We’ve met a lot of noteworthy ponytails in the past few years, and this weekend, 2020 finally entered the chat. Two new types of ponytail hung out with each other at Saturday’s NAACP Image Awards: Lizzo’s Afro Ponytail, dreamed up by her longtime stylist Shelby Swain, and Rihanna’s Structural, Sleek Ponytail, dreamed up by her longtime stylist Yusef Williams.
Though very different at first glance, (puffy vs. sleek, cornrows vs. dreads, back of the head vs. top of the head), the ponytails actually have a lot in common. Both live on the heads of people who live in our headphones, and both were prepped and styled with $5 products from Suave’s natural-hair collection, like the Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Moisturizing Curl Conditioner, making them some of the more down-to-earth celebrity ponytails.
Swain, who was responsible for this chocolaty updo last week, knew she wanted to do something strong and geometric to play off Lizzo’s Mary Katrantzou dress. The ponytail aspect was locked in, but the two were still deciding between dreads and braids day of. “We’re just a little indecisive,” she told the Cut before glam time, but dreads won in the end. The key to Lizzo’s pony is that it’s actually two ponies! Swain stacked them and molded the singer’s curls using Suave Professionals for Natural Hair Define & Shine Gel Serum to get an extra-voluminous shape and added straight extensions to create a nice, face-framing tendril chunk.
Williams was also set on a pony, but an extremely sleek one after he saw the voluminous Givenchy couture dress Rihanna’s stylist Jahleel Weaver had pulled. “Her only hair request was to make sure she looks pretty,” Willams told the Cut with a laugh, which, relatable. He used the same Define & Shine Gel Serum to get that reflective sheen and secured the long pony with his Y by Yusef hair elastics and bungees. The key to Rihanna’s ponytail is making sure it doesn’t look too calculated or stiff. As its owner reminded us back in 2014, just because you’re winning a prestigious award in a shiny crystal dress doesn’t mean you can’t twerk. To convey this life philosophy via hair, Yusef sprayed the entire look with Suave Professionals Refresh & Revive Dry Shampoo to “mess it up a little bit, so it doesn’t look so pulled together.”
Getting ready in the proper atmosphere and environment is also key in creating these ponytails. For Lizzo and Swain, that means partaking in a good detangling session that, according to Swain, must include a Denman D3 brush, Suave’s curl-defining cream, joke telling, and singing along to a lot of Beyoncé and Rihanna(!). For Rihanna and Williams, the latter told the Cut, “Silence is golden … but when we are at the finish line, we turn up!”
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