Yara Shahidi's Best Hair Looks — & Exactly How To Style Them

Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage.
There are plenty of reasons to envy admire the goddess that is Yara Shahidi. She's got smarts (like, Harvard-level smarts). She's got style. And boy, does she have curls. "The sky is the limit, honestly," Nai'vasha Johnson, her go-to hairstylist, tells us. "There's so much you can do with [her hair]."
And that's what Johnson does best. Shahidi's hair never looks the same, whether she's scooping her impressive head of hair into a funky ponytail, or letting her texture do the talking with a wash-and-go. However, one thing remains consistent, and that is the health of her curls, which is paramount. See how Johnson takes care of her Grown-ish client's hair — when it's up or down — ahead.
1 of 6
Photo: Via @yarashahidi.
Prep Process
"The main thing we always do is keep her hair moisturized. She'll wash and condition her hair herself, and normally her hair is damp when she comes to me. Then, I'll add leave-in conditioner. We always start the process with that, because we're doing so much styling."
2 of 6
Photo: Gotham/Getty Images.
"Once I do the leave-in and brush it in really well, I'll go ahead and start my sectioning and then assemble the ponytail. For this particular style, I used gel around her hairline to create a really neat and refined look. Because her hair is so curly, it's important that I use gel so it won't revert on me. Sometimes I'll use Eco Styler, or Hick's Edges Pomade, or Oribe Original Pomade — it's really strong."
3 of 6
Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage.
Bun And Bang
"This took a gazillion hair pins, literally. She has a LOT of hair. For the base, I use a bungee. A bungee is very necessary when you're dealing with a client who has a ton of hair, because you can't make the ponytail as tight as it needs to be if you're taking it in and out of the loop. It's either going to pull her hair, disturb the curl, or it's going to be loose and sloppy."
4 of 6
Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage.
"Your curl should never, ever crush when you wash and go. I don't use a gel or anything that forms a crunchy, hard surface on her hair. Her hair is always really, really soft because I use that leave-in and definition cream (Oribe or Shea Moisture), and then I diffuse it on medium heat and make sure it's 100 percent dry.

"When you're using high heat, it's no different from using hot tools. If you push that diffuser too close to the hair on high, it's going to smoke. You can melt your hair off, even with the diffuser. Medium heat helps your hair dry shinier, and I don't want her to get sick from air-drying. Once I diffuse it, the product is locked in there. She can go days with her curls still intact."
5 of 6
Photo: Via @naivashaintl.
Diana Ross Curls
"At the SAGs, I wanted her beautiful texture delicately brushed out," she says. To do so, Johnson moisturized Shahidi's hair with the Taliah Waajid Green Apple and Aloe Nutrition Leave-In Conditioner, misting from root to tip before brushing it through with a Mason Pearson. She dried the star's hair with a diffuser and used the brand's Curly Curl Cream for definition and shine.
6 of 6
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

More from Celebs & Influencers


R29 Original Series