The wigs of the past are not the same as the wigs of today. Celebrities like Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, and Saweetie are known for wearing lace fronts that make a statement. Sew-ins, U-part units, and shake-and-go wigs from the beauty supply store have evolved into invisible lace frontals, 360 lace units, and even some amazingly natural-looking synthetic wigs, similar to Pokémon.
All of these advancements did not happen by themselves. They're the result of talented stylists who were at the vanguard of a wig revolution that forever altered the hair industry. And some of them are the people responsible for the units seen on the trendsetting celebrities listed earlier.
Alonzo Arnold, Kellon Deryck, and Tokyo Stylez are just a handful of the artists who have contributed to the current wig standard. Hairstylists like Tamika Gibson and Kim Kimble have earned a name for themselves not just by designing immaculate, gravity-defying units but also by developing tools and techniques that help people install wigs more effectively.
Several of the hairstylists responsible for your favorite celebrity wigs are Black men. These Black men hairstylists are setting the pace and establishing the standard for wig artistry, whether they're transforming wigs into technicolor dream units or pushing boundaries with intricately-constructed pieces of work that appear more like a sculpture than a wig. We profile five of these hairstylists and find out how they got their start.
Tevin Washington's fascination with hairstyling began in high school when he binge-watched hair tutorials by YouTubers such as Adrianna Thomas.
He eventually decided it was time to test out the hairstyling techniques he learned at "YouTube University" on his friends, as he jokes during our Zoom session. When he started fixing his friends' hair as a side venture in college, he decided hairstyling was something he wanted to pursue full-time. He dropped out of high school in 2015 and enrolled in cosmetology school.
Washington, like many other hair stylists who work with extensions, started with sew-ins. However, as wigs grew increasingly popular, he began to use them more frequently. He dabbled in the category, working with lace closures, which are hairpieces that are fastened across and towards the crown and are normally 4x4 or 5x5 inches in size for enough parting space.
Then came frontals, which are hairpieces that cover the entire perimeter of the hairline. In 2012, he completed his first lace frontal installation, which he describes as "awful." After constant requests from his pals, he didn't touch another one until 2015. His one bit of advice is to never give up. Washington felt like he wasn't advancing as quickly as his peers when he first graduated from hair school, but he recognized that comparing himself to others would stifle his growth. Instead, he pursued his own route to become the celebrated hairstylist we know today.
Tym Wallace has styled the hair of celebrities including Mary J. Blige, Brandy, and Taraji P. Henson during the course of his 17-year career.
Originally, the Chicago-bred stylist planned to work as a background singer. He didn't seem sure what he wanted to do after high school and didn't think college was the right option for him. Though he had a passing interest in hair, he had no plans to pursue it professionally. His parents urged him to go to beauty school in 2004, a year after he graduated since they wanted him to take his pastime to the next level.
Whether it's getting Taraji P. Henson ready for a red carpet event or styling Michaela Jae Rodriguez in a middle-part wig with lovely waves for a magazine cover, Wallace has been a huge player in the celebrity hairstyling world.Wallace knows how to rock a wig, but his method is a little different than what you may expect: he doesn't use baby hairs on any of the lace frontals he installs. The talented coiffure is focused on creating natural-looking hairlines. Thus swoops are kept to a minimum. In addition to straight and wavy textures, he uses a lot of curly and kinky units.
Kahh Spence is a natural hairstylist. His father was a barber, and he used to accompany his mother to the salon where he grew up in Brooklyn.Despite the familial pull, he first planned to pursue a career in music, which he had studied since he was a child. Spence's obvious abilities have led to collaborations with artists like Victoria Monet, Kehlani, and Kelly Rowland. He's known for creating beautiful wigs with natural-looking baby hairs and no lace whatsoever.
He often designs artistic slicked-back updos, like the brown-to-caramel ombré braided ponytail he put on Victoria Monet in August 2021, in addition to the sleek, middle-part styles with bumping ends and lengthy curly looks. "You wouldn't even realize it's a wig until you're literally zooming in on the images or up close in person," he says of his wig work.
Spence's specialty is hairstyling, but in 2019, he chose to broaden his horizons by launching his unisex fragrance line under the Kahh Spence Beauty label. He wanted to try something different, so he started with scent instead of hair care. Rihanna, according to Spence, influenced the decision since "she ventured outside of the box" when she launched Fenty Beauty. Despite the fact that he began with a scent, he claims that his company has a lot more in store. He's "ready to take down the door" and continue to push the industry's boundaries.
Kendall Dorsey started styling hair at the age of 16, focusing on French rolls and roller sets for his friends and family. He continued to style his roommates' hair in college and began working as a shampoo helper at a salon. He realized then that hairstyling would be more than simply a pastime for him.
The wig boom began in 2014, and Dorsey began working with more wigs at the salon at the time. "With wigs, you can have any hairline and texture and any density," he tells Allure. "I suppose that's when I first fell in love with [wigs] when I realized that you can protect your hair while creating any style you want." Dorsey's work is likely familiar to you since he was responsible for all of the hair on Solange's When I Got Home album in 2019. He describes the singer as a visionary "She's credited for pushing his work forward, teaching him about different textures, mastering the hairline, and "how to elevate my [style] using wigs," according to him. She simply comprehends what it takes to be a superstar "he declares
When Jared Henderson, commonly known as JStay Ready, went to college to study speech, he had no intention of becoming a hairstylist. He experimented with hairstyling as a kid, messing about with his sister's locks and working on theatrical sets whenever he could.
He didn't believe that hairstyling was a feasible means of income. But once he started doing it on the side and saw how much money it brought in, he changed his mind and decided to go full-time with it.
His interest in wigs arose from a desire to assist a buddy who had been diagnosed with cancer while they were both in college. He went on YouTube to look for wig-making tutorials because she was losing her hair after chemotherapy treatments.
The materials he could buy at the beauty supply shop at the time weren't as advanced as they are now, but he set out to produce the most realistic-looking units he could. He continued to make wigs after that and began sharing them on Instagram, where he earned a following and celebrity attention.
In that period, his wiggatry skills improved so much that he decided to concentrate on selling wigs rather than installing them. He eventually got enough money from this venture to relocate to Los Angeles. After establishing himself in the city, he was contacted by a friend of a friend about a celebrity who wanted her wig touched up. Saweetie, the rapper, happened to be there. This pivotal meeting led to the introduction of a slew of additional high-profile celebrities, including Cardi B, Normani, and Doja Cat.