lupita nyong and her natural red carpet hairstyles

Lupita Nyong and Her Natural Red Carpet Hairstyles

Living for Lupita

I love Lupita Nyongo! She experiments with a variety of hair showing off her natural hair and is known for being a natural hair icon.

Her red carpet looks are always turning heads because of her show-stopping hairstyles. Lupita has made it a point to let the world see her natural kinks and coils, and we are all here for it.

Who is Lupita

Here’s a little bit about Lupita just in case you were wondering.

For one she is Kenyan but was born in Mexico City, Mexico. Her most recent role was in Black Panther, a must-see film, where she played the fierce Nakia.

She began her acting career with her interesting role in the film 12 Years a Slave and made her red carpet debut at the 2014 Oscars. Since then she has been slaying red carpets with her gorgeous natural hair and wild hairstyles.

Lupita's Afro Abstract

Her Wild Natural Hair

Her hairstyles are never short of amazing. She has also been extremely vocal when it comes to embracing her natural hair.

She swears by the LOC (liquid, oil, cream) method using François's Pure-Fro Moisture Spray, Scalp Nourishment Braids and Locs Spray, Mist-Nourishing Water, and good old-fashioned shea butter.

One thing I like about her is that she always wears her natural hair from the red carpet to even movie roles.

Lupita's Natural Hair

Embracing Her Natural Hair

Lupita has not always embraced her beautiful natural hair.

In a recent interview with Glamour magazine, Nyong’o says she “didn’t love” her hair when she was a child because it was much lighter than her face which made her dislike her hair. She then explains that “she was kind of envious of girls with lush, longer and thicker hair.

In her teen years, she started begging her mother to have her hair relaxed. But she then explains how her mother tried to save her from the creamy crack, but Lupita did it anyway. She then explains that her mother would not allow it even though she had her hair permed.

Lupita felt that that was a decision she could come to when she was maybe 18. She explained that around 13 or 14, she had a rough time with being teased and feeling unpretty. Her dad intervened and spoke to her mom about allowing her to get a perm, and her mother finally gave in to the perm.

She took Lupita to the salon, and she finally got her hair relaxed. She remembers it being easier to tame.

Lupita said that all the girls in her class had a relaxer in their hair, and very few had their natural kinks and curls so this relaxer made Lupita feel more accepted.

Lupita's Hair Dare

After years of trying to upkeep the relaxer, she finally decided to end her relationship with the creamy crack. She explains that one day she was asking her dad for money to do her hair, and her father jokingly insisted on her cutting it all off.  A few months later, considering what her father said to her, she went to the hair salon and told them to cut it all off.

Lupita says that the idea of cutting all of her hair off seemed as though it was almost a dare. She explained the moment as both liberating and scary because she had gone completely bald.

Lupita then exclaims how she loves it because of all the things she can do with her kinks. She describes natural hair as dirt and clay and explains that in the right hands it is clay, but in the wrong hands, natural hair can be dirt.

In the right hands, the clay can be made into art.

She didn't talk about her natural hair journey but expressed how she felt about certain hair terminologies. In a recent interview with Glamour magazine Lupita said, "Well, I’m not an authority on this. But the term 'African American hair' is inaccurate because I’m not African American."

She says that she thinks the term 'African American' is often used as a racial term when it’s a cultural group that does not include all people of African descent. This reasoning is why she is somewhat against this term. So when we say 'African American,' you’re not addressing what you think you’re addressing.

That’s a national identification, and it cannot be about the hair. She instead likes the term 'kinky.' Some people don’t like that term, but when I think about my hair, I think of it as kinky African hair.

Lupita's Short Natural Hair

Her Stylist

Vernon Francois is the creator of her many wild hairstyles.

Vernon specializes in styling natural “black” hair. He is also the stylist of "Wrinkle in Time" star Storm Reid, Susan Kelechi Watson, Serena Williams and Willow Smith. He also has his hair care line titled Vernon Francois as well.

Francois designed many of his products for women with curly, kinky, and textured strands. The formula of his products uses a combination of high-quality ingredients that all work together. They are strengthening keratin amino acids and smoothing black oak extract, with antioxidant-rich green tea and ginseng extracts to prevent color fading, and jojoba, castor, and sweet almond oils.

Natural Oils

Lupita’s Most Unique Hairstyles

Her hair always makes a statement whether on a red carpet or gracing the cover of a magazine. Here are some of the unique looks Lupita has rocked throughout the years.

Lupita's Natural Hair

Rwandan Hair

This look is both beautiful and historical.

This hairdo is one of Lupita'smost recent hairstyles worn at the 2018 Oscars, and her hair looked gorgeous. This year she wore her hair in three thick deeply parted braids woven with gold thread. Though this hairstyle complemented her dress perfectly, they were not just an accessory.

The traditional Rwandan Amasunzu hairstyles inspired this hairstyle.

Lupita's Natural Twist Oscars


Accessories are a girl's best friend when trying to spice up what may look like a boring hairstyle.

Lupita loves a good accessory you can always find some sort of metallic headpiece in her hair. 'Black Panther' European Premiere This is one of her looks that you can wear almost anywhere and it is also super cute. She has a simple, cute kinky ponytail with a silver ribbon wrapped around the hair tie. This ribbon gives her hair the perfect pop of color.

In her first red carpet appearance at the 2014 Oscars, she had her cute little Afro and a simple gold headband. This hairstyle made her debut memorable because she rocked her natural fro.

During the 2014 Met Gala, she wore a dark purple french roll with a beautiful emerald headband for a cute boho look. This hairdo is a style you can copy for any occasion because it can be dressed up or worn casually.

She also wore a futuristic updo for the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" London premiere in 2015 which matched her role in the film.

Lupita's Oscars

Mini Buns

Space buns were a huge trend, but Lupita took it to the next level with these mini buns.

I would never think that this particular hairstyle would be elegant, but Lupita quickly proved me wrong. My mom used to do my hair like this when I was younger, and if I had seen Lupita wearing this, I would have worn this do’ with so much confidence.

She’s extremely playful, and these buns show that side of her personality.

At the 2014 NAACP Image Awards, she rocked these mini buns with her shaved sides for an edgy look.

Lupita Acceptance Awards

Mile High Top Knots

These hairstyles are unlike any hairstyle that an actress has worn on the red carpet. Lupita uses this style to showcase her African roots by imitating traditional African hairstyles.

Lupita had everybody shook at the 2016 Met Gala with this out of the world hairstyle many people were even calling it afro-futuristic. Vogue assumed that Audrey Hepburn inspired her unique hairstyle, but Lupita had to check them real quick and let everyone know that the late Nina Simone and African hair sculptures inspired this style for the red carpet.

She then repeated a similar hairstyle for the Black Panther Premiere in Hollywood, but this time it was a much smaller tower. The look was a tribute to the Fulani hairstyles captured by Nigerian photographer J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere.

Fun fact: In African history sculpture hair represented the taus of a woman or how wealthy she was. A towering hairdo has historically signified a person’s tribal background and rank in society or a wife’s ability to live a lavish life because of her husband’s wealth. Some of these styles can be seen in the late Nigerian photographer J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s anthology of nearly 1,000 Nigerian women’s hairstyles.


Beads on beads on beads

This style happens to be one of my favorite styles that Lupita has worn.

It also takes me back to when I was in elementary school when my mom would put a million beads in my hair. She wore this style for her cover story in the magazine’s Culture of Hair issue. This hair gave me Solange "A Seat At the Table" vibes.

In an interview with Glamour, her stylist Vernon Francois said “Lupita and I wanted to show that coily or kinky hair has many strengths and can be worn in lots of different ways, celebrating its beauty and versatility,” said François. “Loving your true texture is important.”

Lupita's Beaded Hair

TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro)

Lupitas natural fro would have to be her signature look many would say that short hair is boring and you can’t do much with it, but Lupita would prove them wrong. She switches up her fro with different cuts, updos, and accessories which make her short hair far from boring.

Through the years she grew her hair out cut and grew it out again and has looked fabulous throughout the entire process.

She also gave us kid and play vibes when she added an 80s style wedge to her little fro.




Headwraps are every black girl go to hairstyle especially when you are not trying to deal with your hair or just having a bad hair day. But Lupita shows out in her headwraps. She does add a scarf bun, but she wears them in the most elaborate styles that compliment her outfits perfectly.

On the carpet for the September 2016 Queen of Katwe premiere, she wore this gorgeous cobalt blue scarf that almost looked like the napkins you get at fancy restaurants.

With some hope, a headscarf and a couple of youtube videos you might be able to achieve this look with your scarf!

Lupita's Head Wrap

Big and Beautiful Fro

Now and again every girl with short hair likes to see what it would be like with some long locks. This style can be easily achieved with some kinky clip ins to enhance what you already have.

The afro worn during her shoot with Allure was gorgeous!!!! This look was almost the cover for the February issue, but the went with the look with the beads instead.

She topped it off with some statement earrings which made the look perfect for almost any occasion.

Lupita's Natural Hair

Senegalese Twist

Senegalese twist is one of the best protective styles. They are extremely versatile allowing you to do so much with your hair. They’ll also save you time in the chair at the salon.

Of course, Lupita slayed this style and wore it in several different ways before saying goodbye to her braids in an Instagram post.


Which Look Is Your Fave?

Lupita definitely proves that you don't have to be limited when it comes to natural hairstyles. Her hairstyles range from everything from simple to abstract.

Which look is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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