While Michelle Obama was in the White House, she kept her look more or less consistent, wearing cardigans and elegant midi-length skirts with her hair either styled into sleek, romanic curls or updos for formal events. However, since leaving her official role as First Lady in 2016, she's been able to have a bit more fun. Case in point: Her most recent appearance at the 2019 Essence Festival on Saturday.
For a sit-down interview with Gayle King, in which she spoke about everything from 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to self-worth to her memoir, Obama arrived in a sparkly midnight blue jumpsuit with super-curly hair accented with some blonde ombré highlights.
The new look, which came courtesy of her go-to hairstylist Yene Damtew, had the internet into full-on meltdown mode, especially since Obama first debuted the look with a simple tweet.
And once she hit that EssenceFest stage, the excitement grew from there.
While Obama has experimented with highlights in the past, this is the most dramatic hair-colour change we've seen on her in a while. But this isn't the first time she's rocked curls: Earlier this year, she wore voluminous ringlets on Essence's December/January 2019 cover. According to Damtew, this style is a regular for Obama. "Mrs. Obama tends to wear her curls often, but she isn't in the public eye as often as she was while in-office," Damtew tells Refinery29.
As for whether this is Obama's natural texture, Damtew told us that, in general, she tries to feature both Obama's natural curls and some additional pieces. "We do a little bit of everything when it comes to her hair: weaves and natural," Damtew says. "To protect her hair when having lighter blonde highlights, like this, we use some extensions to protect the integrity and health of her hair."
To keep her hair looking extra-sharp on Saturday, Damtew used some of her favou-rite go-to products for Obama, including SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Oribe Styling Butter Enhancing Crème, and DevaCurl Mist-Er Dream Curl Refresher.
And here's some good news: This probably won't be the last time we see this style on Obama. "From what I have seen, everyone loves the curls," Damtew says. "This is an easy hairstyle for her, and I am sure we will be seeing more of it."