#1 Bulky fade
At the 2014 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Nyong’o graced the red carpet with a brief “Do and Taper Fade.” According to stylist, entrepreneur and natural hair expert Cortney Veney, creating taper fades on 4C hair is super easy. You need to be constantly brushing and combing out your hair as you cut it “so you don’t create holes by curling the hair up,” she explains. “Once you’re done with the cut, select the top and use a curling crème along with a light mousse to set and style the hair.” If you’re brave enough, you can also use scissors to curl the hair all the way around frame. Apply a light shine for the perfect finish.
#2 Geometric taper
In February 2014, Nyong’o graced the red carpet at the BAFTAs with a gorgeous geometric haircut that showcased the authentic texture of her hair. “Whenever tightly coiled hair is combed out, the curls separate, creating a fuller, softer, more malleable weave called a ‘fro’ or afro texture,” explains trichologist Bridgette Hill. Make sure your hair is moisturized to minimize frizz and dryness.
#3 Midsection moment
A week later, Nyong’o experimented with another geometric haircut, opting for a center-parted shape to show off those lovely curls. Hill tells us that this look is about “maintaining a healthy, well-groomed scalp and achieving the right hair shape.”
#4 Modern crown
The acclaimed actress continued to rock a shorter haircut for the 2014 Oscars, this time rounding off the look with a gorgeous cream headband. To recreate this look, Hill recommends starting with wet hair. “Apply a leave-in conditioner, followed by a generous amount of setting gel,” she says. “Comb the setting gel all over the top of your head and use Invisibobble Wavers ($5) over the top of your head to create Lupita’s soft wave pattern.” To create the soft waves, it’s important to let your hair dry with the clips , so don’t remove them too soon.
#5 Burgundy Top Bun
Nyong’o’s burgundy topknot, complete with an embellished headband on the forehead, was perfect for the 2014 Met Gala, which celebrated innovative couturier Charles James. Veney tells us that prep is key to emulating this look: “4C hair wants to curl up naturally, so using a leave-in conditioner, texturized paste and light-hold gel will help hold it in place.” hold.” After all products have been applied, straighten hair with a brush and blow dry. As for the topknot, pull out the hair and secure it with pins. For a style that lasts all day or all night, use a medium hold, shine spray.
#6 Angelic Afro
At the 2015 Golden Globe Awards, Nyong’os ‘fro was styled in a rounded halo silhouette that perfectly complemented her face shape. For this style, Veney recommends starting with a clean lock of hair, then “applying blow-dry serum, blow-drying and trimming a little before creating a rounded shape.” Once your hair is trimmed, create volume with a pick, shape into desired shape and apply a textured hair paste and light hold spray. Finally, top it all off with some shine.
#7 Braided Updo
At the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards, the star wore small braids in a cascading pattern that pointed up towards the crown. Additional braided hair wraps around the base of her ponytail, showing off her natural ends. Hairstylist and Matrix Global Artistic Director Michelle O’Connor emphasizes the importance of starting with freshly washed hair. “I recommend using a serum for proper scalp hair treatment, and then blow drying your hair with an anti-breakage spray,” she advises.
#8 Elegant embellishments
Although Nyong’o has become a fashion icon on the red carpet, her gorgeous hair always takes center stage. This polished and elevated updo is easy to replicate on all hair types and complements her green Gucci dress perfectly. The key to recreating this look is shaping and securing the ends for consistency and modernity. “To hold the style in place, additional supports or fillers may need to be added,” says Hill.
#9 sky high
Nyong’o’s favorite stylist, Vernon François, was responsible for this head-turning look. This elegant, textural updo stays in place with a combination of elastics and other styling aids. “The opposite of this style would be the long bubble ponytail, which can be achieved by securing elastic bands evenly down the length of the ponytail,” explains Hill.
#10 Raised high bangs
Are you dying to recreate the actress’ high ponytail she wore to the European premiere of Black Panther? Hill explains that there’s no need to over-curl or straighten the hair, as “it’s important to lengthen the curl pattern for best results.” She adds that this look is easy to achieve after the hair is braided or twisted: “As the hair unwinds from braids or pigtails, the fixing and stretching of curls leaves a pattern like the loose ends in Lupita’s ponytail.”
#11 Subtle sophistication
This look is all about accessories. “Hair jewelry and accessories instantly transform any hairstyle,” says Hill. “Black ropes [add] a monochromatic elegance to Nyong’o’s cropped ‘Do’.”
#12 Gilded Glamour
Although Nyong’o’s hair has been pulled back here, the key to this look is smoothing her strands to “add length and sleekness, and then weaving a jewel through the hair for added effect,” so Hill. After weaving in the jewelry, secure the style with bobby pins and then use edge control to smooth out any leftovers. Some hair types may find this style harder to secure than others. So if you find you need an extra product, don’t overdo it, as it “can cause cast on the hair,” Veney says. Instead, look for the right products that will keep your hair straight and in place.
#13 Haute Couture
Nyong’o wowed everyone in Cannes in 2018 with a natural updo that focused on the beauty of her hair texture. The key to achieving this look is to securely pull the roots back into the desired updo position while allowing free flowing movement at the crown. Hill suggests isolating the hair into two large sections (in front of the ears and behind the ears) and “securing the section in front of the ears with a hair tie to keep it isolated.”
Once that’s done, smooth the section under the ears into a twist, “work your way up from the bottom with the hair tie to the tip of the pinned hair”. Lastly, secure the twist by going to where the hair tie was attached and incorporate the top section until you achieve the shape you want. To set the style, Hill recommends using your favorite moisturizing or curl-defining product.
#14 Short and sweet
For the BAFTA Los Angeles Tea Party in 2019, Nyong’o opted for a shorter “do.” “This look is better when the hair is clean and trimmed,” says hairstylist and Imbue creative director and ambassador Michelle Sultan. She recommends using a leave-in conditioner to enhance your natural texture, along with a curling sponge to create spirals and define.
#15 Carefree fullness
This is one of many braided styles Nyong’o has sported over the years. While this style embraces the texture and fullness of her hair, the medium braids that complete the look give it a fresh, modern feel. To achieve this look, O’Connor suggests stretching your hair with a hold gel and then parting your hair in the middle before braiding it on each side. Sweep the braids around the back, letting loose micro-textured tendrils out in front and using a hold spray for a firmer hold. Add shine to finish.