This is how Esperanza Spalding Gets her Awesome Afro
Esperanza Spalding Instagram

With her brushed out Afro as her signature style, the classically trained jazz singer/cellist/bassist Esperanza Spalding is a style icon as much as a musical chameleon.

As she blends several genres into her own compositions, Spalding also wows us with her big and beautiful hair whether she’s at the Grammys or at the White House. Her hair is just as freeing as her music and the appreciation and love of her natural tresses is a massive beauty inspiration.

“I let my curls do their thing—when my hair is wild, that’s when it’s doing its best thing,” Spalding told “I feel I can pick up more inspiration—you know, like my antennas are up.”

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From a young girl with big, wild natural hair to a rebellious teen at 15 where she bleached, relaxed and colored it, she decided to shave it all off at 17 when she left home to attend Berklee college of Music in Boston. From there she just let it grow and at the tender age of 31, she is just as popular for her musical style as she is for her massive hair. Her styling routine is surprisingly simple.

“Once I’ve washed it, I work in the conditioner. I like a sulfate-free one from Alaffia. I get it super goopy in the shower—think jellyfish consistency—and I detangle my hair with my fingers. I don’t wash out the conditioner; I just let it air-dry. When I want it in Afro mode, I brush everything out with a paddle brush. Brushing is my one commitment when it comes to my hair; it can take an hour, but that’s when I watch the news or call my mom. Brushing it when it’s dry seems to help it do what I like, which is this wild, frazzled thing—kind of messed up.”

We love and embrace her hair as much as we love and embrace her storytelling music. 

Spalding’s fifth album, Emily’s D+Evolution, is available now.