’s important not to be afraid of this texture. Women with textured hair need to know that they have plenty of styling options: braids, extensions, color, smoothing, and creating different shapes within by rolling and pinning. Hair pins, Afro picks for volume – there are so many options open to you.” Gibson also advises going bold with accessories. “I’ve done a lot of hair accessories on Lupita. It’s fun to put accessories on shorter hair, like jeweled headbands.” Gibson’s favorite look on Lupita so far? “There have been so many. I love the Met Ball look with the purple hair; it was so fun and unexpected.”

Daily maintenance: Gibson advises matching shampoos and conditioners to how often you cleanse. “For more frequent hair washes want to use shampoo and conditioner that adds as much moisture to the hair as possible. If you only shampoo once a week, you need a little stronger shampoo to remove product build-up and environmental toxins from the hair.” How about sulfate-free or regular shampoo? “I think a mixture of sulfates and non-sulfate cleansers will work fine,” advises Gibson. “Sulfates are getting a bad rap; they remove buildup from the hair and scalp. But I don’t think every woman needs sulfate-free products. You need to know your hair.”

Actress Lupita Nyong'o walks the red carpet at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards wearing Giambattista Valli. Photo: Courtsey of Getty Images.

Making the transition: For those about to make the step to transitioning to Nyong'o's texture, Gibson says to be brave and patient. “You can’t be afraid of it. Take a deep breath when the length (or lack of it) starts to get to you, live with it for another two weeks, and it will change. Natural hair can do more with color and dimension, but not everyone needs to go natural.” If you make the decision to grow roots while maintaining length, Gibson says to be careful. “ If you don’t decide to do a big chop, mind the line of demarcation between the natural growth and the processed lengths to avoid damage and breakage.”


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