How to Recreate Lupita’s Hair from Black Panther

Can you get the elegant grace of Nakia’s (Lupita Nyong’o) Black Panther hair? Of course!

Naturally? 100%. And easy, too. Find out how below.

To Look Like Lupita, What Hair Type Works?

Without a doubt, Lupita has type 4c natural hair. This style was created for naps. Yea.

More than that, anyone who’s going to try pulling it off must have very thick hair. Otherwise the knots are going to be spaced further apart, and  you’ll end up with a different look.

I would guess that if you have really thick hair that ranges between 4b and 3c, this style might work out okay, but the results won’t look quite the same as Lupita.

Okay moving on.

What Hair Length Will Give Me This Black Panther Look?

No you don’t have to do a big chop haircut to get this style going on. This is a perfect twa style, but as long as your hair is shorter than neck length, you’re good. Looks like about 5 inches of hair worked nice in Black Panther.

Of course, the longer your hair is, the more volume your knots will have in the end. Nothing wrong there! Length can work to your advantage too if your hair is not super thick.

How To Style My Hair Like Nakia?

Did I say knots above? Yes these are very similar to bantu knots! What makes Nakia’s knots different is that they are installed closer to the scalp, instead of mounting up vertically. .At the same time, they are not kept tightly wound, but are styled somewhere in between knots and a knot-out. Sort of.

How to:

  1. Start on clean hair. Use a styler like natural gel – one that provides hold and sheen without crunch – a natural hair product like Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel.
  2. Section off small sections and form the knots. If you look carefully, Lupita has more than 100 knots in there!
  3. While Black Panther lead stylist Camille Friend told the New York Times that she knotted the hair close to the scalp, the description in the article actually sounds a lot like small pin curls.
    Pin Curl Hairstyles For Short Hair Beautiful Pin Curls on Tapered Natural HairPin curls can be wound like flat bantu knots and secured with a hair pin, as shown above. Alternately, because 4c hair can secure itself, you can try making the knots, by twirling right at scalp level, like Camille Friend says. Then tie the knots down with a scarf to secure them while they dry. 😉
  4. If you want your style to last longer, do this on wet hair.  The PR pics from the movie show how this unique curly hairstyle transforms as the days wear on.
hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther
Day 1 hair.
hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther2
“Day 2” hair. We really don’t know for how many days the style was in, hence the quotations.
hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther3
“Day 3” hair.

Suffice it to say, your hair should look like Day 1 hair when you’re done. It will fluff out on its own in subsequent days, as you can see in the pics. But if you create the fluffed out look initially, the style won’t last as long. That’s up to you.

5. Once your hair is completely dry, remove the scarf or pins. (You can use a hooded dryer to help them dry quicker.)

6. The last step is to take a pick (or tip of a (rat tail) comb, like Camille Friend) and lift the roots gently.

How to Get Nakia’s Black Panther Hair Color, Naturally!

I’m glad the stylist didn’t dye it blue, or I wouldn’t be able to help you here! I promised to deliver this style naturally, and henna can be used to get those deep mahogany highlights. How? With vinegar.

The color step is optional, and more involved, whereas the hairstyle itself is quick and easy. So I put the color routine last instead of first.

  1. Mix henna with apple cider vinegar to form a paste the consistency of mayonnaise.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12 hours in a warm spot.
  3. Uncover and add a few tablespoons of sugar for moisture.
  4. Beat the mixture again. It should be sticky. Let it sit for another hour for the sugar to completely dissolve. You can add essential oils at this stage to help mask the smell, if you like.
  5. Apply to hair in sections. You should have enough henna mixed that your head is completely saturated in it and is a gooey mess. 🙂
  6. Wrap your head in plastic wrap tightly, so no air is allowed in. Keep all that in your head for 12 hours.
  7. Rinse thoroughly and condition but don’t use shampoo. The color continues to develop the next day. So wait a day, then you can use a sulfate-free shampoo.

Again, all that is optional. You won’t need the color highlights to get hair like Black Panther’s Nakia. You’re going to be turning heads anyway, whether it’s mahogany, black, brown, blonde or pink.

Interesting fact? All the styles in Black Panther, including Lupita’s, are actually wigs created by Ms. Friend for the set.

Photo credits: Matt Kennedy/©Marvel Studios 2018

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