Before stepping in front of a mic, James nourishes her larger-than-life tresses with Soft & Beautiful Oil Sheen Conditioning Spray ($3, drugstores) for luster. She conditions her hair-line with Dr. Miracle’s Temple & Nape Gro Balm ($8, drmiracles.com). When she’s off stage, the petite power-house prefers braided styles. “I believe in keeping my hair away from as much stress as possible,” she says.
The front woman of the British trio, The Noisettes, has major altitude. To duplicate her towering, Afro-punk style create twin French rolls, suggests Sabine Bellevue, stylist and owner of Sabine’s Hallway in Brooklyn. Turn front strands up and over the rest of the hair and secure with hairpins. For a fuller effect, include hairpieces under the rolls or tease the hair before rolling.
It’s practically impossible to catch the diminutive songbird during her kinetic performances without her trademark tux and Oxfords. It’s even harder to find the Kansas City native without her signature pompadour. The retro style elevates and sculpts hair into shape over the forehead with hairpins. Bellevue recommends Smooth ’N Extra Hold Gellation ($3, drugstores) to secure the style.
The Philly songstress occasionally pairs her braided styles with high-definition ringlets. To achieve these coils, dab Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme ($32, missjessies.com) onto dry hair before double-strand twisting and tying hair up for the night. But don’t OD on the hairdress. “A little goes a long way,” says Bellevue. For tighter curls, use the Buttercreme on wet hair and create smaller twists.
From an elegant updo to a funky cascade of coiled locs, Ledisi’s multidimensional red hair has extreme versatility. “I have branded a style all my own,” says Ledisi. “I cannot imagine myself putting chemicals in my hair.” The vocalist uses Fantasia IC Hair Polisher Styling Gel to groom her locs ($5, beauty supply stores), but admits her mane has some flexibility. “I’m an actress too, and if the right role comes along, I might make some adjustments,” she says. “Hopefully I can wear a wig and keep my locs!”
Less is definitely more, so when it comes to the singer and bassist maintaining her free-form ‘fro, she avoids salons and hairstylists. Instead, Spalding nurtures her hair by wetting hair and applying her homemade cocktail of shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil and tea tree oil to preserve its softness. "Salons don’t know what to do with my hair," she says. “They always cut too much off.” Besides, her fluffy coif isn’t a huge undertaking. “My routine is pretty simple and my hair fares pretty well with little product.”
Three years ago, the Oakland-based chanteuse chopped her locs and now rocks maze-like cornrows. Sculpted into a looped hawk with an African thread-wrapping technique, Goapele’s braided masterpieces can take her stylist Anana Scott up to nine hours to create. “Anana’s designs are old school and futuristic,” Goapele says. For smoother braids, the singer preps her hair with Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Hair Moisturizing Hair Lotion ($5, drugstores), air-dries and then straightens the roots with a blow-dryer.
When fans compliment Michele on her new short ‘do, it catches her off guard. "People say, ’I love your hair.’ I’ll tell them, ‘I don’t have any!’ " the singer jokes. She brightened her sleek cropped coif with Clairol Nice n’ Easy Natural Dark Neutral Blonde ($8, drugstores). To define coils, she uses Mixed Chicks Leave-in Conditioner ($17, mixed-chicks.com). The conditioner allows her the luxury of minimal upkeep. “I don’t have to do much to it,” says Michele. “And I love it!”