Go Ahead and Tap That "Follow" Button on These 31 Game-Changing Black Hairstylists
Anyone who's been in a salon chair knows: a great hairstyle is more than a few slicks of pomade or a fancy parting comb. It takes skill and dexterity to transform a look from average to exemplary, plus a deep understanding of how to best manipulate each texture into something beautiful.
The problem is, there's a disproportionate number of pro stylists who understand how to work across all hair types — and, more specifically, the intricacies of Black hair — which means people with natural textures are often left out of the conversation. (This truth is so wide-sweeping, in fact, that last year, A-list actors like Gabrielle Union, Viola Davis, and Yvette Nicole Brown called out the lack of Black hairstylists who specialize in Hollywood.)
To celebrate the work of the wildly talented, grossly underrepresented Black hair artists, you can start by supporting their work on social media. If you're looking for inspiration to screenshot and bring to your next appointment, be it braids or other protective styles, or just want practical tips on caring for wavy, curly, and coily hair, there's no better place to find it than on their feeds.
From celebrity hairstylists with a client list that could make a red carpet reporter blush to rising stars in the hair space, we've rounded up the 31 pros worth slamming that "follow" button for on Instagram.
If you're not already following Ursula Stephen's hilarious (but also informative) #Ursiechair series on Instagram, then click the button for that and behind-the-scenes peeks into her celebrity clientele's life. We're talking Rihanna, Zendaya, Mary J. Blige, and more.
It's not just that Johnny Wright worked as Michelle Obama's personal hairstylist while she was in the White House that makes him a must-follow. It's also that he now shares behind-the-scenes footage of his journey as a judge on VH1's To Catch a Beautician and, if nothing else, many offensively cute photos of his french bulldog JJ.
Once known for his lavish haircuts priced at a cool $2K, celebrity hairdresser Ted Gibson knows his way around a pair of shears. Whether it's showcasing his work on Lupita Nyong'o and Priyanka Chopra or the hair transformations using his newly launched Starring products, you won't want to miss his posts.
One of the most sought-after hairstylists in Hollywood, Lacy Redway has worked with everyone from Yara Shahidi to FKA Twigs, but her IG feed is really an amalgamation of everything — hair inspiration, memes, and advice galore.
The man behind some of the coolest looks you've seen on Lupita Nyong'o and Amandla Stenberg is celebrity hairstylist Vernon François. His feed is worth following not only for the cute daddy-daughter moments but also for when you want to feel inspired to follow your dreams — no matter how lofty.
If you want the full picture of braided excellence, it's with Tish Celestine. The hairstylist works with Orange Is the New Black's Danielle Brooks (among many others) and creates some of the most intricate — and sometimes colorful — plaits.
Editorial hairstylist Naeemah Lafond straight-up serves all the hair inspo — even on her own daughter. The caption to this photo, for example? "When you're quarentined with your editorial hair stylist mom."
Remember Gabrielle Union's epic bedazzled ponytail at the Met Gala last year? Larry Sims did that. He's the one to watch when you want a dose of hair inspiration, but he's also not afraid to upload videos of his stellar voice and dance moves.
Beyond the hit of next-level hairstyles, celebrity hairstylist Tippi Shorter's feed is filled with feel-good mottos of self-love and words of encouragement.
Who's responsible for keeping the men in Hollywood looking fresh? That would be celebrity groomer Vernon Scott. Hit that "follow" button for a sneak peek into what it's like working with the likes of Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Jaden Smith, and more.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a celebrity who hasn't been touched by Nikki Nelms. Don't miss the epicness she creates on stars like Janelle Monáe, Zoë Kravitz, Venus Williams, Solange Knowles, and so many more.
Editorial hairstylist and educator Yene Damtew will become your go-to for practical work, life, and hair tips. She also mentors aspiring hairstylists on running a business with her coaching program, The Academy.
Atlanta-based Rachel Redd's Instagram is the ultimate hair-color mood board for natural textures (and she'll even let you in on some of her tips via virtual workshops and the like).
One of the biggest legends in the hair game, Kim Kimble has a career that's spanned 25-plus years and has worked with everyone from Whitney Houston to Beyoncé to Zendaya. On Instagram, she also offers hair classes and wig consultations via Zoom. As they say, follow the link in bio.
Tym Wallace is the right-hand man to a laundry list of A-listers, including Taraji P. Henson and Mary J. Blige, and his feed is the perfect glimpse into the glam life.
If it's endless braid inspiration you're after, look no further than editorial hair artist Shani Crowe's page, which is loaded with the coolest styles.
First introduced to the wider public as Kylie Jenner's personal hairstylist on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, hairstylist and wigmaker Tokyo Stylez has since gone on to build her own social media presence in the hair space. Follow along for major hair inspiration (between a bevy of picture-perfect selfies, of course).
Dre will become your new favorite follow — so long as you like architectural braids and dope editorial work in publications like City Pages and Culture Piece magazine and cover artwork for multiple albums.
You know you're in for a wild ride when someone's longtime client is Rihanna, and that's exactly what you'll find with celebrity hairstylist Yusef Williams's feed.
You could know Emmy Award-winning hairstylist Oscar James is creating dope looks behind the scenes, but head to his Instagram anytime you need a dose of inspiration (or just a funny meme to lift up your spirits).
The Instagram account of Yara Shahidi's go-to hairstylist, Kendall Dorsey, is a destination in and of itself for curly hair inspiration. Check it for countless celebrity screen shots and videos.
With 20 years working in the industry on TV show and movie sets, Takisha Sturdivant-Drew knows hair. Now she's paying that knowledge forward with her Brooklyn-based salon Takisha Studio and TSD Hair Extensions line.
Getting fashion inspiration from one of the best hairstylists in the game? That's a big yes from Derek Jae.
While Neal Farinah's client list is legendary, to say the least — he's been Beyonce's go-to hairstylist for the last 15 years and, more recently, also Lizzo's — the biggest reason to follow isn't the iconic natural hair moments and Queen Bey throwbacks. Rather, it's his short clips with positive affirmations and feel-good messages that you'll want to replay again and again.
Get ready for the throwback feels: legendary hairstylist Chuck Amos has worked with some of the biggest '90s beauties, including Naomi Campbell and Oprah Winfrey, and regularly shares glimpses into their lives way back when.
Kehlani's go-to stylist, Kahh Spence, has his hands in a lot of things: his own product line called Kahh Spence Beauty, YouTube videos, and celebrity hair. He also shares informational clips on styling, life, and more on Instagram.
Some of the coolest, most out-of-the-box hair designs of late have been created by hairstylist Nicole Newland — both with top talent like Issa Rae and June Ambrose, as well as for editorial shoots.
When you want a wealth of knowledge right at your fingertips, you need Felicia Leatherwood on your follow list. The celebrity natural hairstylist regularly shares the 411 on hair health, curly hair myths, and more.
Follow freelance hairstylist Gabbi Jeanne for natural hair looks you'll want to immediately add to your Pinterest board.
Once a week — if not more — you can peep Emmy-nominated hairstylist Kiyah Wright sharing her best hairstyling tips with the wider world on Instagram . . . and you don't want to miss them.
It doesn't get more behind-the-scenes than Tamara Laureus's feed.