Like most relationships, Lupita Nyong’o's relationship with her hair starts with self-love. She's been the subject of criticism (the actress once had to speak out about a magazine photoshopping her hair) and praise. Still, Nyong’o has never shied away from styling her hair in whatever way feels best for her, and now, she did what makes her happiest by chopping it all off.
On May 10, the Black Panther star posted a selfie of her newly shaved head with the caption, “Happy without hair!” One person commented, “Stunning! Face card never declines,” and we agree—Nyong’o looks breathtaking with a glowing complexion, peachy blush, shimmery eyeshadow, and a coral lip. She paired the look with an embroidered top with silver stitching, a blue floral pattern, and black trim along the lapels.
“My hair is something that, historically, has been shunned,” Nyong’o told Porter in 2018. “I mean, how often do you hear, ‘You can’t get a job with hair like that’? Natural, African, kinky hair–it’s often been painted as uncivilized or wild.”
In the interview, she explained that the pushback she’s received from her hair propelled her to accept her natural texture in the name of self-love—and she spent two years writing a children’s book named Sulwe to show young people the importance of embracing oneself. “It was about having dark skin in a world that favors traditional Western standards of beauty–light complexions and silky hair–and my own journey from insecurity to a place of self-acceptance,” Nyong’o revealed.
Since then, Nyong’o's experimented with different styles, dabbling in everything from mini-fades to short Afros. For the WACO’s 5th Annual Wearable Art Gala, she tapped into a roped bun hairstyle; at the EBONY Power 100 Event, she wore a bow made from her hair; and at the NYC screening of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiere, she stunned with a starburst updo. Still, her daily looks are more low-key and include everything from protective braids to twist hairstyles. Now, she’s experimenting with no hair at all.
Nyong’o is proof that beauty is about lived experience—your hair is yours, and you have the freedom to do with it what you will. So, take a cue from her and embrace whatever hairstyle sparks joy.