For decades, Queen Latifah has kept her natural hair styled to perfection. Whether she was onstage rapping her greatest hits or on set for a blockbuster movie, we cannot recall a time when her hair was out of place.
Now, the multi-talented entertainer is opening up about her personal experience managing her tresses, including early moments in her career when she didn’t have the luxury of hairstylists.
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“I think I got very fortunate,” the 50-year-old actress shared via a video interview with Essence. Reminiscing on her early career, Latifah admits she was unable to afford a hairstylist during these times, however, this inspired her to get creative.
“I learned how to put parts in my hair, how to shave it, how to do it, how to curl it,” she explains. “My mother taught me how to curl and how to do my hair.”
Before she knew it, she was on set with a team of notable beauty specialists, who shared great insight on creating the perfect glam. “I studied what people did around me,” she adds. “I’ve had the great fortune of working with some very amazing makeup artists, hairstylists, and I study them, you know?”
She continues, “I watch what they do when I’m sitting in their chair—if I’m awake,” she jokes. “I can appreciate great work, and they teach me things. They tell me things.”
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She went on to share a gem she learned from hairstylist Julie Baker on the set of Living Single: focus on hair health.
“I had an album out at the same time I was doing the show, so my hair was getting done four or five times a week – getting pressed and pressed,” she explains before revealing, “My edges started breaking and I was like, ‘Yo! Now you’re talking to Hip-Hop’s Queen Latifah, not Khadijah.’”
This is when Baker’s advice came full circle. “I was like, ‘I ain’t about to lose my edges over no show.’ I was like ‘Nah my edges is breaking, it’s not happening.'”
To combat the breakage, Latifah recalls Baker encouraging her to let her hair go all-natural. “She was like, ‘You’ve gotta grow it out, your natural hair can handle this. We can work with it, but you’re just gonna have to grow out that perm.’”
The haircare advice proved to be quite beneficial. To this day, Latifah not only has her edges, but also hair that continues to grow and flourish. Now, that’s what we call winning!
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