Topping off every polished look Michelle Obama sports is a gleaming crown of carefully coifed, healthy hair. Because textured hair tends to be dry, it’s imperative that African-American women follow these healthy hair care guidelines, says Michelle O’Connor, an ethnic-hair specialist from Hollywood, Fla.
- Quench your hair with moisturizing shampoos and conditioners during weekly washings. Use hairstyling products on a daily basis to keep hair hydrated.
- Wrap hair nightly with a satin scarf to prevent breakage. The friction created when your hair rubs up against your pillowcase is damaging to your locks.
- Refrain from using hot styling tools on a daily basis and apply a heat-protectant product to tresses when you do use a flat iron or curling iron. To maintain waves between sessions with irons, loosely pin curls at night instead.
- Trim hair every six weeks to avoid split ends.
Here’s how you can get four of the first lady’s favorite looks:
Bob It: Michelle’s signature go-to look
- Why it works: Exudes no-nonsense elegance. Adds body because every strand is one length.
- Do the ’do: Start with an even or a blunt haircut that is chin-length or slightly longer. Wash hair and towel-dry. Apply setting lotion to small sections of hair and set in large plastic rollers. Sit under bonnet hair-dryer or allow to air-dry. Remove rollers and apply a dab of hair oil. Gently hold hair dryer over locks with one hand while moving a large round brush underneath curls until only large, uniform waves remain. Los Angeles hairstylist Rosalind Williams likes to finish with a light mist of a high-shine flexible-hold hairspray, like Sebastian Laminates.
Pony Up: The first lady keeps her mane casual when she’s hanging with daughters Sasha and Malia
- Why it works: “A ponytail highlights the beauty of a woman’s face,” according to Johnny Wright, Obama’s hairstylist, “and it can be taken from day to night if it’s done properly.”
- Do the ’do: Gather dry hair, smooth with a hair gloss -- try Oscar Blandi Pronto Gloss Instant Glossing Cream -- and secure with an elastic holder at the nape of the neck. Wrap a strand of hair around the elastic to give the look nighttime elegance.
Whirl the Curls: Michelle’s special-occasion loose and lively wavy bob
- Why it works: “This imparts sex appeal,” says Williams, but it still looks “very classy.”
- Do the ’do: Wash hair. Section, braid and let air-dry. Apply a protectant, like Mizani Thermasmooth Smooth Guard Smoothing Serum. Using a ceramic or tourmaline 1-inch curling iron (gentler, more controlled heat), hold the iron parallel to your head. Starting a couple of inches from your scalp, wrap a 1 1/2-inch section of hair around the barrel (away from your face). Continue wrapping up the barrel until you are holding the ends up against the iron. After curling the entire head, separate the curls in twos and threes with your fingers for even more volume.
Chignon Chic: Michelle’s classically elegant ’do
- Why it works: “This hairdo will never let you down,” says Williams. “It will always stay nice and neat, no matter what you’re doing.”
- Do the ’do: Moisturize freshly washed hair with a daily hair creme like Pantene Relaxed & Natural Daily Oil Cream Moisturizer. Follow instructions for the ponytail (above). Divide ponytail into two parts, then twist them together tightly into a spiral. For a more ornate look, braid the ponytail. Wrap all of the hair in a circular rotation around the ponytail holder and tuck inside holder. For a fuller look, add a weft or hairpiece. Spritz with hairspray.