It’s festival season, and Essence magazine did not come to play!
Every summer, Essence Magazine joins the fun in festivals and has its coveted Essence Fest celebrating black women, black business, black culture and most of all black style. This year was no different than the others as significant brands, businesswomen, celebrities, and influencers joined the fun to give the people what they love the most!
However, just like we love Essence Magazine and their annual Essence Fest, we love their looks! So in celebration of the many styles, we are pinpointing the Essence Fest 2018 hair looks we love! Yes, it was that much black girl magic and slayage walking around to compile some favorites and some tools on how you can get the look yourself.
Vivid colors, tons of energy and bright smiles painted the scene for the fun-filled weekend, but one thing that stood out the most was the variety of hairstyles that roamed the streets of New Orleans. It was as if everyone who showed up knew that they had to bring their A game and with much anticipation, these women did not support.
While we cannot cover every hairstyle, we can pick our top 5 favorites that seemed to stand out from the rest. From braids to long full weaves, to Bantu knots and even a few updo’s here and there, it was indeed a treat for everybody. So if you are headed on vacation soon, and you are in need of some serious hair inspo, look no further!
Spelman Graduate, self-starter, actress, media guru and overall beauty Maura Chanz was of course in attendance to celebrate the festivities. If you have not followed her on Instagram, what are you waiting for? Not only is she part of the production process for television shows such as Black Lightning and OWN’s Love Is, but she is a risk taker when it comes to her hair.
Typically, she can be caught sporting her big natural afro, but for Essence Fest, she pulled out all of the stops and went bold with braided Bantu knots! Yes, braided Bantu knots that were larger than life and stole the show on my Instagram feed.
Love this look that her hair braider created? Here is what you need to get a similar look:
Kanekalon braiding hair
Get The Look
To get the look is a lot simpler than it may seem, but that is the beauty of how intricate it looks! In a few simple steps, this is where you begin:
Step 1: Pre part your Bantu knot sections larger than you normally would and for each section use a bit of styling gel to hold it in place.
Step 2: Use the rubber band method to hold the hair in place but do not put the rubber bands on the base of your hair too tight!
Step 3: Take a medium sized piece of braiding hair and feed it into the base of one of your sections. Treat this as if you were doing box braids!
Step 4: Once you have all of your plaits take the one closest to the crown of your head and begin to make the knot. Working from the inside out gives your hands more room to work and knot the rest of your head.
Step 5: Take another rubber band to secure the base of the Bantu knot for extra security.
Step 6: Spray lightly with oil sheen and you that is it!
Will you be trying Maura’s Essence Fest look?
Monique Rodriguez CEO of Mielle Organics
Natural hair girls, where are you? If you have roamed the natural hair aisles of Target, then you may know exactly where I am going with this one! The biggest talk of the town at Essence Fest was Mielle Organics and its prominent takeover. Seriously, Mielle did not come to play when it came to product activation, publicity, social marketing, and grassroots advertising, but neither did the CEO, Monique Rodriguez.
Monique is a beyond obvious choice for the Essence Fest 2018 looks we love because she came picture and product ready! Not only were her outfits custom designed by her and then made by her mother but her hair differed in styles each day. My favorite look of the weekend-long event, however, was when she debuted her silk pants and wrapped top ensemble with a half braided do and long loose curls in the back.
Monique adorned each braid with hair jewels and rings for a personal touch as well!
This look is not hard to get as long as you know how to cornrow and even if you don’t flat twists can be used as an alternate. To get this look will take under an hour and all you will need are:
Curling iron (if hair is straight)
Clip-ins (if you want/need more length)
Again, these steps are so easy and are definitely customizable! There is no need to stick to Monique’s exact pattern, and there is no need to straighten your hair or wear a straight style if you do not want to! Make it your own!
Aside from her yellow jumpsuit stealing the show and helping us gather our lives, Issa Rae had heads turning when she hit the city. The flat twist style complete with a faux loc bun was not only Essence Fest worthy but is a look that can be worn in the office or on vacation.
The best part about this style is that it also can show off your face for a sweet beat or a natural slay. Either way, this is something that our natural hair girls should try when braids and twists don’t make the cut.
To get this style is a bit intricate but doable if you take the time because not only does it look amazing but it will last you a few weeks if you take care of it correctly.
The tools that you need are:
Hair gel (like eco styler)
Premade faux locs
Socks the color of your hair
Get The Look
Step 1: Make sure that your hair is clean from shampoo and conditioner. Detangle with a wide tooth comb as well.
Step 2: When your hair is damp, begin to flat twist back in a pattern that suits your liking! When flat twisting, use a bit of eco styler on each piece. When done flat twisting, set with a silk scarf and let dry before proceeding to the faux locs.
Step 3: Gather your flat twists where they meet and begin to pin them down as flat as possible so that the base is sturdy.
Step 4: When you know that the base of the flat twists is strong, begin to crochet the premade faux locs in a circular motion starting from the middle on out. You do not want to put too many but just enough to form a sturdy bun.
Step 5: Take your socks and form a large enough “donut” that covers your handy work. No one should be able to see where you crochet and faux locs begin.
Step 6: If necessary, cut the locs so that it forms neatly around the donut. Cover every piece of the donut until you have the bun look desired.
Now I know this style may take some practice, but I can promise you that everyone will wonder how and where you got your hair done. So if any asks, tell them Issa Rae’s 2018 Essence Fest inspired you!
The “Boo’d Up” singer is making some strides right? It is safe to say that the whole world loves budding singer Ella Mai and her simplistic style. She came to Essence Fest as she usually does, dressed comfy with a super cute hairstyle to match.
In one image where she took a picture with R&B group Xscape, Ella is pictured wearing a sleek high ponytail that has loose curls to perfection. I think the biggest thing that many of us love about Ella Mai is that she goes with the less is more look. She truly allows her beauty to shine through as she is often pictured fresh-faced and smiling.
Her high ponytail is probably one of the easiest looks to do, especially when you are looking for a style that is convenient and easy to maintain. Seeing Ella show up to Essence Fest with this look was not only major hair inspo but made some of us want to place an order for Mongolian curly as soon as possible.
Get The Look
To get this style you probably have all of the products needed at home, so your best bet if you do not have the length is to get your hands on some extensions that match your hair texture.
Step 1: Sleek your hair up a little bit behind the crown of your head. Seriously, gather those edges and get them high, but not too tight.
Step 2: If you do not have the length take the hair that is left and braid it securely in a plait.
Step 3: Take your extensions and wrap it around the base of your plait, ensuring that it is snug and secure. The idea for this style is to have it as natural but dramatic as possible, so when you are wrapping be sure to mimic your hair density to keep it as realistic as possible.
Step 4: Secure the weft with bobby pins and then take a piece of hair (about the width of your index and ring finger) and wrap it around the base of the ponytail.
Step 5: Lay your edges with edge control and a scarf!
This style is so easy to recreate and is possibly something that can become your staple when needed. Thanks, Ella for being one of the Essence Fest 2018 hair looks!
Last but never least, we have the queen of pop! Janet Jackson of course. Now, we know that Janet is known for her changing hair, compelling style and the way she commands a room and it is safe to say that she is still following through on that expectation. This past weekend, Janet was able to grace us with her presence and perform at Essence Fest! Aside from this once in a lifetime event, she brought something else to the stage, and that is a long, dramatic and high ponytail.
Clearly, the high pony is making a comeback, and I know that all of our ponytail dreams are coming true through this one. Janet pulled out all of the stops as she continued to sport this look not only for dramatics but we are sure for convenience too. Let’s not forget that Janet is a mom now and we are positive that this style is one of the many ways that she cuts down on time in the dressing room to have more time with her little one.
No matter the reason, we love this look on Janet! This ponytail look differs from Ella Mai’s ponytail because it offers you the vivid, dramatic effort and of course a flattering pop of color. The long brown ponytail did not only have highlights of other shades of brown but also had lively shades of blonde that are just right for summer festival season.
Do you want this look? We thought you would! All you will need are:
Kanekalon braiding hair
Soft bristle brush
Get The Look
The steps which mimic Ella Mai’s high ponytail are similar but vary regarding your ponytail:
Step 1: Sleek your hair up to the crown of your head. Seriously, gather those edges and get them high, but not too tight.
Step 2: Take the hair that is left and braid it securely in a plaited bun.
Step 3: Take your braiding hair to create a ponytail by taking a ponytail holder and securing it in the middle of the braiding hair. On each end, you should have equal lengths. Once tight, tug on each end to feather the end pieces.
Step 4: Get the braiding hair and wrap it around the base of your plait, ensuring that it is snug and secure.
Step 5: Make sure your plaited bun is in the center of the ponytail, fluff, and cover as needed.
Step 6: For extra security, secure the ponytail with bobby pins and then take a piece of hair (about the width of your index and ring finger) and wrap it around the base of the ponytail.
Step 7: Lay your edges with edge control and a scarf!
For those who love a good ponytail and dramatics, this style is for you. The main thing to remember is that you do not want to pull your hair too tight. If you are going for the super snatched look, that is what laying your edges are for. Trust us; you do not want to overstress your follicles.
Hair: The Best Accessory No Matter The Occasion
Imagine yourself hitting Essence Fest next summer or your vacation in a few weeks rocking these looks, an Instagram worthy moment right? Do not be afraid to try new things when it comes to your hair. Some of the biggest and best names in attendance did, and now we cannot stop talking about them.
Hair is your best accessory regardless of the occasion and making it work for you is what gets eyes looking and necks turning. Think about it, if you want to make a statement, the best way to do it is through your hair. By the use of colors and textures, you can always be the next best hair inspo, just as long as you can make it your own.
Sure, styles get recycled, but we have to remember that no one is the first to do anything! So, if you want to try something, go for it because you never know, you could end up in an article talking about just how bomb your hair slay is.