Despite a zillion YouTube tutorials and growing acceptance of natural hair, there's still hunger for knowledge on the styling and care of our God-given strands. So when Tracee Ellis Ross approached ESSENCE about celebrating the curly locks on Black-ish, with costars Yara Shahidi (Zoey Johnson) and Marsai Martin (Diane Johnson), the response was an emphatic yes. And thanks to on-set stylists Araxi Lindsey and Tonya Cryer and the girls' moms, Keri Shahidi and Carol Martin, we learned a thing or two about tending our curly dos.
"The base of Yara's curly styles begins with product-free two-strand twists," says her mom, Keri. Yara's stylist, Cryer (right), keeps her hairstyles simple to maintain continuity. And Yara helps to preserve her look by tying her hair up in a silk scarf at night. Cryer uses a half-inch curling iron to define a few coils, and she combines French twists and larger open pins in the back to create Yara's updos. "When I blow out 'Zoey's' hair, I use a large, round, vented ceramic brush, then go over it lightly with a ceramic flat iron," adds Cryer.
Cryer and mom Keri maintain Yara's hair with nourishing products like Miss Jessie's Super Sweetback Treatment ($24, 16 oz, Walmart).
Marsai arrives on set Monday morning with freshly washed hair that has either been set with twists and rods or blown dry, depending on the look for the week's episode. Mom and stylist Lindsey (left) work closely to keep Marsai's hair in check. She visits Lindsey's salon on weekends for deep treatments and mom massages Jamaican Black Castor Oil onto Marsai's temples to take care of her hairline.
Lindsey keeps Marsai's hair well hydrated with Jane Carter Solution Nourish & Shine ($15, target.com).
When it comes to product usage, "the less my hair is weighed down, the better," says Ross, who uses an Amla lightweight oil mist which is "perfect for enhancing my natural curls." Tracee works closely with Lindsey to plan Rainbow's looks. The busy mom's wash-and-go curls and easy updos work well with Ross's real life. "I work out as often as I can, so we pretty much start fresh every day and try to use as little heat as possible."
Optimum Amla Legend Silkening Oil Mist ($10, Sally Beauty Supply)