Who better than one of Hollywood’s most seasoned, A-list-approved hairstylists to school us on the comings and goings of natural hair trends in 2019? Ursula Stephen‘s not only responsible for Rihanna‘s iconic Good Girl Gone Bad black pixie; she’s also on call for a gang of today’s most inspiring red-carpet beauties, including Bebe Rexha, Zendaya and Normani Kordei.
And when she’s not globe-trotting to keep up with her famous clientele, she’s holding down the fort at her namesake hair salon in New York. Given her expertise both on and off the red carpet, we believe her when she labels anything a trend. For instance, the silk press—a classic hairstyle in the black community—took center stage in 2018.
“One of the many reasons the natural hair movement became so popular is because many women were so adamant about freeing themselves from chemical relaxers—which provided styling flexibility and manageability, but could be damaging for some hair types,” she says. “The silk press is essentially the best of both worlds because it allows women with textured hair to achieve straight, manageable hair without the long-term commitment of a chemical relaxer or compromising of hair health.”
There’s also the ever-evolving world of braids used to accent traditional looks and accessories that go beyond your basic ponytail holder or headband. But come 2019, expect naturalistas to be just as experiential, but in slightly different ways.
First, Stephen predicts that wigs will continue to be a styling trend.
“Wigs are really a great protective style that offers women with natural/textured hair the option to wear their hair silky straight without having to alter their natural hair pattern, or just change up their look generally from day to day without having to restyle or wash hair,” she says.
The beauty of wigs, regardless of style, is their accessibility. They can be store-bought or custom made, and include human or synthetic strands… or a mix of both. And should you need inspiration, there’s no shortage of it on the red carpet and Instagram.
On the hair-care front, Stephen notices that women are becoming comfortable with trimming their hair on a regular basis, such as every six to eight weeks.
“With the popularity of the natural-hair movement, women are understanding the importance of getting a trim to keep hair looking healthy and retain the hair’s shape on wash-and-go days.”
Though it’s best to leave your trimming to a pro stylist, there are also expert-approved ways to do it on your own. Just be sure to have a pair of professional shears and steady hands.
Thankfully, Stephen also sees black women continuing to embrace their hair in its most natural state.
“Texture is already having a moment, but I do see this as a trend that will only get bigger as women are embracing their natural textures and curl patterns and experimenting to create different looks on the red carpet and in real life.”
Finally, because many women with natural hair have left the world of relaxers, they feel much better about experimenting with color. Beyond that, a fresh coat of dye can also help express someone’s personal style.
“When it comes to color, the most important thing is protecting the hair and keeping it moisturized. Make sure you’re using a super-moisture-rich shampoo, conditioner and treatment like Nexxus Color Assure, which is sulfate free and infused with proteins to replenish nutrients lost in the coloring process,” says Stephen.
Which one of these trends will you be trying after the ball drops?