Behind Taraji P. Henson’s ‘90s Supermodel-Inspired Emmy Awards Hairstyle

@tarajiphenson / Instagram

“The perfect description for Taraji’s Emmy’s look is a sleek, snatched ponytail with a surprise element of drama,” celebrity hairstylist, Tym Wallace tells ESSENCE. “My inspiration was a 90’s supermodel.” The Color Purple’s Taraji P. Henson presented categories at the 75th Emmy Awards last night in a look that captured her modelesque beauty. “After seeing the custom Versace dress, I just knew a pulled back ponytail was the way to go,” Wallace says. 
Highlighting her facial features, the high-set ‘do lifted her blush-kissed cheekbones before. But beyond snatching the face, “the key to a really smooth ponytail is straight hair,” he says. To achieve the look, Wallace first cleansed Henson’s hair for a product-free foundation to her “extremely straight” silk press. Then, he pulled her bone-straight strands into a conditioned, heat-protected ponytail.

“Placement is also key,” he added, precisely centering the “not too high, not too low” style. Once centered, “the trick is making sure her head does not move while applying Slick from TPH by Taraji, which ensures there aren’t any dents or creases around the front or back of her head,” he says. Not just that, the hairstylist then extended Henson’s ponytail to reach the curves of her lower back. 

After coloring the extensions to match her natural hair, “I decided to cut hair off of the Hidden Crown V Clips which allowed me to add length around the extended braid I created.” As the final touch, “I set the entire look using strong-hold hairspray to make sure everything would stay in place for the entire night,” before finishing with TPH’s Keep Shining for sheen. Now that the gorgeous style is complete, he looks back on his favorite part of it all: “Highlighting the essence and beauty of Black women,” Wallace says, which is, of course, ours, too.

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